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Action research on the presence and needs of the Armed Forces Community in the South West of England

October, 2018
Article:

This report details research commissioned by councils in the South West of England (UK) to enhance understanding of the presence and needs of the local Armed Forces Community (AFC) in the area.

Abstract

Shared Intelligence was commissioned by councils in the South West of England to facilitate an Action Learning Set to enhance understanding of the presence and needs of the local Armed Forces Community (AFC) in the area. This work was commissioned to ensure that those members of the AFC who are in need of help are known and that the delivery of support by relevant organisations is appropriate. There were four key areas which this research was designed to consider which form the following key research questions: 1) What work has been done to identify the size and makeup of the Armed Forces presence in the South West and their needs? 2) How many members of the AFC live in the South West? 3) What are the needs of the AFC in the South West? 4) How are the needs of the AFC being met in the South West? Over 9 months Shared Intelligence has worked in partnership with David Wood, Armed Forces Project Officer for the South West, to facilitate an Action Learning Set with councils within the South West. This was to explore the key questions stated above and to also identify ways councils can look to acquire and build on existing data going forward. This work has engaged with the following councils: Wiltshire Council, Devon County Council, North Somerset Council, South Somerset District Council, Somerset County Council, Plymouth City Council, Cornwall Council, Bristol City Council, Gloucestershire County Council. This work has also engaged with stakeholders from a number of other organisations: 1) Royal British Legion Devon and Cornwall 2) SSAFA Devon 3) Army Families Federation South West 4) Reserve Forces and Cadets Association 5) Citizens Advice South Somerset 6) The Warrior Programme 7) NHS England 8) Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare 9) RAF St Mawgan 10) Career Transition Partnership South West. A literature review of existing research and data sets was carried out at the beginning of the research to identify what we currently know about the presence and needs of the AFC in the South West. It also identified where there are gaps in knowledge and understanding. To supplement this eight focus groups were carried out by David Wood to identify areas of need amongst the different Armed Forces Communities. This report sets out what we know about the presence and the needs of the AFC in the South West based on existing literature and data sets, and findings from the focus groups. The report then presents an overview of the actions being taken by councils in the South West to address the needs of the AFC. The report then concludes with a set of recommendations on the actions councils could take in acquiring and using data on the presence and needs of the AFC going forward.

Full Reference

Shared Intelligence, 2018. Action research on the presence and needs of the Armed Forces Community in the South West of England. Final report.

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