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Fantastic Nottinghamshire service transforming veterans lives shortlisted for regional award

2 people smiling whilst representing service supporting veterans

We are delighted our service supporting veterans, delivered alongside veteran's charity Care after Comat, has been shortlisted in the Boots and Berets Awards in Community (Together) Awards category.

Veteran Care Through Custody (VCTC) is an exceptional Nottinghamshire collaboration between the Offender Health Team at Nottinghamshire Healthcare and the Newark-based veterans’ charity Care after Combat. With a focus on delivering life-changing and life-saving support to ex-Armed Forces personnel in the justice system.

The Community (Together) Awards category recognises how individuals, teams and projects have worked together to create a collaborative approach, engaging with each other and other external organisations to deliver effective or new solutions and approaches to support the sector within the wider armed forces community in Nottinghamshire.

Simon Ralls, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Veterans, Nottinghamshire Healthcare said:

“I feel privileged to work as part of the Veteran Care Through Custody project which was developed following reports that prison services offered were affected by a limited understanding of the background and specific needs of veteran offenders. The project has been developed to honour the commitments enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant, and to provide services to veterans in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire prisons that are equivalent to those services provided in the community. Our partnership with Care after Combat has helped positively change the lives of so many veterans.”

Adrian Kirk, CEO Care after Combat said:

“We are really proud to see our work with Notts Healthcare shortlisted and recognised by the Boots and Berets Awards panel. Since forming in 2017 VCTC has helped 493 veterans get their lives back on track. A combination of veteran specific clinical interventions from Notts Healthcare together with the wrap-around support of staff and volunteers from Care after Combat has seen incredible results in terms of health and wellbeing outcomes for some of our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.”

Veterans are not natural help seekers. Especially those who have offended and feel that they have let their service and their country down. By engaging regularly and as early as possible within prisons, VCTC is able to build trusted relationships with veterans that enable real progress and lasting change to be made.

Becky Sutton, Chief Operating Officer at Nottinghamshire Healthcare said:

“This is an incredibly important service that is transforming the lives of veterans in the justice system with the support they provide, and really deserves this recognition.

“It is demonstrating fantastic results, with those having received support from the team being approximately five times less likely to reoffend.

“Huge congratulations to everyone involved and the best of luck for the next stage.”

Veterans in the justice system frequently have complex and multiple physical and mental health needs, often attributable to their service in defending the nation. Working together with prison healthcare teams and other prison and probation staff, VCTC helps each veteran address their individual needs, and prepare as fully as possible for their release from prison and reintegration back into the community. This includes thinking about aspects such as family, accommodation, finance, employment, and ongoing support needs, making critical preparations in good time before leaving custody. Care after Combat mentors stay with veterans on their journey as they transition through the gates back into ‘civvy life’; a handrail should the veteran need it.

Harry, who has been supported by the service said:

“When I came to prison, I was morally, emotionally, and physically broken. Throughout my sentence, Veteran Care Through Custody have supported me in ways I never thought possible. The support and guidance they provide is second to none, every step of the way they have enabled me to come to terms with and deal with my issues.”

Mark commented on the support he has received:

“I am now living a crime free life and will not go back to Prison. Peter was with me at every step and helped me to deal with every challenge I faced, both in Prison and when released, I could not have done it without his support.”

A truly outstanding collaboration that has transformed the lives of almost 500 veterans in the Nottinghamshire and wider East Midlands region, Veteran Care Through Custody is proffered as a most worthy nomination for the Nottinghamshire County Council Community (Together) Award.

Winners will be announced on 24 August.



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