An introduction to the Armed Forces Community programme

AFC Kate Mizon

Written by Kate Mizon
Armed Forces Covenant Co-Lead

Dear Shaping Portsmouth Community, 

I hope this letter finds you well. 

I’m Kate, one of the two leads at the Armed Forces Programme. My co-lead Andy Moss and I wanted to get in touch to introduce ourselves, and to explain how we hope to support businesses and the Armed Forces Community thrive together in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas. We say the ‘Armed Forces Community’ because we really do mean everyone connected to HM Armed Forces, such as spouses, children, immediate family, and by no means least, the Veterans.

Did you know, there are currently 9,278 Veterans and 7,600 serving personnel residing in Portsmouth? And no, that figure does not include family members. Chances are, you have a Veteran or Forces family member in your organisation, and this is why we are reaching out to you.  

The complexities of being part of an Armed Forces family are by no means exhaustive. Moving home with/without children, leaving jobs/careers and the struggles of finding new and suitable employment, children changing schools and making new friends every 2-3 years with education disrupted, are just some of the very ‘baseline’ sacrifices made to support their serving person focus on their vital role. Additionally, there are various barriers for serving personnel leaving the Forces, such as adapting to civilian life as a Veteran with a new home, new job, and new way of life.  

So, what does this mean to you? Where do we, as Armed Forces Leads, fit in?  

I’m glad you asked.  

The purpose of us as Armed Forces Leads for Shaping Portsmouth is in development, so we’re asking you, what do you need from us to help you best lean-in to identifying, supporting, employing, and retaining your resilient Armed Forces community personnel?  

We want to help dispel myths, advise, and educate you on our personal experiences of being a veteran, living and working in Portsmouth.  

How can we do this?  

Another great question – you’re on fire! 

Well, honestly, we don’t have the final answer to that one either, which is where you come in. To begin, we’d like to ask a few questions for your company or organisation.  

  • Are you conversant on the purposes of the Armed Forces Covenant?  
  • Have you signed the Armed Forces Covenant? 
  • Do you have any veteran or Armed Forces family members within the organisation?  
  • Do you have an Armed Forces representative or point of contact?  
  • Do you have the policy to support Veterans or members of the Armed Forces community?  

Regardless of your answers, we are certain we can work with you, as our voluntary role with Shaping Portsmouth to bridge any gaps.  

What’s next?  

Soon, there will be a dedicated page on the Shaping Portsmouth website for all Armed Forces community matters. This will be your one-stop-shop for all information, events, and news, and our plans for the future of the Portsmouth Armed Forces community.  

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Shaping Portsmouth socials and website for further announcements. If you’d like to contact us, you can do so via the following emails: 

andy.moss@shapingportsmouth.co.uk 

kate.mizon@shapingportsmouth.co.uk