The armed forces community in Solihull
The armed forces community in Solihull
Moving to civilian life is difficult when you discharge from the armed forces whether you have planned for your discharge from the armed forces or not. Help and advice for ex-service community (including veterans) to live, work and access services on civvy street in Solihull is available. This information, advice and support is also available to serving members (including reservists) of the armed forces and their families.
Moving to civvy street
If you have served in the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force or the British Army you will be used to a chain of command.
You will also be used to getting:
- free medical care
- free dental care
- welfare support
- a 1 stop on base shop for help and advice
You will also be used to a strong camaraderie with other service men and women, going to social clubs with lots of socialising opportunities and having many benefits and discounts on your leisure activities.
Civilian life on civvy street is very different. For example, you will experience:
- different and less clear chains of command at work and elsewhere
- medical care which you might have to pay for
- dental care which is not free
- fewer socialising events
- extra costs for leisure time
Each armed service has its own organisations and charities to support their community. You can visit:
- the Royal Navy and Royal Marines charity
- the RAF Association
- the Soldiers’ Charity of the British Army
Help is available to move to civilian life when leaving service from The Royal British Legion too. The Royal British Legion website offers information and advice.
You can register with the Civvy Street website website for help with finding a job, education, loans and grants for you and your family.
There is also help available from Solihull Council and local organisations.
If you live in Solihull, you can visit your local Community Advice Hub for help and advice with anything from health and social care to things to do and places to go.
The hubs are located in North Solihull at Chelmsley Wood Library and in South Solihull within Connect at The Core.
The Armed Forces Covenant
Your loyalty and commitment to the country from your military service is recognised by Solihull Council, everyone living in Solihull and the whole country in the Armed Forces Covenant.
You can learn more about the covenant from the Solihull Council website. Solihull Council jointly developed and signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant in partnership with Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.
Employment and education in Solihull after serving
When you leave the armed forces you have lots of skills. These are transferable skills which you will be able to use in many jobs on civvy street.
You can get help to find work, get a job and develop your career from:
- The Royal British Legion Civvy Street website
- the Career Transition Partnership by:
- visiting the website
- calling 0121 236 0058 for job advice
- calling 02894 456200 for training advice
- calling 0207 469 6661 with any general enquiries
Specialised help is also available for service leavers who have a disability or impairment, a physical health condition or a mental health condition. You can get help into work with the:
- Government backed Access to Work programme
- Prince’s Trust partnership with Help for Heroes
- The Poppy Factory
- The Forces Employment Charity
The Support to Success programme from Solihull Council also gives advice for getting into work.
Starting your own business, working for yourself or taking a completely new career direction may interest you. You can learn more about other opportunities from the:
- SkillForce charity working in schools with ex-forces personnel
- Gov.uk website on self employed business
Solihull MyLife also provides:
- more information and advice about education, training and employment opportunities in Solihull
- local advice to help you be successful
The Solihull Council website has information about:
Benefits advice for the armed services community
To find out about benefits after leaving the military, you can visit:
- the Solihull Council website for advice about council tax (http://www.solihull.gov.uk/Resident/Council-Tax)
- Solihull MyLife for benefits advice (/benefits/)
- the Gov.uk website benefits page (https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits)
Managing your money after leaving service
The Defence Privilege card is part of the Armed Forces Covenant. You can learn more about the scheme from the Defence Discount Service website. It has been introduced to provide discounts to:
- serving armed forces
- reserve forces
- exservice personnel
MOD civil servants, spouses and partners of serving armed forces, bereaved service family members, war and service widows and widowers, cadet forces aged over 16 and NATO personnel in the UK can also get the card.
The Defence Privilege Card provides discounts for some high street shops and online retailers. It also has a cashback scheme.
The card costs £4.99 and is valid for 5 years.
The Support to Success programme also gives advice to make the best use of your money, including:
Housing in Solihull after the armed services
There are a number of housing options in Solihull which are explained on the MyLife website. You may be looking at buying your own home, renting privately or looking to move into social housing.
Civilian housing advice for service personnel and families is available from the www.gov.uk website, the official website of the British Government.
If you are at risk of homelessness you should contact Solihull Community Housing as soon as possible by:
- phoning 0121 717 1515
- sending a text message to 07781 474 722
- emailing email@example.com
You can also visit the Solihull Community Housing website.
Healthcare on civvy street in Solihull
In the UK, healthcare is provided by the National Health Service, known everywhere as the NHS.
NHS services in Solihull are provided by Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). You can learn about the NHS and healthcare services in Solihull from the MyLife website.
The NHS Choices website provides full information on healthcare for the armed forces community.
Registering with a GP
When you leave the armed forces you need to register with a local GP.
- find a list of local GPs from the NHS Choices website
- call NHS 111
When you go to your first appointment you need to:
- take your FMED133 discharge medical form and give this to your GP
- tell them you are are a member of the ex-service community (veteran) and make sure this is recorded on your medical notes
Registering with an NHS dentist
You can also find local NHS dentist practices near you from the NHS choices website.
Paying for healthcare
Visits to your GP are free but you have to pay for you prescriptions. Advice on prescription charges is available from the NHS Choices website.
Keeping fit and well
You will be used to having a high level of fitness in the armed forces and keeping physically active and mentally fit will help you be a part of the community on civvy street.
The Solihull MyLife portal has lots of information on staying fit and well, including help:
- to live a healthy lifestyle with food, exercise and activity
- to stay mentally fit
- to stop smoking
- with addictions and harmful habits
The Solihull Council Support to Success programme also gives advice for getting healthier.
Socialising for ex-service community (veterans) and armed service leavers
There are many opportunities for socialising and getting out and about in Solihull.
The Solihull Branch of The Royal British Legion meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
The Solihull Branch meets at: Broomfields Hall, Union Road, Solihull B91 3DH
Members of The Royal British Legion:
- get together through branches in the UK and abroad
- take part in socialising, fundraising and other activities
- ensure that Remembrance is kept alive helped by the annual Poppy Appeal
- help the exservice community to be heard
Membership is open to everyone. You do not have to have served in the Armed Force to be a member of the Legion.
There are ways in which local organisations can support our Armed Forces; Regular, Reserve, ex-Armed Forces and all their families.
To find out more download the latest edition of AFC News. This highlights what has been happening across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, plus details of how to access the MOD Covenant Fund. The Covenant Fund can contribute to support the integration of military and civilian communities as well as improve support to the Armed Forces community as a whole.
If you are interested in being involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details and a brief description of how you would like to contribute.
Useful websites for ex-armed forces
Combat Stress mental health charity