Welcome to Signposts for Civvy Street

There are over 145 thousand personnel serving in the British armed forces, over half of which are in the British Army (Clark 2020) and around 15,000 – 20,000 people leave the armed forces each year (Buswell 2020). Some of these military veterans have their future careers planned and organised but many do not. There are also an estimated 2.4 million UK Armed forces veterans in Great Britain (Office for Veterans Affairs 2020), several of whom still struggle with life on Civvy Street.  This handbook “ Signposts for Civvy Street” has been developed both for military personnel going through the resettlement phase of their service or who have recently left the armed forces, and for veterans who have left the military some time previously. It is intended to be a practical handbook that offers information and guidance in a pragmatic and straight forward manner to support you to build your confidence in exploring options when resettling or living on Civvy Street.

There was a sense of real desperation and hopelessness from many of the UK military veterans and service leavers that we spoke to whilst collecting material for this book. Many told us they felt “let down” and “cast aside” by the same service that had sent them to war and for which they had risked their lives. When we explored in more detail the reasons for these feelings, there seemed to be some themes emerging from the conversations. It is these themes that we focus on in the book. We also discovered that much of the information that is provided by the military for those who are leaving the services is disparate and “difficult to understand” and in some cases, difficult to access.

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Signposts for Civvy St are very pleased to donate some proceeds from book sales to:

Tom Harrison House  

https://tomharrisonhouse.org.uk/

Signposts for Civvy Street delves into some of the areas that we believe are most challenging and in doing so offers guidance and signposts to organisations and charities that can provide support. We bring together in one place, some useful contacts and anecdotes from veterans who have overcome some significant barriers when leaving the military in the hope that these can be useful for others.

The language on Civvy Street is seemingly difficult to interpret and make sense of for a lot of service leavers. This provided us with the opportunity to write a book that is a practical, pragmatic and straight- talking guide that can be accessible to wide range of service leavers and veterans.

We explore the process of finding a home on Civvy Street as we understand this is one of the main causes of anxiety. For military veterans who entered the service at 18 years of age and spent several years in the military, Civvy Street has changed significantly, both in terms of culture and in response to the Covid Pandemic. That these veterans must navigate a housing process within this landscape is “scary” and at times “terrifying”. We offer some signposts for renting and purchasing properties. Similarly, military leavers often struggle with financial planning, we understand that pensions and loans form a significant concern for a lot of people leaving the forces, so we identify some useful contacts and suggest how some of the financial pitfalls can be avoided.

The book offers advice and guidance on transferring military training credits and converting these to civilian credits at colleges and universities to enable service leavers to access further and higher education programmes, something we understand the military does not do during resettlement. Leading on from this, we look at the civilian workplace culture and how this differs from the military, we discuss applying for civilian jobs and suggest how job applications and interviews are approached. But, most of all, we hope that this book serves as an information source to help to navigate around some of the challenges of resettling into Civvy Street.

Karen and Richy. July 2021

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Signposts for Civvy Street delves into some of the areas that we believe are most challenging and in doing so offers guidance and signposts to organisations and charities that can provide support. We bring together in one place, some useful contacts and anecdotes from veterans who have overcome some significant barriers when leaving the military in the hope that these can be useful for others.

The language on Civvy Street is seemingly difficult to interpret and make sense of for a lot of service leavers. This provided us with the opportunity to write a book that is a practical, pragmatic and straight- talking guide that can be accessible to wide range of service leavers and veterans.

We explore the process of finding a home on Civvy Street as we understand this is one of the main causes of anxiety. For military veterans who entered the service at 18 years of age and spent several years in the military, Civvy Street has changed significantly, both in terms of culture and in response to the Covid Pandemic. That these veterans must navigate a housing process within this landscape is “scary” and at times “terrifying”. We offer some signposts for renting and purchasing properties. Similarly, military leavers often struggle with financial planning, we understand that pensions and loans form a significant concern for a lot of people leaving the forces, so we identify some useful contacts and suggest how some of the financial pitfalls can be avoided.

The book offers advice and guidance on transferring military training credits and converting these to civilian credits at colleges and universities to enable service leavers to access further and higher education programmes, something we understand the military does not do during resettlement. Leading on from this, we look at the civilian workplace culture and how this differs from the military, we discuss applying for civilian jobs and suggest how job applications and interviews are approached. But, most of all, we hope that this book serves as an information source to help to navigate around some of the challenges of resettling into Civvy Street.

Karen and Richy. July 2021

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Introduction

Being a member of the UK Military is often compared to being part of a large extended family where there is a sense of shared purpose, humour, discipline, comradeship and team spirit.These very positive experiences were described to us by the veterans who had undergone their resettlement, but also whilst gathering information for this book it was indicated that, sadly, there is a negative side experienced by service leavers such as a feeling of being “fobbed off”, of being “no use to society”, of “not knowing where” they fit in and this in turn led to “real despair”, “severe anxiety”, “frustration” and “lack of identity”. What an incredibly sad situation.

We train people in techniques to support us in times of threat, crisis and war, when most of the population runs away from danger, these brave souls run into the danger. Yet, when their work is done, they feel they are entering into a society in which they no longer belong. We felt compelled to put together this guide to help UK military leavers to find help and support.

People coming out of the military need help to do things that many of us take for granted. For example, registering for a GP, renting a home, buying a house and applying for jobs are just a few tasks that veterans are likely to find challenging. So, Signposts for Civvy Street provides some direction in offering suggestions for carrying out some of these tasks, and provides information of many agencies and charities that can offer specific and targeted help.

We acknowledge that the military provides some information and support for military leavers, but we also understand that this is, at times disparate and difficult to access. Our hope is that this book helps veterans to understand some of the challenges, but also, offers suggestions for getting further advice and support.

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Buy The Book

Buy The Book