Wirral project launches as study shows value of employability support

Dan Hodges General

Employment support for ex-Forces men and women with health conditions on The Wirral will have a positive financial impact for veterans, the NHS and wider society, according to a new report.

Research has found that for every £1 invested The Poppy Factory’s employability service, which launched this week at St Catherine’s Hospital in Birkenhead, the social return on investment now and for the next five years is approximately £4.80.

Veterans who go for treatment at The Stein Centre can now speak to Lynne Evans, The Poppy Factory’s Employability Consultant, about career planning, training opportunities, CV writing and job application advice.

The launch of the programme on The Wirral follows a report by PwC UK, which looked at the social value of the charity’s service nationally.

It found that better job prospects and higher earning potential for veterans holds the biggest social value. Support from The Poppy Factory also resulted in improvements to mental, emotional and physical well-being through increased confidence and financial comfort, relief from depression and anxiety and reduced clinical costs, along with increased volunteering, cuts to re-offending and reduced housing benefits.

Deirdre Mills, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said:

“It is clear that every penny spent supporting wounded, injured and sick veterans into meaningful and sustained work is an investment well made. And whilst it is important to measure the social value of our specific employability service, we also believe it is important to highlight the continued contribution that our veterans can make to our wider society.”

The three-year Wirral pilot project will enable The Poppy Factory to research and address veteran employment needs. It is the first time an Employability Consultant from the charity has been embedded in an NHS setting. The charity is working closely with health and social care partners in the area, including local GPs, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group.

Supporting the programme, local MP for Birkenhead, Frank Field, said:

“The launch of The Poppy Factory’s employability service at St Catherine’s Hospital is good news for the many veterans in our community who are living with health conditions and want to get back into work.
“The level of regeneration and redevelopment happening in our area will bring with it many new opportunities for employment, and it is vital that those opportunities are also open to those who have served in our Armed Forces. Local knowledge and connections are key, and The Poppy Factory has the local expertise needed to help our veterans unlock their potential and find new purpose through employment.”

The project is funded by The Forces In Mind Trust (FiMT), a £35 million funding scheme run by the FiMT using an endowment awarded by The National Lottery Community Fund.
Veterans looking for employment support can refer themselves directly to Lynne at The Stein Centre, call her on 07387 415429 or email LynneE@poppyfactory.org. Medical practitioners can also refer patients who they feel would benefit.

Find out more about our Getting You Back to Work service.
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