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Support for our Armed Forces Community

Gold award for Armed Forces Community
In Gateshead we are very proud of our proactive support for our armed forces community.

We have been a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant since 2012.  However, in 2020 we affirmed our commitment to ensuring that serving and former members of the armed forces and their families are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged as a result of their service, by signing a new Armed Forces Covenant.

In addition, in 2020 we were the first organisation in the North East to have its Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award revalidated. The award recognises employers who demonstrate positive attitudes and policies towards serving and ex-members of the armed forces.

What we have done to provide support

Annual Reports

For an overview of the wide range of support provided/outcomes for our armed forces community so far,  view or download our annual report (PDF) [18MB] (opens new window) .

Armed Forces Network 

An Armed Forces Network has been established to promote joint working to prevent disadvantage to individuals and their families as a result of their military service and their transition to civilian life.

The Network involves representatives of the armed forces and organisations supporting ex-service personnel as well as the Council's Armed Forces Champion and other partner organisations. Further details can be found on our Gateshead Armed Forces Network page.

Armed Forces Outreach Service (AFOS)

Our key means of help and support, for all Forces personnel, reservists, veterans and their families, is our Armed Forces Outreach Service (AFOS) which has been in place in Gateshead since 2014. Staffed mainly by ex-service leavers, the service provides direct assistance and support on issues such as:

  • housing and financial management / debt advice
  • benefits
  • employment / training
  • health and wellbeing
  • care and support

You can find further details about the support AFOS provides on the Armed Forces Outreach Service website (opens new window).

AFOS works particularly closely with Walking With the Wounded, a leading national veterans charity, to offer opportunities for employment, training and volunteering.  In Gateshead, Walking With the Wounded also deliver family welfare support and support for veterans who come into contact with the Police through their Project Nova Team.  Further details can be found on the Walking with the Wounded website (opens new window)

Other sources of help and support

The Veterans Gateway

The Veterans' Gateway helps link veterans and their families with partner organisations from across the country to help with a wide range of information, advice and support which might be needed during transition and in post service life.

Find out more on the The Veterans' Gateway website (opens new window).


The first call for help takes courage. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or wellbeing problems, expert help is available from Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

If you're due to leave the Armed Forces, just left the Armed Forces or left many years ago, Op COURAGE is here to help. You will be able to speak to people who:

• understand the Armed Forces and military life

• are either from the Armed Forces community or highly experienced in

• working with Serving personnel, Reservists, Veterans and their families

• will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support, and treatment.

For more information, visit the NHS website at (opens new window)

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is the new name for the Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), Veterans' Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and Veterans' Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS). The new name has been developed following feedback from veterans and their families to make it easier for those leaving the military and veterans to find help.

Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Health Podcast

The NHS Armed Forces Health Podcast is a series that aims to help the armed forces community access the plethora of NHS services that are available. The episodes look at different aspects of healthcare from leaving service to finding a GP, taking care of mental and physical health, and provision for forces families.

Find out more on Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Health Podcast (opens new window)

For other types of healthcare information for military personnel and veterans, including getting treatment and useful contacts . Find out more on NHS website area for the armed forces community (opens new window)