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Issued:06/11/17

The first ever study to map the size and scale of the Armed Forces community in South Yorkshire has been launched in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

The Armed Forces Community is made up of Regular serving personnel, Volunteers and Reservists, Ex-forces, family members of regular, reservists and ex-forces and the Bereaved.

It is not currently known how many of the Armed Forces community live, work or have family members in South Yorkshire, making it difficult to commission and target local services.

A South Yorkshire partnership, which includes Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham Councils, and York St John University, has launched the Armed Forces-specific survey, which is open until 11 May 2018, to comprehensively map the community, in the build-up to Remembrance Sunday services (11 November).

The partnership is calling for regular serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their respective families, and the bereaved (whether that death is connected to their service or not), to take part in the survey.

Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central and veteran of the armed forces has given his backing to the survey.

Mr Jarvis said: "This survey will be invaluable in helping inform how services should be designed to support the armed forces community in South Yorkshire.

"For veterans in particular, the transition to civilian life can be challenging, with far too many suffering from poor mental health and substance misuse.

"This project will for the first time help us understand the size and make-up of this underrepresented community of people, many of whom have made significant sacrifices through their service - and ultimately, help create a fit-for-purpose system of support which is so clearly needed."

Dr Katherine Albertson is leading the project - the first regionalstudy of its kind in the UK - on behalf of Sheffield Hallam University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

Dr Albertson said: "Despite many efforts to support the Armed Forces community, very little is known about their needs, desires, aspirations or experiences. Without this evidence-base it is difficult for local authorities, businesses or commercial services to be as Armed Forces-friendly as possible.

Dr Albertson and Dan Jarvis MP

Click to view the image

This South Yorkshire-focused survey means we can ask the experts - the Armed Forces community themselves - and begin to build an accurate picture of what the community truly looks like.

The local project partnership has made possible with more than £180,000 funding from the Ministry of Defence’s Covenant Fund.

The findings will be used to strengthen the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant pledges across South Yorkshire and ensure the respective Councils' Covenant Action Plans reflect the characteristics of their own regional Armed Forces community.

Click here to take part in the South Yorkshire Armed Forces Survey.

Or complete the survey at:

https://tinyurl.com/y8yv8luc

Anyone requiring paper copies of the survey can contact Dr Katherine Albertson at k.albertson@shu.ac.uk or 0114 225 2205.

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk