Connecting our Armed Forces veterans to the wider community

Defining "social value" is not an easy task. As a local authority, it is a term that we often associate with the more technical aspects of commissioning or procurement. However, in simple terms, it is something that impacts our residents in a positive way, through creating additional value beyond our usual day-to-day work. One of the ways we can achieve this is through the sharing of resources between community groups, businesses and organisations across the county, which we can contribute towards the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our communities, in line with our Community Vision for Surrey 2030. Key to resource-sharing is making the right connections.

Earlier this year a request for a tea urn and supermarket vouchers for purchasing refreshments was posted on the Marketplace on behalf of the Armed Forces Veterans' Hubs in Guildford and Woking. The Council is a strong supporter and advocate of the Armed Forces, and signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2012. The Veterans' Hubs are based within the local Fire Stations and provide an opportunity for veterans to drop in and share a cup of tea in the company of others who have served. Veterans can also access free advice and support from services or charities who regularly attend.

Brilliantly two local businesses stepped forward to fulfil these requests. Wealdens very kindly provided a hot water urn for the Guildford Hub, which has made an enormous difference. Beechwood Equipment supplied the Woking Hub with a water boiler and supermarket vouchers to ensure the tea and chat keeps flowing. Both firms have a commitment to Social Value and were keen to support veterans in Surrey. They have been invited to visit the hubs where they have made such a difference, and we are hopeful that the Marketplace match is just the start of a long and meaningful community partnership!

You can find out more about Veterans' Hubs in Surrey on the Surrey Armed Forces Webpages.

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