Eyes Front Magazine Issue 4

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Simon’s battle didn’t end after Iraq. Please help us reach more veterans struggling with sight loss. SERVED. BLINDED. SUPPORTED. Registered Charity No. 216227 (England & Wales) and SCO39411 (Scotland) © Photography by Richard Cannon We support ex-Servicemen and women of all generations, regardless of how or when they lost their sight. Call 0800 389 7979 or visit: blindveterans.org.uk


Eyes Front! Is produced by the National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Events Team.

Editor - Mal Robinson

Publications Manager - Sam Rosenthal Imagery - Ministry of Defence Veterans Awards, Mal Robinson. Issue 3 Distribution - NAFESE 2024

Contact: hospitality@nafese2023.com

While the publishers have taken all reasonable care to ensure that all material is accurate at the time of going to press, they can accept no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is accepted for omission or failure from any cause. Opinions expressed are those of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Eyes Front!. Professional advice should be sought before making any commitment to business transactions detailed within Eyes Front!. All advertisements are accepted only on the grounds that they comply with the terms of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and all other relevant legislation. Inclusion of an advertisement cannot be construed as an endorsement of the advertiser or the product by the publishers, their employees or agents. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for any transaction between readers and advertisers. No material in this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publishers.

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Welcome To Issue 004 Of Eyes Front. Keeping Your Eye On The Ball For Military Events

Hello and welcome to the fourth issue of Eyes Front magazine - the only Armed Forces events magazine available.

I want to say what a great delight it is to come on board as Executive Editor for this publication and build on the good work of James Britton in previous issues.

Having held the role of Editor for Pathfinder International magazine for over six and a half years, leaving that post in November 2023, this year has been busy to say the least and it has been nice to be in demand!

I am honoured to hold various guises within the Armed Forces community in 2024, including Partnership Manager for JobOppO, Associate Editor for The Veteran UK magazine, Event Content Director for the National Armed Forces and Emergency Services Events Team (NAFESE - of which Eyes Front is part of) and last but not least, Editor for Reshape

Resettlement Media for Catterick Garrison.

It is safe to say then, my diary is rather, erm, hectic, as of late.

I am delighted to be on board for this issue and in time for Eyes Front’s biggest edition to date, with this installment also acting as the official event guide for the second National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event taking place on Thursday May 16 at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

As we come up for air, there’s also further news on all NAFESE events for 2024 in later pages.

Many thanks for reading this and your support and I hope to see as many of you via this busy event calendar period.

Kind regards,

Executive Editor, Eyes Front Magazine

JTI UK Support the Armed Forces Community

Who are JTI UK?

JTI UK are a leading international manufacturer of tobacco and vaping products, operating in over 130 countries. Holding Gold in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, through their Inspiring & Hiring programme, they continue to recognise the expertise that members of the Armed Forces can bring to businesses,and support them in their transition to civilian life. The programme, aims to support the Armed Forces, and their spouses and partners into fulfilling employment, either with JTI or elsewhere, and to inspire other organisations to do the same JTI UK has created work placements and run workshops which have helped ex Armed Forces and Spouses with their next career move, as well as educating their recruitment agencies about the military landscape.

They’re recruiting…

The company is clear that none of their success could have been achieved without the commitment and contribution of their people. They continue to recruit for a number of sales positions across the UK, which can be viewed on CTP Jobs and Forces Families website, or via https://jobs.jti.com


NHS Launches Innovative New Drive To Recruit Armed Forces Veterans

The NHS is stepping up a national campaign to recruit former members of the Armed Forces who want to join the health service and offer their valuable skills to caring for patients.

Running until March 2025, the new NHS Long Term Workforce Plan drive will encourage serving and retired armed forces personnel and their families to consider a career in one of the 14 allied health professions on offer in the health service.

Universities across England will host a series of open days across the country, who will use innovative technology to give attendees a virtual, real-time insight into some of the different careers on offer.

The first event will showcase careers in occupational therapy and will be hosted by Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and broadcast across five different university campuses.

Attendees will be able to watch an occupational therapist treat patients in real time from the point of view of the clinician who is wearing a digital headset. A second clinician will describe what their colleague is doing through a separate audio feed.

Each year at least 12,000 military personnel leave their roles in the armed forces for a variety of reasons, with many of them looking to switch career after completing their service.

Their transferable skills, including leadership, resilience and compassion, leave them with much to offer the NHS, and many already meet the entry requirements to undertake a suitable training programme.

The collaboration between NHS England, Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and participating universities, will support the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan ambition to have 71,000 more allied health professionals in place by 2036/37.

Allied health professions make up the third largest workforce in the NHS, behind doctors and nurses, and range from dietitians, radiographers and paramedics to podiatrists, orthotists, operating department practitioners and others.

Backed by government investment, the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan sets out how record numbers of doctors, nurses, dentists and other healthcare professionals will be trained in England.

Navina Evans, Chief Workforce Officer at NHS England, said: “This campaign is a fantastic example of the NHS finding new and innovative ways to showcase the brilliant careers on offer in the NHS – with armed force recruits able to experience different roles in real time before deciding if it is a

career they would like to pursue.

“Growing the number of allied health professionals in the NHS is a key part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan – and our ambition is to increase the number of these professionals by around 70,000.

“To succeed in this goal and build a workforce which is fit for the future, we need to recruit staff from a wide range of backgrounds and former armed service personnel offer a fantastic depth of skills that are suited to these professions.”



Introducing The Winners for the 2024 Scottish Veterans Awards

Introducing The Winners for the 2024 Scottish Veterans Awards

Eyes Front magazine was once again proud media partner for the Scottish Veterans Awards, which took place at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh on April 24.

Here the Veterans Awards team give a lowdown of the winners…

We would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s Scottish Veterans Awards hosted by Mark McKenzie and held at the amazing five star Prestonfield House, Edinburgh. The Awards were sponsored by Gone Solar and in Support of The ABF Scotland. It was such a fantastic event with a great atmosphere in the room.

Well done to everyone who was shortlisted as finalists, we had a huge amount of applications and the shortlisting process was extremely difficult. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who put forward nominations, you are all doing amazing things in your relevant fields and you should be so proud of your achievements.

We ate extremely thankful and very honoured to have in attendance and hear from the Brigadier Jody Davies MBE, James Thomson OBE, Scottish Veterans Commissioner Susie Hamilton, John Donovan MBE and the fantastic Edinburgh Garrison Sergeant Major Ruaridh Tuach during the evening. A special thanks also has to go to the Mini Pipe Band from the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland and also the two 5 Scots soldiers who were there supporting in their ceremonial dress.

We are so thankful to all our supporters, volunteers and sponsors who helped put this amazing night together.

The highlights of the night saw NHS Golden Jubilee win Employer of the year. The fantastic Callum MacLeod won four awards – Golds in the Community and Volunteer category, Silver in Inspiration of the year and Callum also became our Scottish Veterans Awards Champion for 2024, ending with a standing ovation and emotional speech. We want to inspire our future service leavers that great things can happen. It’s you who will act as role models and in some cases mentors, remember Positivity breeds Positivity.

OUR WINNERS ARE… Veterans Awards Champion

Calum MacLeod

Role Model of the Year

Sponsored by Print Inc

Gold: Archie Dryburgh

Silver: Rod Cavanagh

Bronze : Stacy Quinn

Inspiration of the Year Award

Sponsored by Eyes Front Magazine

Gold: Scott Meenagh

Silver: Calum MacLeod

Bronze: Louise Worrall

The Community Award

Sponsored by Forces Employment Charity

Gold: Calum MacLeod

Silver: Laura Simpson

Bronze: Alan Deans

Charity Sector Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Prestonfield House

Gold: Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company

Silver: Wings for Warriors

Bronze: Sight Scotland & Sight Scotland Veterans

Health & Well-being Award

Sponsored by Be-inn Unity

Gold: The Veterans Garden Dumfries

Silver: Scottish Veterans Residences

Bronze: Operation Cairngorms CIC

Leader of the year

Sponsored by Strongmind Resiliency Training

Gold: Chris Shaw

Silver: Craig Murney

Bronze: Christopher Buet

Bronze: Michael Mcmillan

Entrepreneur of the Year

Sponsored by Hugh James

Gold: Jamie Kettyles

Silver: Andrew Patterson

Bronze: Gregg Matthew


Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Joint Force Alba

Gold: NHS Golden Jubilee

Silver: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service

Silver: Lothian Buses

Bronze: Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS)

Veteran Owned Business of the Year

Sponsored by Lairds AV

Gold: Hold Fast Elite Ltd

Silver: Wilkins Chimney Sweep Lanarkshire

Bronze: Forces Manor

Volunteer of the Year

Sponsored by Serica Energy

Gold: Calum MacLeod

Silver: Robert Conquer

Bronze: John Paul Stothard

Bronze: Ian Inglis

Lifetime Achievement

Sponsored by Gone Solar

Gold: Martin Bell

Silver: Steve Erskine

Bronze: Mick Flaherty

Reservist of the Year Award

Sponsored by Pathfinder Magazine

Gold: Christian Jetuah

Silver: John Kane

Bronze: Euan Smith

Veterans Group of the Year

Sponsored by The Army Benevolent Fund

Gold: Military Museum Scotland SCIO

Silver: Lothians Veterans Centre

Bronze: Gen Dit Network

Bronze: Royal Marines Riders Association North

8 Nominations for the 2024 Welsh Veterans Awards are now open. The event takes place on July 3 in Cardiff and nominations can be made by visiting the official website at www.veteransawards.co.uk
We are recruiting For roles within Head Office Foreign Exchange New To Travel Come and join the UK’s largest independent travel agent Don’t delay, apply today at haystravel.co.uk/careers
11 Veterans in Crisis Sunderland supporting our serving and ex-forces community in 2024. Services include: Walking Club, Boot Camps, Coffee Mornings, Art Therapy, Outward Bound Training, Counselling, Free Gym Membership, Day Trips, help for Veterans made homeless and much more. ERV, 1 Roker Avenue, Sunderland. T: 0191 5671878 info@veteransinscrisis.co.uk www.veteransincrisis.co.uk

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The National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event 2024

We are delighted to welcome you to the second National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event for 2024.

The event takes place once again at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland and the team at NAFESE would first and foremost extend our thanks to Rob Scott and the team Sunderland AFC for their help and support with the event.

The National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event for 2024 is held in association with Blind Veterans UK and the NAFESE team are thrilled to work with such an esteemed and established military charity for this occasion.

We are thrilled to have Colin Williamson, President of Blind Veterans UK with us here today as one of our speakers within the Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club. In addition

to Colin, please welcome back Joe Rimmer, our first speaker from last year’s inaugural event, who has kindly agreed to speak once more today.

Over 40 exhibitors are present today, confirming once more the appeal of NAFESE 2024 as we look to build year on year.

The ethos of NAFESE is celebrating the unity of service, past, present and future and the age range of people attending today certainly reinforces this notion and long may it continue.

Best wishes,

The NAFESE Team.



Blind Veterans UK, an armed forces charity which helps vision-impaired former service personnel to rebuild their lives after sight loss will be the lead partner for the 2024 installment of NAFESE.

Blind Veterans UK as well as being the lead partner for NAFESE 2024, will also be the sponsor for the Most Outstanding Royal Navy winner for the 2024 Services Awards, which is part of the NAFESE series.

Tim Eckersley, Blind Veterans UK Military Engagement Lead, said:

“Blind Veterans UK are proud to partner with the National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event for 2024. Last year’s inaugural events were a great success and we’re looking to build on that this year.

“Bringing service personnel together from across the country is hugely important as these groups of people, including veterans, have so much to offer. It’s also vital to recognise those who have achieved great things over the last year which is why we’re so looking forward to partnering with the 2024 Services Awards.”


1st Line Defence provide Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) risk mitigation services, offering solutions to the risk posed from explosive ordnance and unexploded munitions related to current and former military land use and aerial bombing. Our services range from early-stage desktop risk assessments through to UXO Surveys & Support, site investigation and offshore works.

We’re the UK’s fourth largest supermarket, with over 1000 stores across the UK. But we know our success has only been possible thanks to our amazing Aldi colleagues. That’s why we celebrate everyone’s achievements, offer competitive pay and create great working environments. And that’s how we’ve become a multi awardwinning employer - but it’s the least we can do. We know that our people make Aldi mean even more.

Blind Veterans UK helps vision-impaired exServicemen and women to rebuild their lives after sight loss.

We provide rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to veterans regardless of how or when they lost their sight. We’re here to help blind veterans regain their independence and live the life they choose.


Reserve service in 8 RIFLES allows individuals to work outside the Army and yet commit to being a Rifleman part time. Training takes place over periodic weekends throughout the year, training nights during the week and for a consolidated 2-week period each year. Attendance at any specific training event is voluntary to take account of an individual’s civilian commitments. Reserve Personnel are paid for the training they undertake and can earn a financial bonus at the end of each year.

Be Brave Sunderland is a not-for-profit counselling practice based in Sunderland. We offer integrative therapy to the community of Sunderland but also provide subsidised counselling to the Police Force, Ambulance Service, Fire Service, Funeral Directors/ Undertakers and Prison service. We also provide free counselling to Veterans and The RNLI.

Building Heroes are the only tri-service military-toconstruction charity that ‘joins forces’ across the education sector, Armed Forces, and construction industry. Focussed on providing access to training, mentorship, civilian qualifications, and employment support, creating pathways for service leavers, veterans, reserves, and military family members seeking careers or further training in construction.


We refuse to accept average sports nutrition products and we don’t think you should either. We know your cells are the vital force that drive your performance and recovery. If your products aren’t getting them working properly, you’re limiting your potential. We’ve developed a complete protocol Cellular Fitness™, that supports every cell in your body throughout every part of your training and recovery. We don’t want you to push limits, we want you to transgress them.


More than 2,000 people work at Deutsche Windtechnik worldwide and each one of them is unique. This energy makes us what we are: one of the largest independent maintenance companies for wind turbines, on land and at sea, in Germany, in the UK and many other countries.

Should you need any more information, please let me know and thank you for all your help. We look forward to this event with you!

DTN Academy is one of the leading telecommunications training providers in the country. We are based in the northeast of England and have a real passion for supporting service leavers during their transition from military to civilian life. At DTN Academy we have a proven track record of developing individuals and providing them with the skills and knowledge to meet the UK Ultrafast Fibre broadband rollout requirement.

Our ‘Telecoms Pathway for Resettlement’ programme provides you with the industry recognised qualifications and skillsets required for a new career in the telecoms sector.

We provide professional training, CV assistance and help find you your first job in your new career.

Visit the CTTS stand, it could be life changing!

DLC Training is a global distance learning provider, offering industry-leading qualifications that propel individuals and organisations towards success. Our core mission is to equip our learners and partners with the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to thrive in their respective industries, supported by our expert tutors and dedicated support team.

East Durham Veterans Trust is a veterans mental health charity that supports veterans and veterans families. Established in 2000 during the pandemic we are now supporting veterans and their families from across the region with talking therapies, peer support group social inclusion and working with veterans who are struggling with the cost of living crisis.


Gastec offers a range of courses for anyone who wants to extend their expertise and join the Gas Safe register by undertaking training. Whether you’re looking for OFTEC training, Gas Safe ACS training, solid fuel training, or heat pump training, we have you covered. Over 28 years in business.

We’re constantly expanding across the UK and offer head office, retail and foreign exchange positions up and down the country!

Vacancies include:

Foreign Exchange Consultant

Head Office - There are roles for all professions in our Head Office from Marketing, Commercial, Finance, People/HR, Customer Service, Administration and Business Development.

New to Travel – No travel experience? No problem!

Our New to Travel programme is a fully paid six-month training scheme for anybody with experience in a retail or target driven sales-based role.


At MPCT, we believe that through outstanding leadership, teaching and learning, all can achieve their goals. Our learners were recognised in our last Ofsted Inspection in 2022 for having outstanding behaviour and attitude and our provision was also recognised for providing outstanding personal development opportunities for our learners.

IoSCM is the first international institute to represent the interests of the wider supply chain. Our aim is to improve the industry by setting standards and promoting best practice through highquality training and qualifications.

Dedicated to supporting and developing individuals, businesses and the profession as a whole, IoSCM offer a range of services and products with the main aim of creating a better future for the supply chain and those who work within it.

Through our industry-leading qualifications and membership benefits, we equip those in the field with the knowledge, skills and capability to enrich their career. Consequently, advancing the supply chain through improved performance.

We provide an armed policing service at locations across the UK, protecting Defence and sites of national importance. We offer a specialist policing role, with structured shift patterns, a good work-life balance, and opportunities for progression. Check out our website for current opportunities to join our force with a difference.


Start your own business with nature and the community at its heart with a Naturespace Franchise.

We do grounds maintenance differently…our core value is, ‘do the right thing’, that means the right thing to create an environment where nature and the community can thrive together. With over 300 live site contracts in place already, we’re looking for Franchisees in the North West who can launch their new business with an income stream from the very start.


“The Step into Health programme is an initiative carried out by NHS Employers aimed at assisting the UK Armed Forces community in transitioning into civilian careers within the NHS. It provides support, resources, and connections to help individuals explore and secure employment opportunities within healthcare settings across the UK.”


“The NHS employs many staff from across the Armed Forces reserves. Our Armed Forces Reservists Programme aims to assist employers in ensuring that these military colleagues are provided a supportive work environment and can thrive.”

Providing expert support and flexible workspaces for businesses of all shapes and sizes, the North East BIC has helped over 4,000 people to start-up since 1994. Enterprising Sunderland, funded by UK

Shared Prosperity Fund is set toinspire residents to consider self-employment and provides free advice, workshops and online resources.


There are 8760 hours in a year.

By giving up just one, you will save or improve the lives of three adults or six babies.

For patients, there is no alternative. They rely on our donors.

By donating, you are being a true life-saving hero. Sign up to give blood today.

The North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) operates across Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Darlington and Teesside. We provide an Unscheduled Care Service to respond to emergency calls, and a Scheduled Care service which provides preplanned non-emergency transport for patients in the region.

NEAS has pledged to support those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces and their families; by signing the Armed Forces Covenant

If you are interested in a new rewarding career we have a wide range of vacancies ranging from support service roles to clinical care.

If you would like to be part of something that really matters, kickstart your career as an officer keeping people safe and fighting crime, play your part behind the scenes as a member of professional support staff, or put your talents and experience to use as a volunteer at #TeamNP.


Police UK Disability Sport provides adaptive sports and wellbeing support services to the UK’s police community. To serving and retired officers and staff with injuries, physical impairment or disability, mental health related issues such as stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD as well as those who are neurodiverse.

A job in the Royal Navy means adventure, camaraderie, and lifelong prospects. Every day is different, whether you‘re policing oceans, delivering aid during disasters, or engaged in combat. Join us and be a key part of global operations. Ready for adventure?

Versatile. Professional. Readily available. Civilian sailors operating globally to support vital logistics and operations.

At Social Impact NE CIC (SINE) we are all about empowering local communities. We aim to work with residents, businesses, and organisations to tackle the root causes of deprivation and build a more sustainable future. Our focus areas include skills development, entrepreneurship and business support, community development and social cohesion, advocacy and policy change.


The Spitting Pig Company – we are the UK’s Number 1 provider of Hog Roast Catering!

Established for over 25 years, we offer unbeatable food and unrivalled event catering expertise nationwide.

Interested in Hog Roasting and looking at making it your career?

Full time or part time, we have franchising opportunities to suit your preferred lifestyle!

With exclusive continuous training, branding and our dedicated team working hard to get you all your bookings you truly can jump into this exciting business straight away!

Over the years, Sunderland AFC’s connection with its military roots has developed rapidly and become ever stronger. The Club has supported initiatives in tandem with Armed Forces and Veterans across the North East, and in the past year has become part of the Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club family, as the first football club in the UK to host a monthly Breakfast Club event at its home venue, the Stadium of Light. The Club’s work alongside various organisations, such as Veterans in Crisis which was founded in Sunderland, has enabled veterans and military personnel to find employment and live comfortable, encouraging lives after conclusion of their service.


With over 11,000 members across 250+ branches in the UK and overseas, the RNA is a family of current and former Naval Service personnel, relatives, and supporters of our country’s Royal Navy. Everything we do is inextricably linked to our core values of Unity, Loyalty, Patriotism, and Comradeship.

Welcome to a different kind of adventure, launching young people for life today.

Sea Cadets is a national uniformed youth organisation, based on the traditions of the Royal Navy, for young people aged 9-17.

We always welcome new Cadets and adult volunteers. Come and develop your skills with us today!

We are Sunderland LGV Driver training LTD, we have been a small family business for 14 years based in the city of sunderland. We pride ourselves on our friendly nature and excellent quality training. We offer guidance and support for you to get your heavy good licence and your Bus or minibus licence. Our goal is to support you throughout the whole process in whatever you need. Once you have passed your heavy goods licence or bus we offer your CPC training to keep you up to date so you can still work and earn. We can book your medical and theories and provide you with the necessary learning materials to pass them. We offer training in C1 (7.5 TON), C (18 TON) and C+E for the heavy goods as well as that we have our own coach and minibus to train you up to the career you desire on the road. We tailor the course to suit you even if you already have your licence, you just want a refresher, no problem we can help! Give us a call on 01915656785 or email info.lgvdrivertraining@gmail.com.


The Submariners Association is an Association of serving and veteran submariners which seeks to maintain the special bonds of friendship, loyalty and comradeship, together with a pride in the Submarine Service, formed during service in HM Submarines.

Our branch meetings provide the perfect backdrop for casual chats and social occasions, where fellow submariners become lifelong friends. Enjoy meaningful conversations, share anecdotes, and gain friendships that last a lifetime. Sunderland branch hold their meetings the thrid Friday of each month at the Derwenthurst Club, Ryhope, Sunderland. (1930hrs for 2000hrs start).

Join Thames Valley Police and set yourself on an exciting and rewarding career path. We’re proud supporters of military veterans, holding the Armed Forces Covenant Gold Award, and offer a £2,500 resettlement to those transitioning into a role as a Police Officer. Apply today!

Teesside University is a friendly, modern university offering a board portfolio of course. The University has invested more than £280m into its campus giving it a leading edge in digital innovation. We are investing an additional £300m up to 2026 to further enhance the student experience.

Welcome to Veterans in Crisis Sunderland – VICS. If you are a veteran and you’re registered with a Sunderland GP and need help (or you know of someone that is), we will be very pleased to hear from you. Our mission is to do everything we can to get veterans back on their feet, however long it takes. However, you don’t need to be in crisis – all veterans are welcome.


The Open University offers career and personal development opportunities for all individuals, including those transitioning from the armed forces. Choose from full undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications to short professional courses with a range of funding options including utilising Enhanced or Standard Learning Credits.


As holders of the Armed Forces Covenant Gold Award, we’re committed to ensuring you are supported at every stage of your transition into university life. We’re renowned for our supportive and nurturing approach, ensuring that everyone regardless of their background is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

If you’re considering university, popby our stand and chat with their expert staff about your study options, career prospects and find out for yourself all that Sunderland has to offer!

We offer a range of study options for current and former military personnel in areas such as Business and Law, Engineering and Technology, Health Sciences, Education, and Creative Arts. What’s more, we’re registered with the Ministry of Defence's ELCAS Scheme, set-up to provide financial support to eligible personnel studying at university.



The entries for the 2024 Services Awards are now open.

The awards categories in full are as follows: Services Awards Categories

• Most Outstanding Police (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Most Outstanding NHS/Healthcare (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Most Outstanding Fire Service (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Most Outstanding British Army (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Most Outstanding Royal Navy (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Most Outstanding Royal AIr Force (Individual, Unit or Veteran)

• Volunteer of the Year (covering such elements as Mountain Rescue, Lifeboat Personnel, Cadets Volunteers)

• Overall Outstanding Services Personnel of the Year (drawn from the above categories, please don’t nominate for this category)

Awards Criteria

Nominations are for the individual or unit (serving or former) who has gone the extra mile (in addition to their high level of work and service) during the designated time period, showed courage, gone above and beyond their duties performed whilst on duty, for charitable causes (including fundraising), sporting challenges or exemplary service whilst off duty in an extraordinary context between the dates of 01 March 2023 to 01 March 2024.

Nominations are to be sent to hospitality@nafese2023. com with the subject header “Services Awards” and the categories nominating for.

Please detail as much evidence as possible, although the judging panel may require further evidence, should the nomination be progressed (this will be called for at a later stage).

Anonymous nominations can not be accepted.


Sunderland Veteran Given Freedom Of The City

Eyes Front magazine continues the focus on the North East by catching up with British Army Veteran, Founder and CEO of Veterans in Crisis Sunderland (VICS), following the news that the “Freedom of the City of Sunderland” has been bestowed on him.

“It is an absolute honour to receive the Freedom of the City of Sunderland and I was completely blown away by the nomination” begins Ger.

Veterans in Crisis was started over five years ago, with Ger starting the Community Interest Company with a £10 pay as you go mobile, which Ger still keeps in his office. Now VICS offers a realm of services to the forces and local communities, also employing full time staff.

“We have never forgotten where we come from and the phone in the office reminds us of how far we have come, but we are also looking to improve and better ourselves along the way.”

Councillor Sam Johnston, St Peter’s ward representative, said Mr Fowler “richly deserves this award for all he’s done” for the city.

The Conservative councillor added: “His Veterans in Crisis charity has done some vital work across our city, helping a lot of people and obviously his ERV Centre has been a fantastic facility helping veterans.”


The Open University’s scholarship fund supporting injured or disabled veterans is open for applications

The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund (DVSF) provides free education at The Open University (OU) for veterans injured or disabled during military service. There are 50 places available to start study in Autumn 2024.

Since it launched in 2018 the fund has awarded 312 scholarships to study at the OU and has helped veterans from a variety of different service backgrounds, and across the four home nations, who have physical or mental health challenges as a result of their time in the military.

Successful applicants will receive full fee waivers equivalent to a full honour’s degree. It is deliberately flexible, and can be applied across both, undergraduate and post-graduate study, including access modules which are the OU’s short introductory courses. Students will also have access to an expert team of specialist advisors who can help with disability and careers support.

The OU and its partners are hoping to attract applications from a broad range of disabled veterans who can take full advantage of this fantastic opportunity to build their confidence, skills, knowledge, and experience to thrive in employment and their communities.

Jhumar Johnson, Chief of Staff to the Vice-Chancellor at the OU, commented:

“It is thanks to our generous donors that we are able to invite applications for our Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund for the sixth year. The OU are experts at delivering education to students with disabilities and health challenges and we are delighted to be able to offer this potentially life-changing opportunity to veterans.”

There are over 2 million armed forces veterans living in the UK. More than four in ten (44%) of veterans with a disability reported that they found the experience of finding the right job role as ‘difficult’.

The OU is the largest educator working with disabled students – many of whom would find it difficult to attend a traditional face-to-face university – and a deep understanding of how high-level skills training through distance learning can transform their lives.Learn more and apply for your place before midnight on 10th July 2024

https://www.open.ac.uk/courses/courses/fees-and-funding/ disabled-vet-scholarship/

Chat to the Open University team at their stand at The National Armed Forces & Emergency Services Event 2024.

23 Image: MOD Crown Copyright 2023.

North East veteran builds ‘first of its kind in Europe’ film production site and veterans retreat

We continue our north east focus this month on a story with a difference…

Anthony Stephen Malone, a veteran from Billingham held captive by the Taliban, organised the building of a film production site and veterans retreat in northern Italy.

A Billingham veteran led a building project to create a unique new film production site and international veterans retreat based in northern Italian mountains.

Anthony Stephen Malone, along with veterans from countries across the world, including America, France and Germany, built a traditional Afghanistan mud village and a military Forward Operating Base (FOB) in the mountains of Brisighella that will act as a production set for films and a retreat for international veterans and their families . The five-day building project finished on March 2 and the Billingham veteran, who won Inspiration of the Year and Lifetime Achievement at the English Veterans Awards in September last year, had the idea to create the site.

Honour Bound is the first film that will be produced on the site by a Hollywood director and it is currently in the preproduction stage. It is a film about the Afghanistan war over a 20-year period and it will tell the story of when Anthony was held captive and tortured by the Taliban.

Anthony explained: “We decided to do this because on the same facility we have also built an international veterans retreat for not just military veterans but blue light veterans, the police, ambulance and fire service can bring their families and children and they can enjoy the facility in a very tranquil location. A lot of service personnel and blue light suffer from PTSD and it also affects their families and children so we wanted to give everybody a nice quiet tranquil location to enjoy some family time.

“Because we’re on top of a mountain it’s very close to Asia so they’ve got all the trails, mountain walks, there’s a waterfall and we have a communal camp fire facility as well. When it’s not being used as a veterans retreat the production site or production area will be used to film feature films and documentaries.”

Despite the “constant rain and an unbelievable amount of mud”, the group of veterans, locals and supporters “battled to complete the task in five days”. Anthony and his fellow veterans chose to build the site in the mountains of Brisighella because it “astonishingly looks very similar to certain parts of Eastern Afghanistan”.

The site has accommodation for up to 40 people and it includes “bunk houses” that are of a “very high standard”, an “executive conference facility with all of the normal amenities

that you would find in a conference room” and the catering is on a British military field kitchen. Also, it “doesn’t cost any of the veterans or their families anything to come over here and enjoy a respite”.

There was a ribbon cutting to officially open the site by Massimiliano Fiorentin, Director General of the International Bodyguard Association, the Mayor of Brisighella, Mr. Massimiliano Pederzoli and Anthony. During the pre production of Honour Bound, Anthony, an Italian colonel and a group of special forces personnel demonstrated a potential film hostage rescue scene to veterans and their invited VIP guests, who included generals, colonels, a Hollywood director and producer, Mayor Pederzoli and all his staff. Those involved in the rescue scene wore Middle Eastern clothing and the entire event was filmed by UK company U.A.V. Drones. Details about when and where Honour Bound will be released will be announced at a later date.

Anthony and the veterans involved with building the site would like to thank their sponsors Stirling Timepieces, Triangle Fragrance New York, Humanihut, Forces Cars Direct, Splash Projects, GHQ Spirits, International Bodyguards Association, Veterans Awards, Mountain Warehouse, Crawl4help, Patriot, Rolex LLC, UAV Drones, Fisacon, KJB Kitchens, Clarity & Success, Veterans Pens, La Bottega di San Martino, Bar Mughini, Popolano, CP Shipping Ltd and Lord Kitchener Guest House.




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