Former head of Army accuses Government of ‘lack of sincerity’ over military covenant

The forthcoming commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings will naturally be a time when people reflect on the enormous sacrifices that were required of British and allied troops to liberate Europe and end the war. The D-Day landings alone accounted for around 10,000 dead and injured, while during the course of the Second World War it is estimated that nearly 400,000 British military personnel lost their lives.

Less Obvious

But while the sacrifices made by the men and women who suffered death and physical injury fighting for their country are duly remembered with monuments and frequent services, the experiences of those who suffered less obvious injury, such as mental trauma, are less well appreciated.

“With hindsight, I suspect that, at the time, not enough attention was paid to the mental suffering of many of those who took part in the D-Day landings, and indeed with those who fought throughout the course of the Second World War,” said General Sir Peter Wall, the former head of the British Army, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Telegraph. “Thankfully, these days there is a great deal more focus, awareness and understanding about the chronic mental health issues that can arise with the men and women of the Armed Forces who have served in intense combat situations.”

Challenges

During a long and distinguished Army career stretching back over four decades, Sir Peter, 63, has operational experience of conflicts including former Rhodesia, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and is well aware of the mental challenges of modern soldiering.

Today, instead of dealing with the horrors of the conventional military battlefield,  service personnel Increasingly find themselves exposed to a variety of equally challenging scenarios, from identifying mass graves filled with murdered civilians, as was frequently the case in Bosnia, to coping with the deadly effects of home-made bombs, such as those used more recently by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan., as well as the deadly effects of chemical weapons “The nature of warfare has changed significantly since the D-Day landings 75 years ago, but the experience can take a very similar toll on those who are involved in intense combat operations today,” Sir Peter explained.

Convention

Now, in his capacity as President of the charity Combat Stress, which caters specifically for the mental health issues faced by members of Britain’s Armed Forces, Sir Peter is calling for the nation to provide better support for military veterans who suffer serious mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as part of its commitment to the military covenant. There is a long-standing Whitehall convention whereby key government departments, such as the NHS, ensure military personnel and veterans are properly treated in recognition of their service to Queen and Country.

David Cameron was even said to planning to enshrine the covenant into law, although in the event his coalition government opted not to pursue the idea. Sir Peter, though, believes the government should be doing more to support military veterans, particularly those suffering from severe mental health issues. “While, as a nation, we talk a good game about the military covenant, at the moment it feels to me as if there is a lack of sincerity in the way we apply it when it comes to tackling mental health problems faced by military personnel,” said Sir Peter. “For a relatively small amount of money we could provide the right level of support for military personnel who suffer from mental health issues as a result of the traumatic experiences they have had on the battlefield.”

Manifest

Sir Peter is now helping to launch a fundraising campaign on behalf of Combat Stress, which marks its centenary on Sunday May 12, with the aim of raising £10 million to help fund its range of  mental health programmes, such as its world-class PTSD Intensive Treatment Programme. In the past year the charity has provided support for nearly 3,500 veterans who have been diagnosed with a range of mental health issues dating back to their time in the military. “The problem with mental health issues is that, unlike physical injuries, they can manifest themselves many years after the event that triggered the trauma in the first place,” explained Sir Peter. “Often we find the problems can arise 10-15 years after the event.”

Recently, though, Combat Stress has been struggling to meet the significant demand for its services after suffering unexpected cuts to its budget. The first blow was a decision by NHS England to discontinue funding residential courses for veterans with mental health issues. In addition the Royal British Legion has reduced its contribution by 20 percent. Sir Peter believes it is both short-sighted and self-defeating to deny charities like Combat Stress proper funding. “A great deal of work has been done by the Forces in recent years to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues as a result of operations. The trend is towards much earlier diagnosis of these conditions, which is crucial,” he explained. “For the earlier you diagnose mental health issues, the less damage is caused, in terms of an individual’s well-being, their relations with family members and friends, and their economic prospects.”

Constraints

More effort is spent these days on educating the military on the potential mental stress they might experience when deployed in combat situations, and how to cope with them. “When I joined the Army in 1973, nobody spoke about mental health issues,” said Sir Peter. “Now people are much more aware of the problem.” Consequently, demand for the services provided by charities like Combat Stress is an all time high. The only problem is that, because of budget constraints, the charity is struggling to meet the upsurge in demand.

“Combat Stress provides support that can transform the lives of those affected by mental health issues. In some cases if can even save lives,” said Sir Peter. “But current financial constraints mean that we are not able to meet the requirements of all those that need specialist help from Combat Stress.” At Ease Appeal


 

‘What we did was right’: Ex-head of UK armed forces Lord Dannatt on legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

The Afghanistan and Iraq wars impacted thousands of people in our region. In the first in our week-long series looking at their legacy, reporter Stuart Anderson talks to Lord Dannatt, the former head of the British Army. Sending troops to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq remains the right decision, according to the former head of the British Army.

On Balance

Lord Richard Dannatt said the UK had “no option” but to get involved in the 2001-2014 war in Afghanistan, and although joining the US-led coalition in the 2003-2011 Iraq War was more questionable, “on balance” it was the right thing to do. But Lord Dannatt, 68, who lives in Keswick, just south of Norwich, said building a stable and democratic Middle East would remain a difficult, if not impossible, goal.

He said: “Given that the Taliban were controlling the country, providing a safe haven and enabling training camps for Al-Qaeda, I don’t think we had any option but to get involved. “Afghanistan today is still a very troubled place, but now girls can go to school, women can move around, and that’s really important for the development of any country. “The economy is slowly strengthening. It’s their country and it’s up to them, but we’ve given them the chance to lead a better life. “The problem is that once we put our Judeo-Christian boots on their Islamic soil, that can very quickly, through propaganda, turn us from being a part of the solution to part of the problem.”

Hindsight

Lord Dannatt said joining the war in Iraq, however, was not properly justified. He once described it as “a strategic error of biblical proportions” that drew attention away from the shaky peace in Afghanistan, leading to another major British Army deployment to Afghanistan’s Helmand province. He said: “In Easter 2002, George W Bush said ‘we’re now going to deal with Saddam Hussein, and Tony Blair said, ‘we’re with you’. “The problem was he had no authority to say that, struggled to get the British people and parliament behind him and ended up justifying the operation on the intelligence of weapons of mass destruction, which turned out not to exist. “What would have been better, with hindsight, is if the Americans and British had continued to invest in the future of Afghanistan, helping to stabilise and strengthen its economy.”

Better Places

But Lord Dannatt said some regions of Iraq, including Basra, were better places today thanks to the British soldiers who served there. He said: “That has certainly given them better opportunities for the future. On balance, I would say that what we did was right.” Lord Dannatt was chief of the general staff – head of the army – from 2006 to 2009. In 2006 he argued a drawdown of British troops from Iraq was necessary for the army to focus on Afghanistan, and lobbied for better pay and equipment for soldiers. He has also played a crucial role in building up the resources of armed forces charities SSAFA and Help for Heroes, and brokered a deal with the press to allow Prince Harry to serve in Afghanistan for three months.

Lord Dannatt said multi-ethnic countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, which were “artificially created” by European powers in the 20th Century, would never have the same kind of “mature democracy” that exists in the West. He said: “They’re very family-based, tribal-based and clan-based, so you’re always going to have quite a rudimentary democracy in those countries. “They perhaps do work best when there is a strong regime at the centre, but that regime does not have the right to persecute its own people.”

Legacy

Lord Dannatt said the conflicts had a profound legacy on East Anglia, which saw involvement from the Royal Anglian Regiment, the Light Dragoons, who were based at Swanton Morley, and from RAF Marham. He said the support the region had shown for those who had served – which included a parade for the Light Dragoons in Dereham and a parade for the Royal Anglians in Norwich – was always much appreciated. He said: “It’s something that happens over there but actually it also does affect us over here.

“Those servicemen may well have lost some of their colleagues over a six-month tour. But when you’ve got hundreds of people in the street clapping and cheering and waving flags, they think ‘we were doing this in the name of the people and the people do appreciate it’. And then they march through the city 10 feet tall and think it was worth it. “So whether it’s EDP readers who have put their hand in their pocket for Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion or have turned up on the street to show their appreciation for soldiers in a homecoming parade, thank you and keep it up.” More from Norwich Evening News


 

RBL St James’s Virtually a Branch!

Our membership would be very surprised at how St. James’s Branch digital offering has evolved in recent years. Whilst the RBL membership in general, experiences change in some very different ways; largely influenced by issues that weren’t even considered 40 years ago.

New Branches

The creation of specialist branches, Riders Branches, Cyclist Branches etc. The closure of Clubs and, thankfully, new clubs being created along with the merger of many more. The increase in overseas Branches across the globe, not just enhanced relics from the past, but new Branches established by expat communities and branches created in armed forces communities plus a myriad of other locations.

St James’s Evolution

One of the most important evolutions has been the foresight shown by previous members of the St James’s Branch Committee in developing our online offerings to our 18 thousand (approx) branch members across the globe. Currently, we offer information across four digital platforms, this website and three “Our Man” social media platforms; the links to which you will find on the front news page. The success of these offerings can be measured by the following astonishing figures.

  • Over 23 thousand hits per annum across our 4 platforms.
  • Over 2 thousand words published every week.
  • The St James’s Branch website is updated 3/4 times every week.
  • During peak interest, Festival of Remembrance, membership renewals. elections etc. We experience upward of 1 thousand hits per day,
  • The 3 “Our Man” platforms are updated 6/7 times every week.
  • Any contact made via the Website has a response within 36 hours.
  • All of the platforms are monitored 24/7, 365 days a year.

A truly virtual offering in a digital age that welcomes contact and opinion from all members whatever the question.


 

Is There A Lack Of Understanding About The Role Of The Armed Forces?

The number of people who understand what the military does is dropping, according to new figures.

A study conducted by military charity The Royal British Legion (RBL) suggested 69% of people know little about the role of the armed forces. The findings have caused concern, as some believe it could lead to a decline in support for serving and ex-serving personnel. Head of Armed Forces Engagement at the Royal British Legion, Alexander Owen, said: “If this figure continues to decline, I worry that support for those who serve will diminish too.

“They support us every day. The least we can do is support them in turn.”

The work, carried out by YouGov for the RBL, also highlighted:

  • 44% thought serving members of the Armed Forces are involved in military-style fitness boot camps for the public in the last 10 years (which are in fact run by private companies).
  • 16% believed they spent time working as film extras in the last 10 years (which they do not)
  • Only one third (33%) know about the support of the British Armed Forces to the NHS in the last 10 years.
  • Only one quarter (25%) knew that the military have provided support in wildlife protection in the last 10 years. 
  • Awareness of what the British armed forces does on a day-to-day basis is lowest among the under 35s (76% know little or very little).
  • 80% of people agreed that serving members of the British Armed Forces make a valuable contribution to society in the UK.

 

Leaving The Forces? Veterans Gateway Will Point You In The Right Direction

Many people leaving the military often fail to plan far enough ahead of their final day in uniform and it can also be a minefield trying to navigate around the many organisations that support the Armed Forces community. Veterans Gateway has launched a campaign which will guide service leavers through the process of leaving – and it could prove a useful first point of contact for those seeking support.

The transition to civvy street can be a long and complicated process, so leaving everything to the last three months is often not a sufficient time for personnel to get their life in order.

How the ‘PLAN EARLY’ campaign can help

Plan early with Veterans Gateway

Clear Need

Veterans’ Gateway was launched in 2017 following Lord Ashcroft’s Veteran’s Transition review and is funded by The Armed Forces  Covenant. The organisations have come together to formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community. With over 2,000 military charities available to the Armed Forces Community, it was thought there was a clear need for a dedicated service to be the first point of contact for the veteran community.

Veteran’s Gateway represents a pathway to a full list of services from housing to mental health services, from financial to employment advice. The service also helps signpost a veteran and his or her family to experts who can help with whatever they need. Veterans Gateway has a specialist team of veterans from across all three services, and they are on hand 365 days a year. The advisors are on hand not only to assist with signposting queries’ but can also help a veteran or family member in a crisis.

Life Admin

Chris, one of the Helpline Advisors, joined the Royal Air Force in 1985 and served almost 10 years before being medically discharged. He admits it took him a lot of time to be able to settle back into civilian life. Chris said:

“I have been in the same position as a lot of people who are calling us here at Veterans Gateway so I can use my personal experiences to point them in the right direction for the best help.”

Transition can sometimes feel like the biggest burst of ‘life admin’ you will ever experience but planning early enough and breaking it down into steps will make it easier. Then you can begin to enjoy the opportunities that life can bring after a career in the military, you will definitely have some extraordinary dits to tell in the bar from your time serving, the only problem is unfortunately the drinks will never be as cheap as in the mess.

Specialist Support

Veterans’ Gateway is available to you whether you’re in day one of your new life on civvy street or if in weeks, months or even years down the line you are in need of help and advice. Whether there is a simple question you need answering, or you have a situation that may need specialist support, the service can be contacted and the experts will do the rest.

To contact Veterans’ Gateway

Call: 0808 802 1212 visit: www.veteransgateway.org.uk  or text: 81212


 

National Memorial Arboretum to host 2019 Remember Together Youth Festival

The Remember Together Youth Festival 2019 is aimed at KS3 and KS4 students and is being organised in partnership with The Royal British Legion. The event will focus on the Second World War and how the alliance forged between Britain, the Commonwealth, the United States and the free armies of Europe liberated Europe from Nazi rule following decisive victories in Normandy and Italy and the Far East.

Heritage 

This free festival takes place from 8th to 12th July and will give students the opportunity to experience a variety of activities, including guided tours, self-led activities, and facilitated workshops. Aysha Afridi, head of heritage and learning at the National Memorial Arboretum, said: “Our inaugural youth festival was a tremendous success.

Enriching

“We’re confident that Remember Together Youth Festival 2019 will build on this impressive foundation, delivering a fantastic programme of fulfilling and enriching activities for all participating students.“ Each school will be given a bespoke programme of activities for its students, while coach bursaries are available from The Royal British Legion to support transportation of students to and from the arboretum.

For further information on how schools can register visit the National Memorial Arboretum website.


 

Universities urged to boost support for armed forces

Universities should do more to support ex-service personnel and the children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives during duty, the UK Government has urged today (18 April). In a joint letter to all UK universities, the Universities Minister and Defence Minister have called on institutions to step up and support those that have sacrificed the most, by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.

Reflect the Needs

The Armed Forces Covenant aims to remove barriers faced by members of the armed forces community in accessing public services, including education. Only 57 of 136 UK universities have signed up to the Covenant to date, with just 3 of the 24 Russell Group universities pledging their support. Universities can support the Covenant in a number of ways including ensuring admissions policies reflect the needs of the armed forces community, benchmarking military experience and qualifications against course entry requirements or having a presence at local careers fairs for those leaving the services.

Forces Champion

The Ministers are also calling on universities to establish armed forces champions within each institution, which would be empowered to uphold the commitments of the Covenant, and to act as a first point of contact for the military community, service charities, and local businesses. The call comes as the Department for Education confirms £5 million in continued funding for higher education schemes in England for the armed forces. The Service Leavers Scheme pays the tuition fees for ex-service personnel who have not studied higher education before, and the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme provides university scholarships for children of those killed in the line of duty.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

We want everyone with the talent and potential, no matter their circumstances or background, to go on to university and thrive.

The scholarships offered by these two crucial higher education schemes empower those who have fought for our country, or whose parents have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Nearly 60 of our universities have signed up to delivering the Armed Forces Covenant, which provides rights for veterans and their families to access education, and I know universities such as Winchester have long had outreach programmes with their local armed forces communities. I’m sure all universities will wish to consider the benefits of being a civic university that supports armed forces families in their communities, which is why I have written urging them all to actively consider signing up to the Covenant.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a fantastic way to show support for our former and current service men and women, as well as their families. Thousands of businesses and organisations have already pledged to make a difference, and I’m pleased that so many of this country’s universities have already followed in their footsteps – with the Universities of South Wales and Lincolnshire and London South Bank University receiving awards last year for their work supporting the military community.

Today, I want to make sure that all universities understand the value of supporting our armed forces and their families, and I encourage them to step up and sign our pledge.

Service Children

The participation rate for young people from military service families in higher education is 24 per cent, according to research by the University of Winchester. This compares with a rate of approximately 43% for the overall population. Universities which have already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant are leading the way with support for military personnel and their families, pledging to support those who wish to serve in the armed forces as Reservists, and offering flexible leave before or after deployment to personnel and their partners.

Some universities have also included Service children as a target group in their Access and Participation Plans, which all English universities will be drawing up this year for implementation in 2020/21. The University of Winchester leads a number of initiatives to support children from military families to progress in education, including developing resources for higher education providers to use in outreach activities.


 

Forces Help To Buy Scheme: All That You Need To Know

The Forces Help to Buy Scheme (FHTB) was launched on 1 April 2014 as a three-year pilot scheme and has now been extended to the end of December 2019. This means that if you are thinking of benefiting then you had better be quick. FHTB enables service personnel to borrow by way of an advance, the equivalent of half their annual salary – before tax – up to a maximum of £25,000 interest-free.

The loan can be and is intended to assist towards the balance of the purchase price of the home (taking into account, for example, deposit, legal, surveyors, land registration and estate agent fees). Most major mortgage lenders accept the FHTB loan to be used as the deposit for your intended new home.

Who is FHTB designed for?

The FHTB scheme is primarily designed for first-time buyers or those needing to move to another property, either because they are assigned elsewhere or as a result of certain extenuating family or medical circumstances. Property for which FHTB has been claimed must be intended for the service person’s own immediate occupation or that of their immediate family. An exception to this applies to those in overseas postings at the time of application and purchase. It is not intended for the purchase of ‘buy-to-let’ properties or any other second property, but under certain circumstances can be used to extend or modify an existing property.

To be eligible personnel must fulfil the following criteria: 

  • Be in Regular service. 
  • Those serving in the Royal Navy must have been accepted onto trained strength. 
  • Army and RAF personnel must have completed two years service from the date of enlistment and be on trained strength i.e. completed Phase two training. 
  • Have at least six months left to serve at the time of application. 

You Do Not have to be married or have children to apply, single service personnel can also apply. 

How to apply for Forces Help to Buy?

Service personnel are to apply for Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) on JPA through the Self-Service Application for FHTB.

Full instructions can be found online under the tab JPA Self Service User Guide – ‘Applying for Pre-Approval for FHTB.’

Common questions about FHTB

How much do I have to pay back?

It will all depend on how much you borrow. But your loan amount is divided over ten years and you pay back that amount monthly (you can choose to make overpayments).

You can opt to start making the loan repayments straight away, six months after receiving it, or in your final ten years of service.

Can I leave the forces after receiving FHTB?

Put simply, yes. However, if you are due to any terminal benefits (resettlement grant) any outstanding FHTB loan balance will be taken automatically from it.


 

Film and TV training: industry gets creative to tackle skills shortage

From military veterans retraining as location managers and grips to a plethora of courses transforming film producers into TV executives, Screen explores the innovative ways the training world is adapting to the new realities of the international industry.

The international boom in film and TV content and the resulting urgent need for competent below- and above-the-line talent means approaches to training are becoming more adventurous. Rather than relying on traditional educational and apprenticeship schemes and recruitment practices, some European training providers are thinking laterally to try and fill skills gaps quicker.

In the UK, the National Film and Television School has stepped up to address industry skills shortages with courses training up production accountants, assistant directors, floor managers, model makers and location managers. Also in the UK, ScreenSkills is aiming to give ex-Armed Forces personnel the chance to retrain as location managers via its high-end TV skills fund. “This came out of one of our working groups,” says Kaye Elliott, director of high-end TV at ScreenSkills. “They felt there was a shortage of location managers and [asked] how to lure more people into that profession. In addition, [they asked] is there a skills set somewhere that could be utilised and could fulfil that location manager role?”

Former Soldiers

Elliott had heard about US production companies harnessing the expertise of military veterans and wondered if UK companies could do likewise. The attraction here is that former soldiers will already have many of the skills needed to be location managers. It takes many years to train a location manager but, as Elliott suggests, the Armed Forces veterans will likely have a strong grounding in teamwork and organisation, and will know instinctively how to choose safe, accessible and suitable locations. In short, they will be able to learn the job much quicker than newcomers. Elliott says there is strong interest in the scheme, which was launched at an open evening at Pinewood Studios in late March. The actual training will take the form of a three-day ‘bootcamp’ for 12 to 15 people, with six of them offered six-week paid placements on productions.

Boots on the ground

“Location manager is an area that comes up all the time,” Elliott says of the acknowledged skills gaps in the UK industry. “A lot of the support and funding we provide, we mostly drive it into programmes that are attached to placements because we feel that is the most effective way for people to really live and breathe the job.”

ScreenSkills is also working on a similar scheme that aims to train ex-Armed Forces members as grips, the people on-set who are responsible for setting up and manoeuvring camera support equipment. Both of the initiatives are aimed at ex-military personnel who are within two years of leaving the services. If the schemes work as envisaged, they could become a reliable way of fast-tracking new recruits into the industry.

High-End

The ACE Producers’ Series Workshop, which will be held for the first time in Brussels in November, is another example of a new initiative set up in response both to demand and changing market conditions. It is the first time in 25 years ACE has offered a TV-related training programme. “The world has changed,” says Jacobine van der Vloed, director of ACE Producers. “ACE members, around 10 years ago, were solely producing fiction features and some were doing documentaries but TV… hardly.” She quickly realised “80 to 90%” of ACE Network members were interested in producing high-end TV drama and that they wanted to learn how to do it.

When the new Series Workshop was announced just before Berlinale in February, the response was immediate. “In Berlin, we were almost attacked by people,” says Van der Vloed. “The great thing is that we’re talking about producers who have been producing for 25 years, who have won big awards at festivals all over the world.”

One prominent producer who says he will apply is Frans van Gestel, founder of Amsterdam-based Topkapi Films, who has produced more than 70 feature films as well as several TV dramas. “In smaller countries like the Netherlands, the tradition of storytelling comes from film,” says Van Gestel. “There is a bigger difference in storytelling in TV over film than we ever thought.”

The course will address the challenges of switching between the mediums, such as becoming accustomed to US TV concepts like writers’ rooms and showrunners and story development in TV drama. It will also look at how to finance TV series internationally and hold on to the relevant rights, as well as market series and deal with the logistical challenges of integrating a new TV drama arm into a film company.

Networking opportunities

An obvious attraction of the Series Workshop, which is being staged in collaboration with VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund) and supported by Flow Postproduction, Casa Kafka Pictures and Creative Europe MEDIA Desk Flanders, is the networking opportunity it provides. The 16 producers chosen will all be established figures with series in development that are ready for co-production. The participants will potentially be able to help one another.

Antwerp-based Flow Postproduction will provide workshop attendees with a post-production case study of a TV series. “In a lot of cases, where you see it going wrong is in post,” says Van der Vloed.

There is plenty of demand for workshops, labs and courses that teach new talent and established film professionals everything they need to know about working in TV series. The TorinoFilmLab is about to hold its annual TV SeriesLab, aimed at international scriptwriters, directors, producers and story editors who want to strengthen their techniques and skills to develop and produce a TV series project. This is held in Turin in mid-April.

Oppurtunities

In Germany, Serial Eyes is taught at the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), with workshops at the London Film School and the National Film School of Denmark. Its aim is to teach young European writer/producers to work as a group and develop a European model of showrunning. The Erich Pommer Institute in Potsdam has its European TV Drama Lab aimed at screenwriters, producers and commissioning editors, while an Eastern European-based training and networking platform, offers a residential project-based programme for emerging TV professionals.

Such courses, though, remain thin on the ground. Training schemes do not always respond as promptly to market demands as might be expected. “There is not enough done around TV series producing,” says Van der Vloed of the training landscape in which film is still generally privileged at the expense of TV.

As more and more film, TV and web drama is made, unprecedented opportunities are opening up for actors. The UK and most of its European neighbours already have highly vaunted drama schools. However, most of these are focused on stage training and performance. London’s MetFilm School in Ealing is bucking the trend with the launch of a Screen Acting BA degree. The school specifically cited Netflix, Amazon and the burgeoning digital games industry when it launched the course.

Logical

As MetFilm director Jonny Persey explains, the school already runs other BA-level Practical Filmmaking courses and this was a logical next step. “The idea is the students will work together and they will be in and out of each others’ productions and courses. They will crew and cast for each other,” he says.

MetFilm School has been running shorter courses for Screen Acting since 2016 but these were not meeting the mounting demand.

“What we identified was that all of our acting students were asking us for more,” says Persey. Looking at the market, there are very few BA-level courses, and even fewer in London, that are specifically for acting on screen.”

One aim of the course is to ensure students understand the mechanics of screen acting: “What is going on on either side of the camera: the directing, the camera, the storytelling, the editing, and how they fit,” Persey explains.

It’s not just production transforming. Germany’s DFFB is spearheading Next Wave: a 10-month programme for sales agents, distributors, marketing professionals and festival programmers that will start in September. Funded partly by Creative Europe Media, the school is working with La Fémis, FAMU and the National Film School of Denmark to train participants already working in the industry to develop innovative models for 21st century sales and distribution, and nurture the audiences of the future.


 

Leaving The Forces? Veterans Gateway Will Point You In The Right Direction

Many people leaving the military often fail to plan far enough ahead of their final day in uniform and it can also be a minefield trying to navigate around the many organisations that support the Armed Forces community. Veterans Gateway has launched a campaign which will guide service leavers through the process of leaving – and it could prove a useful first point of contact for those seeking support.

Long and Complicated

The transition to civvy street can be a long and complicated process, so leaving everything to the last three months is often not a sufficient time for personnel to get their life in order.

Veterans’ Gateway was launched in 2017 following Lord Ashcroft’s Veteran’s Transition review and is funded by The Armed Forces Covenant. The organisations have come together to formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community. With over 2,000 military charities available to the Armed Forces Community, it was thought there was a clear need for a dedicated service to be the first point of contact for the veteran community.

Specialist Teams

Veteran’s Gateway represents a pathway to a full list of services from housing to mental health services, from financial to employment advice. The service also helps signpost a veteran and his or her family to experts who can help with whatever they need. Veterans Gateway has a specialist team of veterans from across all three services, and they are on hand 365 days a year. The advisors are on hand not only to assist with signposting queries’ but can also help a veteran or family member in a crisis.

Chris, one of the Helpline Advisors, joined the Royal Air Force in 1985 and served almost 10 years before being medically discharged. He admits it took him a lot of time to be able to settle back into civilian life. Chris said:

“I have been in the same position as a lot of people who are calling us here at Veterans Gateway so I can use my personal experiences to point them in the right direction for the best help.”

Opportunities

The transition can sometimes feel like the biggest burst of ‘life admin’ you will ever experience but planning early enough and breaking it down into steps will make it easier. Then you can begin to enjoy the opportunities that life can bring after a career in the military, you will definitely have some extraordinary dits to tell in the bar from your time serving, the only problem is, unfortunately, the drinks will never be as cheap as in the mess.

Veterans’ Gateway is available to you whether you’re in day one of your new life on civvy street or if in weeks, months or even years down the line you are in need of help and advice. Whether there is a simple question you need answering, or you have a situation that may need specialist support, the service can be contacted and the experts will do the rest. Full Story and Links

To contact Veterans’ Gateway

Call: 0808 802 1212 visit: www.veteransgateway.org.uk  or text: 81212