The Bridge is a one-year programme that recognises the difficulties faced by many service personnel upon leaving the armed forces. Unlike most civilian jobs, the uniformed services are a family and when service personnel leave, they are not just giving up a job but also the family that they have come to love and rely on in many cases for years. At Choices, we recognise this and aim to create a community family that our participants can come to trust and rely on in times of need. Many of our staff and volunteers are either linked to the armed forces or other uniformed services by family, friends or as ex-service personnel themselves. Everyone at Choices understands the level of duty and sacrifice the participants have made for each and every one of us, ensuring a empathetic and respectful response at all times.
The programme also recognises that not all service personnel experience the same level front line conflict reactions to their experiences. We therefore offer a multi-level approach. Participants can choose from either a three-day workshop, which, allows ex-service personnel to explore their feelings around the transition from service to civilian life, or for those who have experienced life on the front line, a 5 day residential where a greater level of therapeutic care is available should it be needed. This allows participants to explore their feelings at a deeper level in a safe and contained environment.
With both options, a twelve-month follow-through will provide participants with ongoing support. By the end of either, the workshop or the residential, participants will have set personal goals around the new challenges they face. Each participant will have the support of their own Community Partner who will meet with them weekly to support them in attaining their goals throughout the follow-through, as well as having access to the full range of services provided by Choices Family Support Centre. Monthly sessions will bring the participants and their Community Partners together as a group for further support and friendships can be forged thus creating a new secure “family”.
We will recruit volunteers during a 2-3 week presentation phase.
The volunteers will receive 6 days initial training via a two day workshop and 4 evening workshops.
Potential participants will attend a one day taster workshop 3 to 4 days prior to commencement of the programme.
Participants will then:
- Attend either a 3 day workshop or a 5 day intensive residential.
- Follow On weekly coaching sessions.
- Monthly Large Group Support sessions.
- An intensive 20 day programme designed to equip service leavers with all of the skills they need to successfully take up employment.
- A completion Showcase of work achieved.
To enable ex-service personnel to gain the skills necessary for successful transition into civilian life
To deliver the programme to at least 120 ex-service personnel over a two year period.
To decrease the number of incidents of violence from ex-service personnel.
To provide training in the skills necessary to gain employment in civilian life.
To set self-determined goals in areas such as relationships, education, employment.
To provide professional emotional support to ex-service personnel and their families.
Among the outcomes we would expect to see is a reduction in the number of:
- Ex-service personnel becoming homeless.
- Ex-service personnel sleeping rough.
- Hospital attendances and admissions resulting from injury sustained in incidents of violence involving ex-service personnel.
- Incidences of drug and/or alcohol abuse in ex-service personnel.
- Incidences of psychological damage to the ex-service personnel, extended family, friends and community.
- Ex-service personnel entering the criminal justice system.
An improvement in:
- Employment prospects for ex-service personnel.
- Cohesion with the local community.
- Transition and emergence of ex-service personnel into society/local community.