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Helping servicemen and women on the road back to life as civilians.

A UNIVERSITY in North Wales has been awarded a grant of PS210,000 to help ex-servicemen and women make a successful transition back to civilian life.

The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has funded a two-year research project that will be conducted by experts at Glyndwr University and whose findings will be used to develop future strategic policies.

Dr Nikki Lloyd-Jones, senior lecturer in the Wrexham-based institution's School of Social and Life Sciences, said the idea came about after the North Wales Armed Forces Forum identified a need to fill the gap in the cultural differences between military and civilian life.

The university will complete the project in partnership with members of the forum, including representatives from the Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board and local authorities in the region.

"This is an exciting opportunity to undertake research intended to inform future public service deliverers," said Dr Lloyd-Jones.

"From anecdotal accounts we know about service leavers' experiences of navigating cultural differences when leaving the Armed Forces, we also know that those in the wider community who regularly interact with exservice personnel could improve how they respond to everyday needs.

"The research will explore this further, mapping out some of the signifi-cant decision-making issues experienced when becoming a civilian." Based in North Wales, the research team will be looking to recruit people to engage in the project.

Dr Peter Higson, chairman of the North Wales Armed Forces Forum, said: "The Forum strongly supported the bid from Glyndwr University and we are delighted that this has been successful.

"This work will make a huge and important difference to the support that we give the armed forces community.' The initiative will enable the university and FiMT to gain a better understanding of current perceptions of public sector provision and any potential contrast with reality, through the development of an engagement model.

The aim is to enhance cultural understanding and integration which will help inform and influence policy makers and service deliverers who regularly interact with ex-service personnel and their families.

The project will develop a tool to evaluate integration, exploring the experiences of ex-servicemen and women when going through the transition process, while also aiming to help generate a programme that will eradicate the sense of exclusion felt by some ex-service personnel.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 27, 2015
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