The hard work and dedication of the Margate Task Force were recognised last week when they were the proud recipients of the prestigious ‘Service Champion Team Award’ from the Sussex and Kent & Medway Armed Forces Network.

The Sussex and Kent and Medway Armed Forces Networks bring together organisations serving the public to help make sure people with a Forces background are able to get help. The Armed Forces Networks, which includes members from NHS organisations, the Ministry of Defence, local authorities, Armed Forces Reservists as well as charities and other organisations, aims to raise awareness of the help that is available.

Jo Hirst and Andy Bigginton collecting the award at the Armed Forces Network Services event in Brighton.

The Margate Task Force is a multi-agency team who work together to support the community of Margate. The Task Force brings together officers from 14 different agencies and organisations that are co-located within the Thanet District Council offices.  The team have embraced the Armed Forces Community with the team receiving awareness training and actively engaging with the Kent and Medway Armed Forces Network.  Margate Task Force has four active Network Champions and will be training two additional officers this year. Since the initial training the Champions have referred five veterans and secured a place on the Invicta Project with Kenwood Trust. They promote a better quality of life by working across a number of agencies which include the military charities and linking public services in an armed forces friendly way.

The Service Champions within the Task Force are …

  • Andy Bigginton who is the Lead Officer for the Margate Task Force.
  • Allison Gambrill who, with the NHS Crisis Team, organised the Network awareness training for 60 of her colleagues which led to a significant increase in the number of local Service Champions.
  • Jo Hirst and Debbie Lancaster who both work for the Department of Work and Pensions

I have met with Andy on a few occasions now and have found him to be extremely passionate and dedicated to improving local communities and making them safer places to live in. He speaks incredibly highly of his team and we wish to congratulate them all on this fantastic achievement. Andy is also working on Kent Fire & Rescue Service signing the ‘Armed Forces Covenant’ which will include offering Champion training to all of their staff.

Educational Life are hoping to forge a strong working relationship with the Margate Task Force as they continue to meet the challenges ahead and we are looking forward to reporting their good news, positive stories and successes in the future.