Across the county there are estimated to be around 129,000 ex-service personnel.
How well have they adapted to Civvy Street? How do they contribute to the local community, and do they feel well supported within the local community?
These are questions being asked by the Kent and Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board, which comprises representatives from local government in Kent and Medway, the armed forces, and service charities.
The Board was set up in 2011 to deliver the Armed Forces Community Covenant, which aims to encourage local communities to support the armed forces in their area and promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues affecting the armed forces community.
The Board is keen to get as many current and former armed forces and ex-service personnel and their partners as possible, to complete a short questionnaire to help the Board understand the strengths and needs of serving and ex-service armed forces personnel, and their families in Kent and Medway.
KCC Project Manager Jayne Collier-Smith said: “In Kent we have over 2,600 serving personnel and 412 reservists who we know we can reach with this survey.
“But we are keen on tracking down ex-service personnel who we have no way of knowing where they are and how their lives have changed.
“The survey will remain anonymous though we do ask for a postcode to help us map needs and opportunities.
“By taking part in this survey, it will help us shape where and how resources can be focused for people associated with the armed forces.
“We want to make sure the Kent and Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board have as much information as possible to inform their decision making.”
Dartford Men’s Shed chairman Darren Riley, 40, from Swanscombe, who served in war-torn Bosnia during his military career, said: “When I left, life was a struggle. The transition from a very structured environment to ‘here’s a house, here’s real life, you work it out’ was just a massive transformation.
“I wasn’t really focused and just lost my belief and self-motivation.
“You’re not really prepared for life afterwards. I’ve struggled with relationships, I couldn’t get into work.
“I engaged with the Community Covenant which I got to through Kent Sheds and I’m now employed by Groundwork
South helping other former serving members and homeless people.”
There are three regular Army troop bases in Kent – Brompton Barracks, Invicta Park Barracks and Shorncliffe Army Camp – alongside six Reservist bases.
Chair of the Kent & Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board and KCC Armed Forces Champion Cllr Leyland Ridings said: “We want to ensure that we are focussing on those issues that are most important to the armed forces community.
“To do that, we need better information about the experience of ex-service personnel, particularly those who left the armed forces a few years ago and are working in other fields.
“We also want to know about the issues facing their partners and children.
“The project aims to improve the support networks available for the Armed Forces community by better understanding their needs and to identify their strengths to support each other and to use their skills to help the wider Kent community.
“With your help filling in this questionnaire, you will help us deliver a list of priorities for the KCMP to consult on next year.”
The project is being delivered by Kent County Council’s policy team which is investigating the strengths of and challenges faced by the Armed Forces community.
There will also be workshops/forums and service provider interviews.
The closing date for completion is July 31. The overall findings and results of the research will be published in early 2016.
Visit www.kent.gov.uk/armedforces to take part from Friday, June 5.
The research is completely anonymised and will be handled in the strictest of confidence.
Personal information will be stored securely and accessed only by the research team.
People may not wish to tell us their postcode however it would really help determine where services or support needs should be focused in Kent.
Contact details will not be passed on to a third party.
Research data will not be shared with any third party unless fully anonymised and will never be released if it contains any information that may identify the person.