The aim of the Great Veterans Debate Project is to teach military veterans British Parliamentary Debate Skills and improve their understanding of the democratic process. The project is run in partnership with students from Northumbria University Debating Society and staff from the House of Commons Parliamentary Outreach Team. Over a period of 12 weeks Veterans are trained in debate techniques and the project culminates in a final debate attended by MP’s, supporters, friends and family members. In recent years, veterans and students have been invited to the Houses of Parliament to watch debates in the both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. On one occasion, this was followed by private select committee style meeting with Dan Jarvis MP, Rory Stewart MP and Dave Anderson MP. In December 2017 The Forward Assist Debate Team and Student were invited by the Rt Hon John Bercow MP to launch the project at Speakers House. 

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Supported by Armed Forces Covenant

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“I am pleased to provide a message in support of Forward Assist Veterans Parliamentary Debating Project. As a nation we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces community, and it is right that they are held in the highest esteem by the Government and the public.

The vast majority of Service leavers make a smooth transition from military to civilian life. The skills that Service leavers possess are in high demand from employers who recognise the benefits of bringing this talent into their organisations. However, the Government is determined to ensure that veterans who do require help are provided with appropriate support.

Good communication skills are key for service leavers and students alike, and I commend initiatives such as the Veterans Debating Project that enhance public speaking and debating skills. This supports veterans to transition back to civilian life and gives students a great opportunity to build their confidence, develop their confidence, develop their critical thinking and gain skills for their future careers.”

Theresa May, Prime Minister

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“The Debate Project improves the confidence, public speaking skills and debating skills of veterans, providing them with transferable skills for the future”

Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP

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“The Forward Assist Veterans Debate project has been successfully delivered over the past 4 years. This training provides the veterans with an insight in to the rules of Parliamentary Debate, giving them an opportunity to develop their public speaking skills. Past participants have seen huge improvements in their confidence and self esteem, whilst developing an emotional vocabulary that enables them express their thoughts in a positive and structured manner. I highly commend the work of Forward Assist in developing this ground breaking project and wish them continued success with this in the coming years.”

Johnny Mercer MP