The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced that the Covenant Fund will work with Royal British Legion (RBL) and other charities to set up a one-stop service to better support the UK’s Armed Forces veterans community. The £2 million Veterans Gateway programme will help veterans find and access advice and support on a broad range of issues, including healthcare and housing.
The new service will provide a 24/7 phone number, with an empathetic and professional voice at the end of the line, a dedicated website and a mobile app to make it easier for former service personnel to access support on a range of issues including housing, employability and health.
It will give veterans, regardless of age or location, a simple point of contact to turn to for advice and help in accessing an array of public, private and charitable services which are out there
This move responds to calls from veterans’ charities and groups for help in navigating the wide range of services and organisations set up to support those who have served in the Forces.
As part of the Armed Forces Covenant, which the Government enshrined in law to ensure that service personnel are not disadvantaged by their service, £2 million was set aside to set up the service. The £10M a year Covenant Fund is supported by LIBOR fines.
It has now been decided to award a grant to a group of charities led by The Royal British Legion, with support from other charities Combat Stress, SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, Connect Assist and Poppyscotland, who will provide the service to ensure no veteran is left behind.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“On leaving the armed forces, the overwhelming majority of our veterans move well to civilian life but the assistance can vary depending on where they live. By setting up and funding this single point of access we’ll make sure that it is easier for former service personnel to get the support they need to buy a house, access medical care or get a job. It’s right that our veterans, to whom we owe so much, get the assistance they need easily and when they need it.”
Director General of The Royal British Legion, Charles Byrne said:.
“We are honoured to have been awarded the grant to establish the new Veterans’ Gateway with our partners at SSAFA, Combat Stress and Poppyscotland. The new service will ensure that all British Armed Forces veterans, wherever they are based, can get help quickly and efficiently from whichever organisation is best placed to provide it. With so many military charities and specialist support organisations working in the sector it is paramount that our veterans can navigate the field in front of them and the Veteran’s Gateway will help them do that.”
In addition to this latest move, under the Armed Forces Covenant, the Government is providing a wide range of practical support including helping thousands of forces families to buy their own home and ensuring that veterans are given the support they need as they make the transition to civilian life.
The service will be formally launched in the first half of next year.