As a veteran, I am proud of the courage and dedication that is demonstrated by our Armed Forces and service leavers. I believe that it is our duty to ensure that those who have served our country receive the best possible care. As a local MP, I want to ensure that residents in the Forces community, including those still serving, veterans, and their families, get the support and services that they need. That is why I am pleased that the Government continues to honour the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment by the nation to ensure that those who have and continue to serve, as well as their families, are treated fairly and suffer no disadvantage. In Parliament, I serve on the Defence Select Committee and I am Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Veterans and the Armed Forces Covenant. Through these platforms, I am determined to do more to help veterans.
Read Stuart's story, as reported by the Times, here.
NHS Support: Op Courage.
Armed forces veterans suffering a mental health crisis will receive specialist care as part of a new Op Courage service. Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will work with military charities to provide therapy, rehab services and, in extreme cases, inpatient care to hundreds of former soldiers, sailors and RAF personnel each year. Those needing urgent help will receive a same-day referral.
The Government has announced extra support, including extra mental health services, thanks to a further £2.7 million funding. Dedicated care co-ordinators will be appointed to act as a single point of contact to better support veterans with complex mental and physical trauma. They will help them to navigate the health and care system and consult with health and care professionals, with the aim of reducing suicide rates within the veteran community.
2021 Open University (OU) Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund
This fund will provide scholarships for up to 50 disabled veterans to build on their unique military skills and experiences by studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level for free. The OU has awarded 160 such scholarships so far, helping individuals from a variety of service backgrounds and diagnosed with a range of physical disabilities and complex mental health conditions. Each scholarship is tailored to fully support all disabled veterans, injured during or due to their service, as they transition to civilian life, providing a free OU education and wraparound disability and careers service support. More information is available here: http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/choose/veterans.
Armed Forces Covenant Fund:
The Ministry of Defence provides £10 million a year to be distributed by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust in the form of grants for programmes that support the armed forces community. For 2020-21, the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has a further £10 million to specifically deliver charitable projects and initiatives that support veterans with mental health needs.
Organisations that can apply include registered charities, local authorities, schools, or other statutory organisations, community interest companies, or an armed forces unit with a UIN reference number. There is a single stage application process for organisations applying to this programme published on Covenant Fund Trust at https://covenantfund.org.uk/your-application/.
Bids must fit with the aims of specific programmes run by the Covenant Fund Trust, for example, be linked with mental health or supporting veterans in the criminal justice system. There is no deadline for applications, which can be submitted online on a rolling basis. The Convent Fund Trust’s Board of Trustees assesses grant applications on a quarterly basis.
Veterans Gateway: The Veterans’ Gateway is for any ex-service personnel and their families looking for advice or support – whatever they’re dealing with. They provide the first point of contact to a network of military and non-military partner organisations to help you find exactly what you need, when you need it - whether you’re in the UK or overseas. For 24-hour support go to Veterans’ Gateway or call 0808 802 1212.
The Government's range of support schemes designed specifically to help veterans and their loved ones includes:
- Helping veterans into work through our Guaranteed Interview Scheme.
- Supporting service families with childcare.
- Providing personnel with more choice of accommodation.
- Enhancing mobility with veterans railcards.
- Enabling employers to claim National Insurance contributions relief for veterans they have hired during their first year of civilian employment after leaving the armed forces.
The Publicly Funded Further Education/Higher Education Scheme provides service leavers access to a first full level 3 (GCE A Level or vocational equivalent), or a first HE qualification (a foundation degree or first undergraduate degree or equivalent) with tuition fees funded to a maximum of £9,250 per year of study. Full details of this scheme can be found at the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service website: www.enhancedlearningcredits.com.
- Blesma, the Limbless Veterans Charity: 020 8590 1124 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blind Veterans UK: 0800 389 7979 www.blindveterans.org.uk/get-in-touch/
- Chamber Military Network (Chamber of Commerces): https://www.chambermilitarynetwork.co.uk/
- COBSEO (The Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations): www.cobseo.org.uk/
- Combat Stress 24-Hour Helpline: 0800 138 1619 https://combatstress.org.uk/get-help
- Defence Medical Welfare Service Helpline: 0800 999 3697 https://dmws.org.uk/
- Forces Children’s Trust: https://forceschildrenstrust.org.uk/
- Help for Heroes: https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/
- Officers’ Association: https://www.officersassociation.org.uk/
- Employment enquiries: 0203 761 6343
- Welfare enquiries: 020 7808 4175
- Poppy Factory:
- Employment support: 020 8939 1837 email@example.com
- Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund: 0300 102 1919 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.rafbf.org/
- Royal British Legion: 0808 802 8080 https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/#
- Royal Naval Benevolent Trust: 02392 690112 http://www.rnbt.org.uk/
- Stoll – housing and helpling veterans: 020 7385 2110 https://www.stoll.org.uk/
- SSAFA Forces Help - Forcesline: 0800 731 4880
- War Widows Association of Great Britain: 0845 2412 189 email@example.com