To mark one year since the Office for Veteran’s Affairs (OVA) started its work programme, ministers met veteran charities and service leaders to discuss high priority issues in the sector.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer visited Portsmouth to meet charities in the city. Aboard HMS Westminster at HMNB Portsmouth, they also met service leavers and discussed the importance of providing support for serving personnel as they transition out of the Armed Forces.
The Veterans Minister also visited Queen Alexandra Hospital, a Veterans Aware hospital. He met staff who provide specialist care to veterans, doing a range of things to support veterans in their community.
This includes training relevant staff to be aware of veterans’ needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant.
Veterans Aware hospitals also establish processes to inform staff if a patient has served in the Armed Forces.
Along with the visit, and to build on the OVA’s work and create a regular dialogue with the sector, ministers launched a new board of experienced and prominent individuals involved in veterans’ issues.
The new Veterans Advisory Board will provide advice, challenge and diversity of thought to the government on veteran issues, including supporting the delivery of the Strategy for Our Veterans.
Members of the board include: TV presenter Nick Knowles; the founder of charity Recruit for Spouses, Heledd Kendrick; former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the current chairman of COBSEO, General Sit John McColl; ex-Marine and sports presenter JJ Chalmers.
A year of work
The new board was announced a year on from the OVA’s establishment. In the last year the office has worked to drive the veterans agenda across government.
Over the last year the office has many achievements: a new railcard for veterans, providing discounted travel for ex-military personnel; guaranteed interviews in the civil service for veterans; plans being brought forward for a National Insurance holiday for employers who hire veterans; including veterans in the 2021 census; prioritising veterans for new homes.
The government has also provided £6million in funding to organisations across the UK to help Armed Forces charities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on what the OVA is working on and all members of the new Advisory Board, click here.
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