Veterans’ Office marks one year since establishment

16 Oct 2020 03:59 PM

Ministers met veteran charities and service leaders yesterday to discuss high priority issues in the sector, in a visit to mark one year since the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) started its work programme.

To build on the OVA’s work and create a regular dialogue with the sector, ministers are also launching today a new board, comprised of experienced and prominent individuals involved in veterans’ issues.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer yesterday 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 into civilian society.

The new Veterans Advisory Board will provide advice, challenge and diversity of thought to the government on veterans issues, including supporting the delivery of the Strategy for Our Veterans.

Members of the board include TV presenter Nick Knowles, the founder of the charity Recruit for Spouses Heledd Kendrick, former Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the current Chairman of COBSEO General Sir John McColl, and ex-Marine and sports presenter JJ Chalmers.

While in Portsmouth, the Veterans Minister also visited Queen Alexandra Hospital, a Veterans Aware Hospital. While there he met staff who provide specialist care to veterans. Veterans Aware Hospitals do a range of things to support the veterans in their community, including training relevant staff to be aware of veterans’ needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant and establishing processes to inform staff if a patient has served in the Armed Forces.

One year on from the OVA’s establishment, the office has worked to drive the veterans agenda across government. Achievements in the first year include:

To help armed forces charities during the COVID pandemic, the government has also provided £6million in funding to organisations across the UK, delivering support to veterans, service personnel and their families.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said:

We owe a debt of gratitude to those who have served and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs exists to make the case for ex-service personnel across government.

We have made huge strides on the veterans agenda since the OVA’s establishment and we’re determined to continue this work apace.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

I’m determined to make Britain the best country in the world to be a veteran.

This has been an important year for veterans, with the new railcards, guaranteed interviews in civil service and extra funding to support military charities through COVID.

We will continue to build on this work and further drive the veterans agenda across government.

The work of the OVA includes:

Veterans Advisory Board members