The Map of Need

The Northern Hub for Veterans and Families Research at Northumbria University used funding from Covenant Fund to develop a map of veterans’ and their families’ welfare needs across the whole of the UK, based on data from public sources, statistics, health data and data directly from Armed Forces charities.

We call this the Map of Need.

There are currently thought to be around 2.75 million veterans living in the UK. To date, there has been little understanding of veterans’ specific regional needs, provision in those regions and numbers of veterans and their families needing access to this provision.

With the wellbeing of ex-Service personnel in the UK a national focus in recent years, the Map of Need provides an important Public Health Observation function with implications at a local, regional and national level.

It enables the comparison of multiple data sources and research findings, providing users with an accurate picture of our veteran population, now and in the years to come.

What does the Map of Need show us?

Through a series of reports, the Map of Need gives clearer insights into where veterans are within the UK, what their current needs are and what their future needs might be, by looking at the support they have asked for or accessed.

One of the main goals of the Map of Need project is to provide evidence-based findings about the veteran population. Data sharing partnerships are central to the analysis within the project, giving the ability to statistically compare multiple data sources when examining a veteran or family issue, and then compare these with wider research findings.

The approach that the project has adopted allows them to use multiple data sources to give the most accurate picture possible.

Using the Map of Need reports

This page contains highlights from various data sets. You are welcome to view these highlights and reference the reports.

If you wish to view any of the reports in full, you can make a request for access to the full report by contacting

You’ll be asked to state your reason for needing the report and what you will use it for. You’ll also be asked to sign a declaration to confirm you will not alter the report in any way or use it for any other purpose than that which you requested it for.

When referring to the data in any of the reports listed on this page, you must always reference:

  • Northumbria University
  • The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust
  • The data owner (i.e. SSAFA, RBL etc)
Map of Need Data reports

Accessibility of third party material

Each of these reports has been produced by the Map of Need team, working with Armed Forces charities. The reports feature a summary of the findings.

Further reports will be added when available

The Map of Need holds the following reports. If you would like to request access to these reports, please contact

ABF Soldiers Chairty 2015-2017

ABF Soldiers Chairty 2018-2019

ABF Soldiers Chairty 2019-2020

Combat Stress 2017-2018

Financial Applications from UDRR Irish HS Aftercare Service

Help4Heroes 2016-2019

Naval Benevolent Trust 2015-2017

NHS IAPT Analysis

Poppyscotland 2015-2016

RAF Benevolent Fund 2014-2017

RAFA 2016-2018

RBL 2014-2017

Service Families and SSAFA assistance 2019-2020

SSAFA 2014-2019

SSAFA 2015-2017

SSAFA 2019

SSAFA January 2018- June 2019

The Royal Marines Chairty 2018-2019

UDRR IRISH Home Service Aftercare Service 2017-2018

Veterans NHS Wales 2014-2018

Reports by geographic area

These reports are by country or region, and were produced in 2019

Veterans Gateway: what do users search for?

The Map of Need works with the Veterans Gateway. The Veterans Gateway is a first point of contact for veterans seeking support. They put veterans and their families in touch with the organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need including healthcare and housing, employability, finances, personal relationships and more. These reports look at how people are using the Veterans Gateway app and online directory; and what sources of support they are searching for.

Identifying and predicting the geographic distribution of financial hardship in Scotland’s veterans community

This open access article explores how data from veterans seeking financial help from SSAFA in Scotland can be combined with other data sources to indicate high population clusters of veterans living in higher than average areas of deprivation.

The exploration of the dispersal of British Military Families in England

This report looks at military families dispersal following the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) and demonstrates that families are becoming more dispersed. It highlights where they are clustering and the paucity in those areas of service family support; suggesting the need for a more modern approach to service family support. This report was peer reviewed, and is available under an open access licence

Pathways into Mental Health Services for UK Veterans

This report details the primary pathways into statutory, or NHS/HSC provided care mental health services for veterans across the UK. Health is a devolved matter in the UK and mental health service provision varies across each nation. This document was first produced in 2018; and amended in 2021

You can find out more about the Map of Need at