The VPPP programme will award 10 grants to portfolios of projects, which work regionally to develop support for veterans.
VPPP Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland’s Vital Veterans Network
Portfolio lead – Tanvalley & Anaghlone Project, working with the NI Veterans Support Office
For the veteran community living in Northern Ireland the ability to tap into a network of charitable or statutory services is different compared to those living elsewhere in the UK as a result of the unique circumstances of the Devolved Administration. Statistics collated show that the need for mental health support is high and gaining trust amongst the veteran community is vital.
Member organisations of VPPP Northern Ireland
- Brooke House Heath and Wellbeing Centre
- Combat Stress NI
- Inspire Wellbeing*
- Walking With The Wounded
- Andy Allen Veterans Support (“AAVS”)
- Defence Garden Scheme
- Fighting With Pride
- Out of the Shadows
‘Veterans communicate better shoulder to shoulder, not face to face” This insightful observation evokes a powerful image of the bond that is synonymous with so many in the veteran community.
All that said, where there is a will, there is a way. Some years ago, the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association in Northern Ireland established the Veterans’ Support Office within its structure in order to support the application of the Armed Forces Covenant in the Province.
Liz Brown the Head of Veteran’s Support Office said, ‘Funding from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has been the singular biggest enabler for us to deliver and directly support programmes here. With a successful grant award of £800,000 from VPPP,’ Liz adds ‘we have got big plans.’
Careful consideration has been given to the geographical dispersal of project funding to make sure that there is a good spread across the Local Authority areas.
An associated project will deliver a helpline to guide and inform both statutory professionals and staff working in acute hospital settings, with some in most need of assistance in the veteran community. Liz commented that ‘Veterans need more than an information poster – a warm hand-over and boots on the ground build relationships. Navigators and care co-ordinators ensure services are connected, they work on building trust with beneficiaries to make accessing advice and guidance straightforward.’
The range of projects being delivered sets out to bridge gaps and offer support from peer-to-peer activities all the way through to higher level clinical services. Taking part in shared ventures such as model making all the way through to participating in a veteran pipes and drums band, there is something for abilities and interests. Liz added “There is a close network across Northern Ireland, we are very proud of the work going on here. We have programmes involving horticulture, fishing, bee-keeping and even equine therapy. Our veteran community really does communicate better shoulder to shoulder.’