Monday, 1 November 2010

New support groups for the Armed Forces Community

The committees' webpages are housed on the Veterans-UK website

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has launched a new regional network to help veterans, Serving personnel and their families access welfare support in their local area. The one year pilot scheme will see 13 new ‘Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committees (VAPCs)’ across the United Kingdom.

The VAPCs replace the previous ‘War Pension Committees’ but this is not simply a change of name. The new committees have been completely re-constituted and have a fresh focus and a much wider role. This includes:
  • Acting as advocates for implementing improved cross-Government support, including the services outlined in the Service Personnel Command Paper and the Armed Forces ‘Welfare Pathway’.
  •  Raising awareness within their regions of the support available to veterans and the Armed Forces community. This includes compensation and pension schemes for those injured, disabled or bereaved through Service, advice services and the work of the MOD’s Veterans Welfare Service.
  • Assisting serving personnel, their families and veterans in accessing the above services and other local support. This will include providing specific assistance and guidance to individuals in their areas and ensuring they are put in touch with the relevant organisations who can help. The committees will also provide an independent element to the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency’s complaints process.
Chairmen and members have now been appointed to all 13 committees. All are volunteers and come from a cross-section of the local community, including health, social care, legal professionals and veterans groups.

Administration support and guidance for the VAPCs is provided by SPVA. Jon Parkin, the Agency’s Head of Veterans Services said:

“We know from talking to veterans that problems they face can often result from issues affecting a specific area of the country. The new VAPCs will have a vital, on the ground, local knowledge of these issues and will help ensure that Service personnel and veterans needing assistance get the help that’s right for them, wherever they live.”

Lt Col Ray Holland, a Chairman of one of the new Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees said:

“The new committees will ensure that the needs of Veterans and their dependants are championed at every level from central government to the local community. We will assist in the implementation of the Military Covenant and work closely with local authorities, primary care trusts and Service charities in the delivery of services and benefits.

The committees comprise of members drawn from all walks of life providing a wide range of experience and knowledge, a number of whom have previously served in the Armed Forces.  Located on a regional basis, our local knowledge makes us well placed to serve the veteran community.”

Members of the Armed Forces or Veterans community wanting to contact their local committee should contact the Veterans Welfare Centre for their area  or the Veterans-UK Helpline 0800 169 2277. Alternatively more information can be found on the VAPC webpages.

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