Veterans’ Gateway, the 24-hour service that helps former service men and women to navigate their new lives as civilians, has recorded over 10,000 enquiries and 183,420 website users since its launch a year ago.
Designed to offer a one stop shop for veterans to access advice on a vast range of areas, from housing to health concerns, Veterans’ Gateway has seen over 37,000 click throughs to external sites, with the majority of users requesting advice on finance.
With requests coming from as far afield as Thailand, South Africa and St Maarten in the Caribbean, the service caters to veterans of all ages and backgrounds. 81% of users are under 65 years old, and 56% of web visitors access the site via mobile phones.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We are committed to delivering for our veterans, and the Veterans’ Gateway is making sure those who served our country are getting the support they and their families need.
“This £2m project has helped 10,000 ex-service men and women in its first year, making the transition between service and civilian life as smooth as possible.
“Every day our troops and veterans inspire our nation and it is right we deliver for them in return for the sacrifices they have made.”
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood recently visited the Veterans’ Gateway service centre near Cardiff in South Wales. He met with veterans who now work as call handlers, using their experiences in the Armed Forces to benefit others, and giving back to the service community.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: “The vast majority of veterans go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives, and most find employment within six months of leaving the military. But we need to offer support to those who find the transition more challenging.
“I’m proud to see the great work that goes on behind the scenes of the Veterans’ Gateway and I’ve been inspired by the community spirit of all who dedicate their time and knowledge to supporting those in need.”
The 24-hour service is delivered by a Royal British Legion-led consortium with Poppyscotland, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, the Ministry of Defence and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity.
Charles Byrne, Director General of The Royal British Legion, on behalf of the Veterans’ Gateway consortium, said: “The number of people contacting Veterans’ Gateway continues to grow and we are reaching new groups of people including young veterans who need our support in finding the right information, advice and help.
“We have also seen increasing numbers of users being able to self-refer and gain better access to the services available to them. Veterans’ Gateway can become a key resource for veterans and their families seeking support. With over 30 referral partners, it is truly a team of teams.”
Kath Carter, an army wife at the age of 18 and a Helpline Adviser from Bridgend, said: “I wish Veterans’ Gateway had been around when I needed help years ago. I know how it feels to support someone who is having difficulties so can relate to partners, wives and family when they call us.
“Being able to help and support veterans that don’t know they can get help, and where to find it, is such an honour. It’s hard to open up to people about your circumstances, but as a team we have experienced it and I think that helps when we offer advice and support.”
For more information on Veterans’ Gateway, or if you are in need of support, visit www.veteransgateway.org.uk , call 0808 802 1212 or text 81212.