Red candles

Christmas at Veterans’ Gateway

The Veterans’ Gateway team is still here for you 24/7, during Christmas and beyond.

As the first point of contact for veterans, and their families, we deliver our service with the help of expert partners, plus the OVA, NHS, MOD and GOV.UK.

Thank you to those who have contacted us for support during 2023. Your calls and enquiries are always welcome.

We know how challenging it’s been during the last year. And here are some tips and resources to help you through the season.

Don’t feel you’re home alone

Meet like-minded people for free at Armed Forces and Breakfast Clubs.  If you’re not up for meeting in person, join on Facebook and make new online friends.  How to find your local club.

You can also contact Age UK’s Silver Line Helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. Their team help with:

– Friendly conversation

– Providing information

– Linking callers up with local groups and services

– Referring people to receive regular friendship calls through Age UK’s Telephone Friendship Service

– Supporting older people who are suffering abuse and neglect.

Also, help yourself by exploring Veterans’ Gateway Self help Hint: Select your location, to find  the most relevant contacts and information for your area.

If you have any queries about these, or any other section, on Veterans’ Gateway, our friendly helpline team will be glad to assist you. They can refer you directly to our expert partners, across all the welfare categories. Check out the full list of Referral Partners.

Find seasonal, and all year round, discounts

You may not want to travel in the cold weather but get ahead by applying now for the Veterans’ Railcard to get discounts for you and your loved ones.

Are you worried about costs around health? The King Edward VII Hospital offers a 20% military discount.

And see how you can apply for the Royal British Legion’s Cost of Living Grant.

Avoid getting into debt

It’s tempting to splurge at this time of year but you don’t want to end up getting into more debt. MoneyHelper’s We need to talk about Christmas shows how you can avoid common pitfalls.

And also be careful about scams which often ramp up at this time of year. It can happen to anyone.

If your income fluctuates, MoneyHelper provides specific advice, plus tips on what do to if you are paid earlier before Christmas.

And the BBC’s Cost of Living section provides great information on keeping costs down, with a range of  guides on saving money on my grocery shop to energy saving tips and saving money on your weekly shopping.

Citizens Advice provides many suggestions on ways to cope with debt and how to pay your bills. There’s also a handy budgeting tool that puts you in control of managing your money.

Find other useful help via our full list of Information Organisations.

Look after your health

Finding it hard stay warm at home? Head out to a ‘Warm Bank’.  These spaces are part of the ‘Warm Welcome Campaign’. As well as staying warm you can make friends in your local community. Enter your postcode to find your nearest warm bank

During the year we covered topics including how to get the best out of your GP. Revisit this in our guides on getting priority healthcare in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

The NHS continues to provide specialist care for those Armed Forces veterans suffering from a mental health crisis. Op Courage combines the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and the Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS).

Thanks to all supporters and users

We are very grateful for ongoing help from our all supporters including our Consortium and Referral Partners.

And a big shout out for Forces Pension Society. Their team generously ensures that information on Veterans’ Gateway about Armed Forces Pension Schemes is current.

During the holidays you can catch up with all the news and bulletins from 2023.

Looking forward to 2024 and beyond

The UK Government wants to make the UK the best place for veterans to live by 2028.

This year we saw awards being made to ex-service people who had encountered nuclear testing in the 19502. One such veteran, Jackson Hasson, now resides at Erskine.

This year also saw the launch of the Veteran Friendly Framework. Currently around 20 of the 15,000 care homes in the UK offer specific support to those who have served in the UK Armed Forces.

The aim of the partnership is to tackle loneliness and isolation amongst veterans. And to deliver improved health and wellbeing outcomes for over 25,000 veterans living in care homes across the country.

And next year the Office for Veterans’ Affairs OVA is collaborating with Veterans’ Gateway and others to improve services for veterans.

Plus the new Digital Verification service for the Veteran’s ID card is helping to speed up the supply of cards to veterans.

A very Happy Christmas and New Year from the Veterans’ Gateway team

Our helpdesk team are available 24/7 for you over the period, including Christmas and New Years Day.

 And don’t forget to search Self help for information on topics from housing and finances to mental and physical health.

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