Northern Ireland: Support for veterans and their families

The Northern Ireland Veterans’ Support Office (NIVSO) is a vital network that delivers comprehensive support for Northern Ireland based veterans, and their families.

The work is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.And the NIVSO team ensures collaboration between delivery organisations, veterans and volunteers.

In an exciting development the NIVSO has recently announced that it will be leading a two year programme which will enhance existing mental health, and peer support services. And transform them into an accessible care system, delivered locally.

Known as the NI Vital Veterans’ Network, the project will also be a collaboration between eight delivery partners across the following welfare areas:

Delivering complex mental health support for veterans:

Brooke House: Supports the physical and mental health and wellbeing of uniformed services, retired Royal Ulster Constabulary Officers, Military veterans, and their families. This includes those who have been physically or psychologically impacted and/or bereaved as a result of their service.

Combat Stress: (Veterans’ Gateway Referral Partner), Combat Stress is the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century, the charity has helped ex-service personnel deal with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

An all-island charity, and social enterprise, Inspire aims at wellbeing for all. The team assists those living with mental ill health, intellectual disability, autism and addictions. And ensures they live with dignity and realise their full potential.

Peer support networks

The existing NIVSO team will continue to guide veterans through peer support pathways. And Inspire will also share reliable information and knowledge as they train veteran volunteers.

Walking With The Wounded, (Veterans’ Gateway Referral Partner), and Andy Allen Veteran Support will continue to offer peer based support.

With new funding The Defence Gardens Scheme (a Veterans’ Gateway Information Organisation) will continue to provide nature-based therapy.

Fighting with Pride will reach out to those in the LGBT+ community to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Out of the Shadows, (join them on Facebook) ongoing work helps with social engagement and enterprise.

Strategic leadership:

Grants have also been awarded to The Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO), The Association of Drop in Centres (ASDIC), SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity, and Combat Stress.

These organisations will be encouraging the integration of existing services across the sector, and at local level. And will be assisted by a cross-sector Oversight Group.