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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland


VETERANS

Part of the RFCAs’ remit is to build on existing links with veterans' organisations and to create new ones. This involves ensuring that these organisations are aware of the Volunteer Reserve units in the region and exploring ways of enlisting their pro-active support.

Who is a veteran?
A veteran is anyone who has served in HM Armed Forces at any time, irrespective of length of service (including National Servicemen and Reservists). Veterans and their dependants make up the veterans community, which is estimated to be over 10 million strong in the UK.

How do we help?

The RFCA NI aim:

  • To enhance wherever possible the welfare and well-being of the veterans’ community in Northern Ireland
  • To encourage and facilitate cooperation and coordination between Veterans' charities in Northern Ireland
  • To engage, where appropriate, with the UK Government on matters relating to veterans’ affairs
  • To act as a point of contact for government and other agencies for all matters relating to veterans’ policy

Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland

The Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) is implemented in Northern Ireland (NI) somewhat differently to the rest of the United Kingdom. This is due to structural and legal specifics that apply in NI, not least the fact that local authorities (LAs) do not hold the same levers over services as is the case in the rest of the UK. To ensure that veterans receive the same level of support as elsewhere, a bespoke delivery system has been established such that where an individual veteran cannot access the services he or she requires through statutory channels, this structure can be accessed. Statutory bodies include the Health Service, the Housing Executive and education ministries as well as the respective service charities and other parts of the 3rd sector.

The bespoke structure is based upon the Veterans' Support Office NI that links individuals both to the NI Veterans' Support Committee and, where necessary, government departments and health trusts across NI. The Support Office, including staff from the Department of Communities, sponsors veterans’ champions in each of the eleven local authorities who will take up individual cases raised locally (see below). It also produces a handbook that gives details of all major service charities within NI and their roles. The bespoke structure is facilitated by the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association NI (RFCA NI) which holds the appointed Cobseo function for NI. It is emphasised that this structure complements rather than replaces statutory bodies and the charitable sector and is only used when the former cannot be accessed. The above structure has been put in place to address any anomaly that might prevent the AFC from being delivered as effectively in NI as elsewhere.

Veterans' Support Office NI

The Veterans' Support Office NI is facilitated by RFCA NI to provide the link between individual veterans, the veterans' charities and organisations who are represented on the Northern Ireland Veterans' Support Committee (see below), Local Authority Veterans' Champions and statutory bodies. This office provides the Cobseo function in NI. (The national Cobseo website is:  www.cobseo.org.uk. The latest version of the NI Veterans' Handbook can be found at the link below:

Northern Ireland Veterans' Support Committee (NIVSC)

A committee has been established in Northern Ireland which brings together the many different organisations and charities that provide support for veterans, including Veterans UK.  Its aim is to improve cooperation between all service deliverers involved in supporting veterans and to facilitate better coordination of effort when interacting both for individuals and for groups. The Committee is facilitated by the Veterans' Support Office NI (see above). If you are a charitable organisation in Northern Ireland and would like to get involved with the committee, contact the Veterans' Support Office NI on 028 95 219817.

The Terms of Reference (ToRs), which list those organisations that sit on the Committee for the NIVSC can be found here.

Local Authority Veterans' Champions

Each of the 11 local authorities in Northern Ireland is represented on the RFCA NI membership and, following an announcement in Parliament in October 2014, these representatives were also formally appointed as the Local Authorities' Veterans' Champions.  They act as a point of contact for anyone within their area who has any issues regarding veterans and will consult with the NIVSC, via the Veterans' Support Office NI, to provide advice and assistance. The case of any veteran who approaches their Veterans' Champion will be taken up and seen through by that Champion until resolution.

If you wish to contact your Veterans' Champion, their details are:

Local Authority

Councillor

Email Address

Antrim and Newtownabbey

Councillor Paul Michael (Antrim)

paul[DOT]michael[AT]antrimandnewtownabbey[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Ards and North Down

Alderman Bill Keery

bill[DOT]keery[AT]ardsandnorthdown[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Armagh, banbridge and Craigavon

Alderman Robert Smith

Robert[DOT]Smith[AT]armaghbanbridgecraigavon[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Belfast City

Councillor Aileen Graham

aileen[DOT]graham[AT]belfastcity[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Causeway Coast and Glens

Alderman Sharon McKillop

Sharon[DOT]McKillop[AT]causewaycoastandglens[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Causeway Coast and Glens

Councillor Knight-McQuillan

michelle[DOT]knight-mcquillan[AT]causewaycoastandglens[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Derry and Strabane

Alderman Graham Warke

graham[DOT]warke[AT]derrystrabane[DOT]com

Fermanagh and Omagh

Councillor Alex Baird

alex[DOT]baird[AT]fermanaghomagh[DOT]com

Lisburn and Castlereagh

Alderman James Tinsley

james[DOT]tinsley[AT]lisburncastlereagh[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Mid and East Antrim

Alderman John Carson

ald[DOT]carson[AT]midandeastantrim[DOT]gov[DOT]uk

Mid Ulster

Councillor Wills Robinson

wills[DOT]robinson[AT]midulstercouncil[DOT]org

Newry, Mourne and Down

Councillor Andrew McMurray

andrew[DOT]mcmurray[AT]nmandd[DOT]org



Veterans Gateway

Further information about support available to veterans can be found at the Veterans Gateway:
www.veteransgateway.org.uk

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