While many Veterans manage the transition back to civilian life seamlessly, some can find it very challenging. Many veterans return home with physical injuries, or carrying mental scars following what they experienced while serving abroad.
Some people have become used to living a military life with lots of routine, and to having lots of other people around them, and find it hard to adjust to a more uncertain, unpredictable lifestyle, or to spending more time alone.
And veterans also face the challenge of having to find a 'normal' job and of being able to pay for life's essentials.
Freephone contact centre telephone number: 0808 802 1212
Veterans’ Gateway is the first point of contact for veterans or their families who need support. Veterans Gateway put veterans and their families in touch with the organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need. From healthcare and housing, to employability, finances, personal relationships and more.
Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of Armed Forces charities including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland and Combat Stress. A group of referral partners also back the service, allowing Veterans’ Gateway to refer people to specialist organisations both within and outside of the Armed Forces sector.
How does Veterans' Gateway work?
The team of advisors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and many are veterans themselves. They can be contacted by calling the freephone number, by text or email. Veterans’ Gateway also has an extensive Self Help service, allowing veterans to search for help and advice independently.
The UK Armed Forces Veteran ID Card
The Ministry of Defence will be launching a new Veterans ID card which will enable public and charitable sector services to instantly recognise the service of a Veteran. This card will provide proof that a Veterans has served in HM Armed Forces in line with the Government definition of a Veteran, which is one day’s service.
Currently, there is no way for existing Veterans to easily prove the fact that they have served, and the administrative burden on providers when verifying that a person is a Veteran can be considerable, both in time and cost. This card will allow you to confidentially verify that someone has served in the Armed Forces.
However, this card will not be held by all Veterans as it is being rolled out in tranches and some genuine Veterans in need may not have the capacity to apply for one.
Therefore, please do not take the absence of a Veterans ID card as proof that a person is not a Veteran. Instead continue to use your existing processes to verify their Veteran status.
If you are asked questions about the ID card, please refer Veterans to the Veterans UK helpline number and they will be able to provide the relevant information, details below.
Telephone: 0808 1914 218
Website – www.veterans-uk.info
Veterans' Support Directory
Abberton Rural Training
Supporting the Wounded and Injured Service Personnel through the Colchester Personnel Recovery Centre. Providing 1 day introductory Woodland and Land Courses, and 5 day intensive Land Based Studies Programme.
Website: UK Rural Skills
Tel: 01787 228269
ABF The Soldiers Charity
ABF The Soldiers Charity aims to help army and former army personnel and their families in need.
Age Concern, Colchester
We are Age Concern Colchester (formerly Age UK Colchester) and we are here to help the older generation of Colchester Borough live their lives better. Need help, advice, companionship?
Alabare: Homes for Veterans
Charity provide temporary accommodation to British Armed Forces Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. 24 homes across England and Wales, providing 110 bed spaces.
Tel: 01722 322882
Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs
Breakfast clubs exist to facilitate veterans, and often serving Armed Forces personnel, meeting face to face in a relaxed, safe, social environment. They operate across the country including in Colchester, Braintree and Tendring.
Website: Armed Forces Breakfast Club
Army Families Federation
The Army Families Federation (AFF) is the independent voice of Army families and works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world - on any aspect that is affected by the Army lifestyle.
Army Welfare Service
Army Welfare Service helps serving married and single personnel and families with any personal or family difficulties that arise, by providing a confidential, comprehensive welfare service.
Website: Armed Welfare Service
Big White Wall
Online mental wellbeing support 24/7. Safe, anonymous and has Wall Guides (counsellors) available 24/7. Free to serving personnel, veterans and their families.
Tel: 0207 060 1677
BLESMA (The Limbless Veterans)
BLESMA help all wounded servicemen and women who have lost limbs, the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support.
Tel: 0208 590 1124
Blind Veterans UK
Blind Veterans UK helps vision impaired Armed Forces and National Service veterans to relearn vital life skills and provides them with the tools they need to be independent in their own homes. They offer new learning, training and recreation opportunities and provide long-term nursing, residential and respite care.
Tel: 0800 389 7979.
Career Transition Partnership
The CTP provides resettlement services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Marines. Regardless of time served, all members of the Armed Forces can benefit from CTP support when leaving Service.
Chelsea Pensions supports ex-service personnel over 65.
Provide guidance and advice on a whole range of issues.
The Royal British Legion’s employability programme for the Service community in civilian life.
Tel: 0800 009 8015
Colchester Institute - Building Heroes
Vocational college have launched Building Heroes which provides skills training to Military Veterans and support into employment in the building trades.
Colchester Mind support for those who are stressed, depressed or in crisis.
Combat Stress is a charity specialising in the mental well-being of ex-service personnel.
24 hour helpline: 0800 138 1619
Defence Discount Service
Defence Discount Service allows members of the armed forces, their families and veterans to make savings both online and on the high street.
Eastern VAPC (Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee)
Formerly known as the War Pensions Committees - advise and liaise with veterans, their families and relevant organisations on their needs, issues and concerns. VAPC act as advocates and provide governance to the veterans’ community, and champion the rights of veterans and their families where there is injustice, inequality or a lack of fairness.
Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme
Promotes lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces.
Forces Families Jobs (FFJ)
Forces Families Jobs is the go-to place for training and employment for family members of currently serving UK military personnel.
Apply for jobs and access employment and training opportunities with companies and organisations who are forces family friendly. You can use this website with confidence in knowing that employers have signed the Armed Forces Covenant or are able to demonstrate their commitment to the Armed Forces.
This is your gateway to accessing information about acquiring new skills, upgrading your existing skills or applying directly to employers who are understanding of the unique challenges that come with being a family member of a serving person.
Housing provider for ex-Service personnel in the UK, owns over 1500 properties across 50 locations. Endeavour to help any veterans in housing need, whether they are transitioning into civilian life or are simply in need of a helping hand.
Tel: 0208 685 5777
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes is a national network of support for those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, they give them the support they need to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives. See also Band of Sisters / Band of Brothers.
Help for Heroes – Hidden Wounds
Open to Veterans and their families, and the families of those who are serving. Psychological wellbeing service.
Tel: 0808 2020144
Head Start: Walking with the Wounded
Offers ex service personnel access to quality and effective treatments for mild to moderate mental health conditions. Referrals can be made through your GP.
Tel: 1263 863906
Hire A Hero
Supports Service Leavers and Veterans to make the successful transition into civilian life, by working with them to help make the right choices through the transition period.
Jobcentre Plus Armed Forces Services
Support for current and former members of the armed forces and their families to access Jobcentre Plus services.
Contact: For Essex the Jobcentre Plus Armed Forces Champion is Neil Turner firstname.lastname@example.org
Charity providing affordable supported rental accommodation with onsite support to veterans of all ages and their partners. Accommodation in Newcastle and Liverpool, provides a base from which residents can successful make the transition to civilian life. Accepts veterans with complex issues which can be resolved over a max of 2 years.
Tel: 0300 1111 238
Leavers Link - Colchester
Voluntary, free to all networking events between Service Leaver and Veteran community, and local Employers.
Events held: 3rd Tuesday of the month, 6.30 pm, the Colchester Officers’ Club, Colchester, CO2 7EZ.
Email: John Vickers email@example.com
Tel: 07974 245161
NHS Veterans Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TIL)
NHS TIL Service is a new service for armed forces personnel approaching discharge as well as for veterans. The service will help to recognise some of the early signs associated with mental health difficulties and will provide access to a number of interventions, therapeutic treatments for complex problems and psychological trauma and prevent patient reaching crisis point.
Tel: 0300 323 0137
The Officers' Association offers regular and one-off financial help and advice to all ex-officers and their dependents in distress at home.
Outside the Wire
Offer innovative, comprehensive support - sensitive to the complexities of military life and the often understandable resistance to admitting the extent of any personal issues, especially those relating to: PTSD and other mental health; alcohol and drug use; domestic violence and family related issues.
Tel: 01603 626123
Parachute Regimental Association
Association formed to organise activities so members continue their associations formed during their service with the Regiment and Airborne Forces. The PRA is able to provide welfare support and advice to those in need or distress.
Building veteran communities and creating a natural peer support environment where our core support services are delivered directly to those who need additional help. We are receiving many referrals from mainstream charities for veterans and their families to join our veteran community.
Telephone: 01206 932488
Project Nova engages with ex-military veterans who have become involved with or are on the periphery of entering the Criminal Justice System, with the aim to divert them away from offending or reoffending.
Guide to support to find out about funding, help with job hunting, or general support with everyday challenges of settling back into civilian life. From education options whilst serving, to resettlement and beyond.
RAF Families Federation
Provides all RAF personnel and their families with timely and professional support, assistance and an independent voice regarding issues or concerns they may have.
Tel: 01780 781650
Provide confidential, professional and fair services to members of the wider RAF family from the youngest recruit to the oldest veteran and their families.
Tel: 0800 0182 361
Recruit for Spouses
Help for military spouses to get into work or start their own business
RFEA - The Forces Employment Agency
The Regular Forces Employment Agency helps men and women leaving the armed forces to find employment throughout their working lives.
A self-help support network for adult family members of physically or emotionally injured Service Personnel and Veterans.
Royal Air Force Families Federation
The RAF Families Federation provides all RAF personnel and their families - Regular and Reserve, single or married - with timely and professional support, assistance and an independent voice regarding issues or concerns that they may have.
Royal British Legion
Royal British Legion supports the Armed Forces Community and those affected by disability, health conditions or social welfare needs. Help includes the provision of welfare, healthcare, housing, employment and development opportunities.
Tel: 0808 802 8080
Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI)
RBLI is a national charity supporting the Armed Forces, people with disabilities and people who are unemployed. We improve lives every day by inspiring those we help and supporting them to find work and lead independent lives.
Royal British Legions Veterans Hearing Fund (VHF)
Veterans Hearing Support assist ex-service men and women who have hearing loss or associated difficulties such as tinnitus to access the Royal British Legions Veterans Hearing Fund. The application process is free and is not means tested. Our service to veterans is free of charge and we have a network of highly trained audiologists right across the UK who will complete a full hearing assessment on eligible veterans to make sure they receive the correct hearing technology and assistive listening devices, or therapies required.
Tel: 0333 455 9116
Royal Hospital Chelsea
The residents of the Royal Hospital, known the world over as Chelsea Pensioners, have all served as ordinary soldiers in the Armed Forces at some point in their lives, and now, in their later years, find a warm welcome amidst the camaraderie and banter of their fellow veterans.
Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity
Support to sailors, marines and their families, for life.
Tel: 0239 387 1520
SEAP Military Advocacy Services
SEAPS Military Advocacy Services supports veterans, reservists and their families, who find themselves facing a range of health, housing, financial, family and social problems.
Website: Advocay Services
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen & Families Association (SSAFA)
SSAFA is the UK's oldest armed forces charity. They provide practical help and assistance to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served - even if it was only for a single day.
Tel: 0800 731 4880
Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex Services (SPACES), is a housing advice and placement service for veterans. SPACES targets the most vulnerable of Service leavers, regardless of rank, length of service, or reason for discharge.
Tel: 01748 833797 / 872940 / 830191
STOLL provides rehabilitative support to vulnerable and disabled ex-service men and women. The support offered includes provision of accommodation, employment training, benefits advice, a drop-in centre, and other social activities and groups.
The Not Forgotten Association
The Not Forgotten Association aims to provide leisure and recreation for serving and ex-service personnel who are wounded or have sustained permanent injuries.
Tom Harrison House
Specialist facility providing an addiction recovery programme exclusively to military veterans, reservists, serving personnel and their families. 12 week programme – supported accommodation for the programme duration in a dedicated recovery house.
Tel: 0151 909 8481
Transport for London
Veterans can get a free London Transport Oyster card.
In general terms all the charity’s activities revolve around helping ex-servicemen and women in crisis. Specifically it deals with all the factors that contribute to crisis – significantly those leading to homelessness.
Tel: Freephone 0800 012 6867
24 hour, 7 days a week helpline for veterans and their families
Freephone: 0808 802 1212
Veterans Support Group
Arranged by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity - Held in the Pegasus Club, Colchester, every third Wednesday of the month, between 10.00 am -12.30 pm.
Whenever you're unsure who to contact for advice on a particular topic, given the number of organisations that offer help to ex-service personnel and their families, Veterans UK is a good place to start.
Tel: 0808 1914 218.
Walking with the Wounded
Walking with the Wounded supports a pathway for vulnerable veterans to re-integrate back into society and sustain their independence. At the heart of this journey is employment.
Supports business start-up, learning, funding mentoring and ongoing support for military community.