Hannah Blythyn, Deputy Minister for Social Partnership
The UK Government has today announced the appointment of Colonel James Phillips as the Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales.
As an ex-Serving member of the British Army, living in Pembrokeshire, and recently returned to civilian life, his experience and understanding of the issues facing veterans and their families, and the devolved nature of our services in Wales will be of benefit and add value to the support already provided for veterans and their families who need it.
I look forward to meeting the new Veterans’ Commissioner. It will also provide an opportunity for us to discuss the support the Welsh Government provides for veterans in Wales and our plans for the future.
The Welsh Government remains firmly committed to providing services and support to meet the needs of the Armed Forces community, including our veterans. We continue to make headway on a number of initiatives that have provided practical, targeted support to our veterans and their families. These include;
- In 2021-22 the Welsh Government increased the funding for Veterans NHS Wales to £920k per annum.
- £200,000 per annum grant funding to support service children and funding of the SSCE Cymru project, which co-ordinates research and compiles evidence on the experiences of service children in education to ensure their needs are supported and understood.
- £50,000 funding from the Welsh Government for specialist support for amputee veterans, to ensure training for prosthetists in Wales in new technologies to enable veterans to receive the technological support they require.
- The delivery of a veterans’ employment event in November 2021 in partnership with the Ministry of Defence and the Careers Transition Partnership. Four veterans were offered employment on the day with a further 10 in the process of being offered employment.
- The Welsh Government, in partnership with the Scottish Government and Business in the Community, published the Capitalising on Military Family Talent Toolkit highlighting to employers how they can recruit and retain military family members.
- The Welsh Government has provided £120,000 for specialist interventions to tackle loneliness and social isolation amongst the Armed Forces community.
- In 2021, the Welsh Government worked with 160th (Welsh) Brigade Wales, Careers Transition Partnership to produce and publish the first Wales Resettlement Guide to bring together helpful information and signposting of the support available in Wales.
- The Welsh Government continues to fund £275k per annum for the Armed Forces Liaison Officer (AFLO) posts across Wales. The AFLOs provide much needed one-to-one services and support for veterans and their families, and raise awareness of issues facing the Armed Forces community across public, private and charity sectors in Wales.
Moving forward, we will work collaboratively with the UK Government’s Veterans’ Commissioner for Wales and other key partners to ensure we continue to build on good practice, and the significant progress made to date, to ensure our veterans and their families receive the support they need and so richly deserve.