A package of support for the Armed Forces Community in Wales was launched by the Welsh Government last week.
There are estimated to be at least a quarter-of-a-million members of the Armed Forces Community in Wales, including serving personnel, reservists, cadets and all their families as well as ex-Service personnel.
The Welsh Government’s package of support sets out commitments to the Welsh Armed Forces Community on devolved matters. These include ongoing as well as new commitments and range from healthcare and housing to education and childcare.
The support package is a living document and will be revised as and when new initiatives are agreed.
The document complements, and should be read in conjunction with, the UK Armed Forces Covenant.
Measures in the Welsh support package include:
- providing an Armed Forces advocate to represent Wales within the network of Armed Forces advocates in government departments and the devolved administrations
- holding biannual meetings of an expert group on the needs of the Welsh Armed Forces Community
- ensuring the Armed Forces Community is given information on services and support it is entitled to
- helping improve the ability of Service personnel who live in Wales to vote
- providing access and support for veterans with mental health issues through the All Wales Veterans Health and Wellbeing Service
- undertaking a veterans specialist healthcare needs assessment
- establishing champions for veterans and Armed Forces in every Local Health Board and NHS Trust in Wales.
Other measures in the package are aimed at improving healthcare, education, childcare and housing for Service personnel and veterans and their families, as well as gaining employment after service.
The Minister with responsibility for the Armed Forces in Wales, Carl Sargeant, announced the range of measures at the Royal British Legion Club in Llanrumney, where he met with local veterans. He said:
The Welsh Government is committed to increasing the support we provide to the Armed Forces Community in Wales. This document sets out how we are supporting the Armed Forces in Wales, their families and veterans in key areas that are devolved such as healthcare, housing and education.
In Wales there are estimated to be at least a quarter-of-a-million members of the Armed Forces Community, which includes serving personnel, reservists and cadets as well as their families and ex-Service personnel. As a government we want to ensure that they suffer no disadvantage.
I hope the support outlined in this document, which will be revised as and when new initiatives are agreed, will go a long way in achieving this.