The Department continues to improve the support offered to our Service personnel, their families and veterans through engagement with statutory providers and the charitable sector with a view to ensuring none are disadvantaged through service in or living in Northern Ireland (NI). The recent launch of the Veterans' Gateway is a positive example of developing this collaborative approach. In addition, the bespoke Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish Aftercare Service provides support to those personnel referred through the regional Personnel Recovery Unit within 38 (Irish) Brigade.
Any veteran whose needs are not met by statutory bodies or the charitable sector is looked after by a Veterans' Support Office (VSO), linked to each of the veterans champions established in every local authority. There is an intention to provide additional resources to strengthen the VSOs and improve NI's capacity to identify projects that could draw from the Covenant Fund.
A further update on our initiatives in NI will be published in the next Covenant Annual Report to Parliament in December 2017.