I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year for 2022 and take this opportunity to highlight some opportunities that are being developed for you in 2022. While the last few years have been challenging for everyone, there have been huge strides forward to improve and develop veteran services in Northern Ireland. This has included both the creation of this office to represent and advocate for veterans, and also the uplift in staffing of the Northern Ireland Veteran Support Office. What this has meant is an increase in collaborative working among the statutory and third sector, recognition of veterans as a community in Northern Ireland and enabling veterans to access the support they need. This has been achieved through active engagement with veterans from all corners of Northern Ireland and in some instances in the south.
Service charities and Regimental Associations do amazing work often quietly in the back ground without fuss, however one of the comments I frequently hear is that a lot of veterans are not aware of the services and support that are available to them. This is something that I want to change, and with the help of the whole veteran services community I aim to reach out, collaborate and do our best for veterans living in Northern Ireland in 2022.
As such we are conducting a number or Veteran Information Roadshows throughout Northern Ireland in 2022 where you will be able to join us and our veteran service partners for an afternoon of information stands, presentations and of course a social cuppa and bite to eat! The first is due to take place in Cookstown on 25 January 2022, Antrim 8 February 22, Portadown 24 March 22 and Coleraine 26 March 22. Should you require any further information, please contact our office or that of the Veteran Support Office for more details.
Likewise to further information available to veterans, the Northern Ireland Veteran Support Office have released their first edition of The NI Veterans Newsletter which gives updates on what has been going on within the veteran community. This new electronic newsletter will be published on a quarterly basis and will bring you updates on services, achievements and opportunities. For ease I have included a link for the first edition below.
2022 is a year of opportunity, togetherness and making sure that we not only look after our veterans of all generations today, but we are putting in place a cohesive system that continues to support our veterans both now and in the future. I would encourage and welcome the opportunity to meet with even more veterans in 2022, therefore if your association or group would appreciate a visit or appreciate representation at an event please contact my office and we will endeavour to make it happen.
I will continue to advocate a strong voice for veterans in Northern Ireland and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2022.