A strong voice for NI Veterans

Review of 2022, a look back.

NIVCO Team (left to right) Rachael Harger (Comms & Policy Support), NI Veterans Commissioner Danny Kinahan and Alan Murphy (Head & Strategic Lead)

This year has been an extremely busy period for the NI Veterans Commissioner’s Office. Throughout the course of the year, the office has attended some 330 engagements and events across Northern Ireland as well as the other regions of the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

The Commissioner, has been keen to develop and build upon the use of trusted and effective relationships that help in the delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant, as well as reaching out into the veteran community, to provide veterans’ and their families with the necessary information about where they can access help and support when it is needed. 

The office has undertaken to host seven Veteran Information Roadshows this year, covering each county in Northern Ireland and Belfast. These Roadshows have been met with a very positive response from the veteran community with over thirty support organisations and charities in attendance at each event, thus enabling good working relationships to develop and networks to be established. Above all, these events have provided veterans with information and linkages into a variety of organisations and charities that can provide that much needed support. We have another four outreach events already planned for Spring 2023.

Further, health (both mental and physical) support is probably the key issue that veterans’ raise with our office. As such, work is continuing to progress support for veterans around mental and physical health and to ensure that funding for service charities is sustainable and that it targets the right needs, at the right time. In order to assist in this important area, our office launched a veterans’ health questionnaire that opened in November and will close at the end of January 2023, with the objective of obtaining accurate and detailed information on veterans’ healthcare needs across Northern Ireland.

At the opening of Harbour House, a new bespoke veterans’ centre in Portavogie

There is much more to be achieved as we move into 2023, but as Commissioner, I am determined to use my position to press and influence our political representatives, statutory agencies and others to ensure they fulfil their responsibilities and that veterans and their families living in Northern Ireland receive the same support and help as veterans living in other parts of the United Kingdom.

NIVCO team at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust project launch of the Veterans Places, Pathways & People Programme in June

Below are just a selection of pictures from some of the events and work that our office has been involved in over the last 12 months.

January 2022

A captive audience as veterans attended the first Veterans Information Roadshow
so see what support is available to them as a community, Cookstown
Passing over the medicine ball challenge to raise awareness of the burden of poor mental health
to Andy Harney, coordinator of British Veterans Fitness

February 2022

Engaging with veterans who are involved in South & East Tyrone Welfare Support group, Moygashel
The Commissioner engaging with a SSAFA representative at our Antrim Roadshow

March 2022

Lobbying the Royal British Legion in London
At the official launch of ‘You matter’ veterans suicide prevention programme

April 2022

Our Head of Office at the official unveiling of The Ulster Defence Regiment CGC memorial in Larne
RAF receiving the Freedom of the Borough event in Limavady.

May 2022

Engaging with veterans taking part in the On Course Charity golf induction course at Galgorm Castle Golf Club
NIVCO Veteran Information Roadshow in Newtownards with the then Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty MP

June 2022

Attending the Falklands War 40th Anniversary Commemoration at the National Arboretum
Engaging with veterans at Armed Forces Day, Banbridge

July 2022

Paying respects at Belfast City Hall for the 106th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme
At the launch of the AAVSNI Tower 2 Tower charity bike ride launch, Newtownards

August 2022

With David Richmond, Veterans Adviser to the Cabinet Office and representatives from Ashes to Gold, Coleraine
The Commissioner had the honour to attend the official unveiling of a statue to Robert Hill Hanna VC in Kilkeel 

September 2022

Joined Veterans’ Minister, Johnny Mercer MP, on visit to AAVSNI, Belfast
Paying our respects at Hillsborough Castle after the passing of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after 70 glorious years as Monarch.

October 2022

With the Lord Mayors of Belfast City Council and Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council at our seventh Veteran Information Roadshow held in Belfast
Presenting the Role Model of the Year award to Ryan Gray of K9 Search & Rescue at NI’s first Veterans Awards, Belfast

November 2022

With GCSE students from Cullybackey College at our ‘We Will Remember’ Op Banner exhibition
The Commissioner had the privilege of attending the Royal British Legion, Festival of Remembrance, at the Royal Albert Hall, London

December 2022

Head of Office at the launch of Veteran Life: untold stories of the people behind the uniform’ free exhibition in the Lisburn Museum
Engaging with veterans’ in Ballymena
A strong voice for NI Veterans