New scheme will help veterans readjust to life on civvy street

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Veterans are to get a new £2 million support service to help them transition from military to civilian life.

The Veterans' Gateway initiative, backed by the Ministry of Defence, will provide a 24 hour advice service to help with issues such as finance, housing and health.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said: "The vast majority of our people make a smooth transition from military to civilian life, but the Veterans' Gateway provides extra support in the form of a staffed, 24-hour, one-stop-shop offering guidance on housing and employment, finance, mental and physical health.

"Our £2 million investment honours the nation's Armed Forces Covenant and draws all facets of support for our armed forces community together for the first time."

The scheme is being launched after a 2014 report by Lord Ashcroft called for the support system for veterans to be simplified.

Royal British Legion director general Charles Byrne said: "Every charity only exists to help, but Lord Ashcroft revealed the uncomfortable truth that a proliferation of providers in our sector can cause confusion about where to turn.

"The consortium's research found that the armed forces community, overwhelmingly, supports the Veterans' Gateway, with 83% welcoming the creation of a first point of contact.

"Veterans' Gateway will make it easier for them to get the support they need, from whoever is best able to provide it.

"No matter how complex their needs, working together we can do more."