Veterans Outreach Support (VOS) has announced a significant milestone in its commitment to Isle of Wight veterans with the launch of the 'Vectis Veterans' initiative.
Vectis Veterans marks an expansion of VOS’ existing services on the Isle of Wight, made possible through a generous grant awarded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s (AFCFT) Reaching and Supporting Armed Forces Communities (RSAFC) Programme.
This grant bolsters VOS’ ability to deliver meaningful, person-centred support to veterans living on the IOW by furthering the reach and scope of its current welfare, well-being, and clinical mental health support services.
The £100,000 grant will fund the charity’s on-island team over a period of three years, alongside other funding directly from VOS.
VOS is an award-winning charity that has supported veterans in Portsmouth since 2008, officially establishing its presence on the Island of Wight in 2018.
It has witnessed remarkable success on both the island and the mainland through the provision of wellbeing activities, resource drop-ins, social meet-ups, and invaluable clinical mental health and welfare services.
Through monthly drop-in services in Newport, weekly social meet-ups throughout the IOW, and a diverse array of activities designed to improve veteran wellbeing and mental health, the Vectis Veterans initiative seeks to further uplift IOW veterans and combat social isolation issues prevalent across the island.
The project will also continue to connect VOS service users with all the charity’s services, as well as with other partners in the third and statutory sectors.
"While shared challenges exist between mainland and island veterans, the Isle of Wight presents distinct hurdles owing to its significant concentration of veteran residents, many of whom choose the island for retirement," remarked a VOS spokesperson.
"This makes some communities on the island hard to reach and necessitates a dynamic presence to provide support to deserving beneficiaries, especially those facing later-life needs."
Veterans Outreach Support Isle of Wight is open to all Isle of Wight residents who have served in the UK Armed Forces or Merchant Navy, as well as their spouses, partners, and carers.
"As demand for support surges on the Isle of Wight, the Vectis Veterans project becomes pivotal in catering to the escalating numbers of VOS service users," stated a representative from VOS.
"This initiative not only reaffirms our commitment to serving the veteran community but also addresses critical gaps in delivering direct, comprehensive support encompassing welfare, wellbeing, and clinical aspects on the island."
Those interested in joining the VOS community may contact Veterans Outreach Support at 02392 731 767, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit a Drop-In on the third Wednesday of every month from 1200 to 1600 in the Riverside Centre (Community Action IOW).
The next drop-in takes place on Wednesday December 20.