Barrie Griffiths knows exactly why he volunteered to make a difference for veterans – as a former RAF serviceman, seeing some struggle to adapt to civilian life was a big motivator.
He linked up with one of the 13 regions of the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee, which is now seeking volunteers across almost all the country, to do his bit to help those who have given so much.
Barrie, part of the Eastern VAPC, said: “It was seeing them struggle that motivated me to become a member. The work is rewarding and gives me the opportunity to engage with the local community, elected councillors and government officials helping to improve access to services and the lives of our veterans. It is my way of repaying and saying thank you.”
Barrie’s selfless work is mirrored nationally, with volunteers acting as the independent eyes and ears on the ground on veterans’ matters for the VAPC, a non-departmental public body. Among many other things, they help to raise awareness of the War Disablement Pension Scheme and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
Other volunteers include Jeff Spencer of the South West VAPC, who attended the first two outings of a mobile outreach vehicle as part of a project. He said: “I was appointed to the VAPC in 2017. In truth, I’d never heard of it. To those who think it’s all about pensions, it’s not.”
Barry Smith of the East Midlands VAPC said: “We've worked hard to raise awareness of the VAPC, engaging with regional AFC partnership boards. The VAPC is a trusted partner alongside representatives from local authorities, the third sector and NHS in the development and monitoring of regional AFC delivery.
“We've supported breakfast club events engaging with veterans and their families, assisting with their issues and concerns.”
The London VAPC organised a veterans’ housing workshop involving 13 local authorities and representatives from the MOD, charities and third sector organisations. Former chairman Lynn Verity said: “We hope the workshop will lead to a coalition of the willing. Housing is a complex, emotive subject, especially when linked with a special group like veterans. After today, agreement may emerge on what is best practice throughout the UK.”
Elsewhere, the Yorkshire and Humber VAPC helped organise the North East Armed Forces Day, when 150,000 people saw Challenger tank and Typhoon aircraft, family entertainment displays and a firework finale.
All the VAPC regions except North West are now recruiting for new members, with five also seeking new chairmen. If you would like to get involved in this worthwhile cause, see the public appointments website via the following links. Appointments are made by Minister for Defence People and Veterans (MinDPV). But act quickly, as the closing date for applications is October 13.