Listen Here: Veterans Outreach Support on ExpressFM Portsmouth

We’re very pleased to share a recent interview ExpressFM did with Veterans Outreach Support CEO Ian Millen here in Portsmouth. You can listen to the full interview in the video below.



Ian had the opportunity to tell ExpressFM listeners about what VOS does, and how it’s grown from a group of four motivated founders with connections to the Falklands Conflict of 1982 to a charity that’s served more than 2,500 registered users since its establishment in 2008. In his words:

“We provide welfare, wellbeing and mental health support to veterans, partners and spouses, and carers, and it’s a pretty vibrant place to be.”

RELATED: Jim & Sally’s Story: A ‘New Lease on Life’ at Veterans Outreach Support

Ian (a Royal Navy and Falklands veteran himself) also discussed how he first got involved with Veterans Outreach Support:

“It was my wife that spotted the opportunity, and said ‘hey there’s a charity in Portsmouth that’s connected to the Falklands that you might be interested in.’ And she was right,” he shares. “It really is a dream job. It is a real privilege to be able to do my bit now, along with the great team around us, to help veterans.”

Serving Local Veterans from All Service Backgrounds

Ian explained how many of VOS’ service users, volunteers, trustees and staff members have experience from the Falklands, but stressed that our charitable work extends far beyond that particular conflict.

“We’re there for all veterans, we’re there for veterans of all conflicts, but we’re also there for veterans who’ve never been in a conflict,” he says. “You don’t choose where you go once you’re in the Forces, but you all sign that blank check to your government that says they can do, and send you, where they need to. Anybody that’s served in the Armed Forces for a day is a veteran and they are more than welcome at VOS. You don’t need to have a medal pinned to your chest.”

This attitude is echoed at each of our social gatherings and Drop-Ins where every veteran of the Armed Forces and/or Merchant Navy is given a warm welcome.

One service user recently told us about how much this meant to them via a Facebook review of VOS:

“Amazing organisation!! Spent a few hours here yesterday and they’ve been so so helpful. The meaningful words from the veteran who helped me yesterday- ‘If you hadn’t of gotten injured, would you have stayed in the army and gone on tour?’ (Me: yes) ‘Well then you are, and will always be a veteran. You signed that dotted line and took your Oath. Welcome to the club.'”

Ian also reminded listeners that Veterans Outreach Support doesn’t only address needs that originate from a person’s time in the Forces or Merchant Navy. For example, we don’t just offer mental health support to those who have PTSD or other mental health conditions from active service- if there is anything troubling you, from loneliness and social isolation to past childhood trauma to welfare issues completely unrelated to military service, VOS is here to listen and to help. VOS support is not limited to specific episodes of service life.

Addressing Current Issues for the Veteran Community

Between musical interludes of ‘Sailing’ by Rod Stewart and ‘Eternal Flame’ by The Bangles, Ian had the chance to touch on some important issues. He discussed the value of VOS’ ‘whole person approach’ to support in these complex times, wherein many people can need multiple strands of support at the same time.

“The demand for welfare support is increasing all the time,” Ian shares, referencing the cost of living crisis exacerbating some welfare issues among local veterans. “Having the ability to deal with them in that one-stop shop way, we don’t need to give you a telephone number or a website to go follow, we can deal with all of the aspects of need there and then, or certainly in the course of time that they’re going to spend with us.”

RELATED: Cost of Living Veteran Support Resources in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, and Surrounding Areas

Another key issue of the moment is the impact of new data (and a government apology) released regarding the military’s historic LGBT Ban. Ian’s interview concludes with mentions of how Veterans Outreach Support aims to help LGBT+ veterans at this time:

“We’ve always been inclusive at VOS, we’ve always had members of the LGBT community in our midst, but we’re going to be (along with a lot of other people now) making additional efforts to help people that come forward with things like getting their medals that will have been denied, simple things like getting the veterans badge or helping them apply for pensions that they will have been denied, compensation, all those kind of things…to anybody that finds themselves in that position, please know that we are there to help that community as well, and it couldn’t be more important than this week, after this historic apology has taken place.”

For more on Veterans Outreach Support’s resources for LGBT+ veterans, visit this blog:

READ NEXT: Welcome Home – Additional Support for LGBT+ Veterans Following Independent Review

As a charity that operates within and for its community, it couldn’t be more important to find ways of reaching those we serve. ExpressFM, have helped the voice of VOS reach those that will never read a blog like this or learn of us from social media, so we couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to tell local listeners about how we can support them.

Thank you to Chris Pearce and ExpressFM for featuring Ian as a ‘Profile Guest,’ and thanks to everyone who tuned in! Feel free to share this blog to help us continue spreading the word about VOS, so that those in need are even more likely to find us.

If you yourself are a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner, spouse, or carer to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email

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