An introduction to Fighting With Pride (FWP), one of VOS’s partners within the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme
Veterans Outreach Support is proud to be the grant holder for the South-East region Portfolio of the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme, working with our partners to provide activities, services and support to local veterans. To showcase the excellent support and mental health resources for veterans that these organisations offer, we’re giving you a deeper insight into what they do and shining a spotlight on the hardworking people who run them. Today we’re going to introduce you to Fighting With Pride, and we’ve invited them to share some detail about who they are and what they do.
Fighting With Pride – Flying the Flag for LGBT+ Veterans, Serving Personnel and Families
FWP has been busy since its inception, enabling work to achieve 4 key goals:
Influencing Policy (Reparations): FWP is working cross bench and with a wide range of Veterans and LGBT+ charities to enable reparations for individuals who lost their careers because they are LGBT+ or were perceived to be LGBT+. This work is not simply about pensions and compensation and there is a strong focus upon measures to restore dignity and honour to those who were shamed. In the summer of 2021 they made a compelling case through the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill for a formal review of what happened to LGBT+ Veterans and what must be done. In January 2022 the Government announced the LGBT Veterans Independent Review and FWP are working closely with Lord Etherton QC Kt and his team to map out a better future for those who’s lives have been affected by the ban.
Capacity Building: FWP has Veterans Community Workers (VCWs) across the UK who are working with a wide range of Veterans organisations and LGBT+ organisations to support them to offer a warm welcome to LGBT+ veterans. FWP has pre launched its enabling scheme called the ‘Pride in Veterans Standard’ (PiVS), which is a simple self-assessment toolkit for organisations to use for review their organisations.
Community Building (Veterans stepping forward): Our VCWs are working in veteran and LGBT+ communities, helping to identify LGBT+ veterans who need support, bringing them into the FWP community and signposting them to services that can help. LGBT+ veterans are known to have a high incidence of mental health issues as a result of their service in the Armed Forces and FWP are working with Help For Heroes, Walking with the Wounded, Combat Stress and NHS Operation Courage.
Research (Evidence base): With the support of the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund and NHS England, FWP has a research programme at the Northern Hub for Veterans and Families Research which is helping provide the evidence base needed to shape existing mental health services and create new services relevant to this unique group of veterans.
FWP fulfils many functions: it is a campaigner for vulnerable veterans, it is a friend and confidant of organisations that support veterans and a commissioner of research to help guide service development. Perhaps its most important role, though, is to be an enabler of community development amongst a group of veterans who were deliberately removed from the Armed Forces community. FWP is highly skilled in outreach in LGBT+ communities and is bringing together those affected by the ban, befriending, networking and enabling mutual support. In their growing communities which stretch across the UK they are enabling pride in service and the celebration of careers where only shame has been felt. Through their networks they create opportunities for veterans to share their experiences with those who truly understand the impact of the ban. FWP is here for all those affected by the ban, including those who were involved in the implementation and administration of the ban.
Veterans Community Worker – South East
With the support of the VOS Partnership in Mind PPP, FWP has create a role for a Veterans Community Worker in the South East. FWP’s VCW covers the length and breadth of the South East Region and contact details are provided on the FWP website.
Regional and National Events Programme
FWP has a full programme of events, which are advertised in their monthly newsletters.
- Activity Breaks – FWP runs a wide range of day and short break activities which include trips to Snowdonia and even a coach trip to the WW1 battlefields. FWP short breaks are either fully funded or offered at low cost.
- Festival of Remembrance/National Service of Remembrance – FWP hosts an annual trip to the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall and we march with all other veterans in the National Service of Remembrance each year, paying our solemn respects to all those that we have lost.
- Online ’Town Hall’ meetings – FWP holds regular catch-ups using Zoom! With LGBT+ veterans, serving personnel and families online. Some of these events are specific, some of them provide an opportunity to become aware of a wide range of fun and interesting FWP opportunities.
- Online and in person short courses – FWP offers a range of online consultations and updates about the LGBT Veterans Independent Review, including writing and craft workshops, photography workshops and befriending events.
- Pride – Regionally and Nationally – FWP love community events and we take make a colourful appearance at the National Pride events in Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff and London and at many other smaller events around the UK. Keep an eye on our newsletters for details.
Veterans Outreach Support is grateful to Fighting With Pride for providing this insight into their organisation, and we are proud to work with them to provide support to LGBT+ veterans, serving members of the British Armed Forces and their families.
If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.