Mobile phone app launched to help support veterans

Veterans App Credit: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

A new mobile phone app, developed by Northumbria University's Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research and the US tech firm RippleNami, Inc, has been launched to help support veterans across the UK.

The Veterans’ Gateway, a 24-hour service for veterans’ support, has been funded by the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces Covenant TrustFund.

The first of its kind in the UK, the Veterans’ Gateway app provides a comprehensive interactive digital directory of all services available for almost three million veterans across the country.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

The interactive app provides veterans with the locations of local hospitals, substance abuse clinics and details of how to access education, financial assistance, employment support, housing and shelters.

It includes a recently added layer of support for those facing new challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers say the app has been designed to draw anonymised geolocation data on what users are searching for, to help to identify particular issues that may be faced within different regions. This data will be used as evidence to show government where funding needs to be invested to improve services for veterans.

Veterans App Credit: ITV News

The new app builds on the success of the Veterans’ Gateway online directory, which groups together all NHS facilities and over 2,000 charitable organisations across the country, allowing veterans and their families to access local support as and when it is needed.

Since being set up in 2017, Veterans’ Gateway has received over 47,000 calls and has signposted ex-forces personnel and their families to the wide range of support available to them.

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Sgt Tom Ripley Credit: Family photo

Sergeant Tom Ripley served for the Royal Irish Regiment between 1977 and 2004, completing several tours of duty, including the Gulf War in Iraq and Kosovo.

Now living at Catterick Garrison and working as a welfare officer, helping other veterans, he told ITV News Tyne Tees this app will help a lot of veterans who have experienced issues like PTSD.