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Gosport Armed Forces Community

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Gosport Borough Council is very proud to be recognised as a Forces Friendly Employer and to receive the Gold Award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in 2020. 


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Armed Forces Week 2024- 24-29 June 

Preparation are underway to mark the start of National Armed Forces Week in Gosport. The raising of the Armed Forces Day flag will again take place at 10am in Falklands Gardens on Monday, 24 June with the Mayor of Gosport, representatives from HMS Sultan and the Institute of Naval Medicine and other guests attending. Members of the community are welcome to attend.

Organisations offering services and opportunities to the armed forces community  are invited once again to take part in the  Armed Forces High Street Hub, a  "market-style" information event  to be held at the Ferry end of Gosport High Street on Monday, 24 June, from 9:30 am to 2 pm.  The event last year  received positive feedback from members of the armed forces community and wider public who attended the Hub. Non-commerical organisations interested in taking part are welcome to email for more information.

HM Armed Forces Veteran Card

An Armed Forces Veteran Card is a way to proved service in the UK Armed Forces. The card can make it quicker and easier to apply for support  as a veteran and access perks specifically for   veterans. It's free to apply. 

Veterans who have left the service since 2019 should have received a card when they left. Those that left service before 2019 can apply for a card online or by post. It usually takes about 8 weeks for the card to arrive. Currently a veteran must have a UK address in order to apply for a card. Those that live abroad will be able to apply later in the year.

A veteran must have served in the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force or Royal Marines. Vererans that have served in other units may be eligible, but it has to be the UK Armed Forces and not service in another armed forces. Veterans can check their eligibility on the Government website.

There are a range of perks and benefits to having a Veteran Card and it is a quick way to prove Uk Armed Forces service. Many charities and government services  that have tailored programmes  and supports for veterans need to see prove of service to determine eligibility.

Details on how to apply. eligibility and ways to use the HM Armed Forces Veteran Card can be on the Government website.

New Armed Forces Covenant Duty Helps Ensure Fair Treatment

The Armed Forces Act 2021 created a legal obligation on relevant bodies, when exercising relevant statutory functions in the areas of healthcare, education and housing, to have due regard to the three principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. This is the new Armed Forces Covenant Duty and it take legal effect from 22 November. These principles are:

1.   recognising the unique obligations of, and sacrifices made by, the armed forces; 

2.   the principle that it is desirable to remove disadvantages arising for Service people from membership, or former membership, of the armed forces; and,

3.   the principle that special provision for Service people may be justified by the effects on such people of membership, or former membership, of the armed forces. 

This means that the development and delivery of services within health, housing and education must be mindful of the unique circumstances and needs of the Armed Forces community so as not to create disadvantage in accessing them.

Gosport has the highest level, at 12.5%, of veterans among its population of all local authorities in England and Wales, according to Census 2021 data just released, and the population of serving personnel remains among the highest across Hampshire and the South East. The Council recognises that a large number of its staff and Elected Members are also members of the local armed forces community.

The new Duty highlights that service life affects members of the armed forces community in different ways, whether through frequent house moves, separation from loved ones and support networks or unfamiliarity with aspects of civilian life- all of which can lead to difficulties in accessing public goods and services. The Duty does not mean members of the Armed Forces community jump to the front of the queue for services, but that their unique circumstances will receive a fairer assessment when their cases are considered.

As a District Council, Housing Services are directly in the scope of the new Duty, but the Council will continue working to ensure all staff across its range of services are aware of these principles and how their policies and practices could have an impact on serving personnel, veterans and their families. Staff are aware that members of the armed forces community may not always identify themselves or their special circumstances so it can be very relevant at times to ask if there is any armed forces connection. This enables staff to either assist better directly or signpost customers to the most relevant service or organisation that can help.

Council Supports the Armed Forces Community 

Gosport Borough Council recognises the contribution and sacrifice made by members of the armed forces community and the unique skills and attributes they bring to our workplace. We are proud to have signed the Gosport Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2012 with our local military and voluntary and community sector partners. We were equally proud to reaffirm our commitment as a forces friendly employer and organisation in 2020 by signing a refreshed pledge to the Armed Forces Covenant in celebration of Armed Forces Week.  

The Armed Forces Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community. It is intended to complement the national Armed Forces Covenant, which outlines the moral obligation between the Nation, the Government and the Armed Forces, at the local level. Read the Council's Armed Forces Covenant GBC Armed Forces Covenant 2020 (PDF) [193KB]

The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership 

Gosport, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton councils have come together to adopt a partnership approach to delivering the Covenant within the Solent region of the wider county of Hampshire. The aim of this partnership is to:

  • raise awareness among serving personnel, reservists and veterans of the support they can receive from local authorities;
  • provide a broader understanding of the needs of the local veteran population as well as serving personnel during transition to civilian life;
  • evaluate the impact of these initiatives. 

The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership Board has represented Gosport, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight councils since 2017. This Board provides strategic governance for local delivery of the Covenant alongside the Hampshire Civil Military Partnership Board and the Isle of Wight Civil Military Partnership.

We estimate that 90,000 adults and children are part of the Solent Armed Forces community. The Solent Armed Forces Covenant Partnership have worked together to understand the needs of this community and produced a refreshed needs assessment in 2023.   Solent Armed Forces Community Needs Assessment (PDF) [2MB] .

This info graphic provides some headline information from the needs assessment.  Solent Armed Forces Community Infographic (PDF) [69KB]

 The Covenant focuses on helping members of the Armed Forces Community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen. This support is provided in a number of areas including: 

SSAFA- The Armed Forces Charity

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is a trusted source of support for serving personnel, veterans and their families in their time of need. Its teams of trained volunteers and employees provide practical, emotional and financial assistance to the Armed Forces community enabling them to thrive. In 2022 it helped more than 59,000 people nationally, including veterans, serving personnel (regulars and reserves) and their families.

Local Office Contact details:

2 Shackleton Road, Gosport PO13 9SG

Office staffed 10:00 - 12:00 Thursday Morning

02392523401 (Answerphone) or

Veterans Outreach Service (VOS) Drop In Service 

VOS provides a range of services for veterans and their partners of the UK Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy in Portsmouth, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. VOS can help with:

• Welfare advice - call the VOS office 0900-1700 Monday to Friday for advice on your situation and they can help you access a range of services.

• Wellbeing services - they run several peer-supported groups each week in various locations in person or online for you to take part in activities, lectures or days out with other veterans or just to have a brew and a banter.

• Telephone befriending service - a weekly chat with a VOS volunteer.

• Mental Health services - call the VOS office if you have a concern about your own or another's mental health. They can provide a triage service by phone and if necessary, further mental health assessment and treatment services.

• Substance Misuse support - VOS has its own Substance Misuse Recovery worker that can support you and your partner with any concerns.

• Monthly Drop-Ins - currently in Portsmouth and Newport, IOW. All of their services are available in one place on Drop-In day with no appointment necessary.

Contact the VOS Office to find out more.

Email: Tel: 023 92 731767
Royal Maritime Club, Queen Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3HS

FirstLight Trust Hub in Gosport 

The FirstLight Trust Hub, 68 High St, Gosport,  supports veterans of the armed forces and emergency services for support and activities. 

Contact Sam Fry for support and MoneyWatch  on 07881232597 or

Contact Riah Bunce on 07388954967 or for activities: Tuesday- allotment 10am- 12.30pm, Model club 1-3 pm; Wednesday -coffee and chat 10am-Noon and 2pm- 4pm . Every 3rd Wednesday a walk at 1pm, Virtual Cookery class 3- 4.30pm; Thursday Cycle Club 10am-Noon; Monthly Quiz the last Thursday for every month 6.30-l 7.45pm


Mental Wellbeing Courses online for Veterans, Military Serving Personnel and Families

SRC at the University of Portsmouth offers a range of courses available via Zoom for members of the armed forces community in Gosport. You must be registered before taking any course. For more information or to register, contact SRC on 07971 348 555 Monday -Friday or  


Social housing to be prioritised for veterans

The government has set out how councils should ensure members of the Armed Forces and veterans who need support with their mental health, because of conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are given the priority for social housing they deserve.

New measures also mean former spouses or civil partners of serving personnel will be given extra support when applying for social housing. They will be exempted from rules requiring them to be a local resident before being given social housing in the area to ensure they are not disadvantaged when applying.

For more information contact the or ring 023 9254 5476

The Council is working with our partners and members of the Armed Forces Community to develop a local Covenant offer which complements and builds on the National Covenant Pledges. If you want to find out more about this work or have a question about local delivery of the Covenant, please email  

The Armed Forces Community in Gosport

Below are some interesting facts about the Armed Forces Community in Gosport:

  • 12.5% of Gosport's population are veterans, the highest proportion among local authorities in England and Wales, according to the Census 2021.
  • Gosport has 6,942 households where at least one person was a veteran according to the Census 2021.
  • Gosport has five military sites where approximately 1,800 serving personnel are based.
  • Gosport is home to five cadet units.
  • 1,384 members of the Royal Navy have registered a home address in Gosport.
  • There are a further 807 service accommodations across eight sites in Gosport with a capacity to hold a total of 2,324 people.
  • 4,771 veterans have registered Gosport as their home address for the purposes of forces pension and or compensation payments in 2020.
  • As of January 2019, there were 1,172 service pupils in Gosport, approximately 10.8% of the total school-aged population in the Borough.

The Veterans Gateway

The Veterans Gateway, launched in 2017, can put veterans and their families in touch with the organisations best places to help with the information, advice and support they need, from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more. Information about local services is available on the gateway website and will be regularly updated. Find out more on Veterans Gateway website.

Adjusting to Life Outside Resource Available Online

An e-learning resource to support service leavers, veterans and their families going through the adjustment process of living outside of the Armed Forces is now available on the Armed Forces Covenant website.

The package addresses the issues that are commonly experienced in the lead up to, and after leaving the Armed Forces, including acquiring accommodation, employment, finances, health, as well as personal, family and social adjustment.

Mesothelioma and Veterans

In the past the armed forces relied heavily on asbestos in many settings, buildings, vehicles, aircraft, and especially ships. The low cost and availability, as well as its ability to fireproof and resist heat, made asbestos an ideal material for many uses.

As a result of this, veterans now suffer from mesothelioma at higher rates than most other demographic groups. Nearly a third of mesothelioma cases diagnosed are in military veterans. Since mesothelioma spreads rapidly and because it takes decades to develop symptoms, most veterans get a late stage diagnoses. provides veterans with updated information on the latest treatment, 24/7 online support, financial aid, and much more.

Mesothelioma Hope provides free educational resources, support, and information to anyone that may have questions about asbestos-related diseases.

Show Your Support

Gosport Borough Council proudly supports the Armed Forces Community as a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant. The Armed Forces Community can contribute real value to a business or organisation, both as employees, who bring a wealth of skills and experience, and as customers. We invite local businesses and organisations to join us. 

If you are a business or an organisation, you can find out you can show your support here.

Perks for the Armed Forces Community

The Defence Discount Service is the only official Ministry of Defence discount service for the armed forces, veterans and defence community. There are loads of online discounts available free and for a small fee you can also get a Defence Privilege Card, good for five years, which entitles you to a discount when presented in a wide range of High Street shops. Find out more here

Tickets for Troops is a charity whose aim is to to provide those who serve in HM's Armed Forces, those medically discharged post 2001 and the next of kin of those who have passed as a result of their service, with the opportunity to attend a variety of sporting, musical and cultural events with their friends and family when they are off work. The charity provides free tickets, though some restrictions apply. Find out more here

Forces Discount Offers is a UK based website offering discounts and deals to Forces personnel, Veterans and Cadet Forces. Find out more here.


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