Responding to the covid-19 pandemic has been Defence’s highest strategic priority, and as part of the national response thousands of service personnel and veterans have been active in every region of the United Kingdom and devolved Administrations.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. I think the nation has been inspired by the actions of one veteran during this pandemic, and that, of course, is Captain Sir Tom Moore, but veterans from all of our services have got so much to offer—skills in a wide variety of areas, involvement in many community groups and an approach to getting things done—so how is my hon. Friend ensuring that veterans are kept safe while they provide their invaluable support?
As I mentioned earlier, during this period I have been acutely aware of how our needs for our veterans have changed or moved along during the pandemic. We have rolled out a series of services—the veterans trauma network; the transition, intervention and liaison service; and the complex treatment service. We are working towards that place where we can build a panoply of services so that all of our veterans are looked after in this country, in line with the Prime Minister’s intent.
Veterans across my constituency have been supporting one another, whether by calling in on those they have mental health concerns about or raising money, as the Wantage branch of the RAF Association did in raising £6,000 for Operation Connect. Will my hon. Friend join me in thanking them, and does he agree with me that this shows that, even when our service personnel stop their active service, they continue to serve us in our local communities?
I of course pay tribute to the RAF Association in my hon. Friend’s constituency for raising £6,000. Veterans, like many community and voluntary groups across the country, have really stepped up during this time to deliver services, deliver medicines and help vulnerable people. It is something that I certainly have been enormously proud of, and it reflects the true values and ethos of our veterans community in this country.