Veterans legal support project receives funding boost

Dr Ola Olusanya, Reader in the Department of Law and Criminology and Founder and Principal Investigator (Director) of the Veterans Legal Link project.

Dr Ola Olusanya, Reader in the Department of Law and Criminology and Founder and Principal Investigator (Director) of the Veterans Legal Link project.

02 October 2023

An Aberystwyth University project providing free legal support for veterans has been awarded further funding of nearly half a million pounds (£499,885) to spend over three years, from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Based in the Department of Law and Criminology, Veterans Legal Link was established in 2015.  The project offers legal support, advice, signposting and specialist referrals to armed forces veterans and their families.

Dr Ola Olusanya from the Department of Law and Criminology, who leads the project, said:

“I am delighted that the Veterans Legal Link project has received a further three years of funding from the National Lottery, which will increase our capacity to support veterans and their families.

“This first of its kind project is having a significant impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Over recent years, we have seen an increase in demand for legal advice, especially in areas of criminal law, family and children, employment and general civil litigation. The majority of beneficiaries has a medley of complex needs including mental health support, housing and relationship breakdown, and many do not qualify for legal aid to help them with their legal issues. 

“We are currently researching the impact that being able to access legal services has on veterans’ psychological well-being. We aim to publish these findings in 2024.”

Earlier this year, the project launched Auxilium, a bespoke online platform which brings clients and practitioners together in one space, allowing easy communication and referrals between partner organisations, services and charities. The software portal, which was co-designed with service users, has reduced costs and inefficiencies, and created a more holistic, versatile and tailored service for veterans and their families.

Rob Roffe, Head of Mid and West Wales region at The National Lottery Community Fund in Wales said:

“Congratulations to Aberystwyth University who successfully applied for a grant of nearly half a million to support Veterans living in Wales for the next three years.  Grants are made possible thanks to players of the National Lottery, who raise over £30 million each week for good causes like Veterans Legal Link.  Over three years, the group will offer free legal advice, specialist signposting, casework and advocacy to help improve the lives of veterans in Wales.” 

Veterans Legal Link works with 40 partner organisations across Wales and the UK, including the Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes, Veterans NHS Wales, Alabaré Christian Care & Support, Woody’s Lodge, The Salvation Army, and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).

In 2020, the project received a grant of £498,392 from the National Lottery Community Fund.  It previously received £45,800 from the Royal British Legion in 2019, and in 2016 was awarded £20,000 by the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Covenant Fund and £5,000 by the National Lottery Awards For All Wales.