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Operation Sterling

Working in partnership with Fighting With Pride, Age UK's Advice Line is delivering the Operation Sterling programme, working to help older LGBT+ veterans, service personnel and their families in a range of areas.

What is Operation Sterling?

Working in partnership with Fighting With Pride, Age UK is delivering the Operation Sterling programme to help older LGBT+ veterans, service personnel and their families. 

The Operation Sterling programme will provide telephone-based support, advice and casework to older LGBT+ veterans through Age UK's Advice Line. The existing expertise of Age UK's Advice Line advisors together with the knowledge that Fighting With Pride has about how best to support the wellbeing of LGBT+ veterans means that Operation Sterling can support older LGBT+ veterans in a number of different ways.

There's a focus on helping older LGBT+ veterans access financial support – from working out what support they might be eligible for to helping them get started on the claims process. But Age UK's advisors are also able to provide further support, like advising older LGBT+ veterans on housing options and social care. 

How to access support from Operation Sterling

If you're an LGBT+ veteran who's served in the Armed Forces and would like to access Operation Sterling's specialised support, you just need to visit the Fighting With Pride website to start the referral process. 

Begin the referral process on the Fighting With Pride website

LGBT veterans: Apply for government restorative measures

The LGBT Veterans reparations webpage has now opened for registration of interest, for anyone impacted by ‘the ban’.

Find out more about restorative measures for LGBT veterans on GOV.UK

If you want to apply and register your interest in the restorative measures, you can fill out the application form.

Fill out the application form on LimeSurvey

If you want to register for reparations on behalf of a deceased veteran, you can do so by filling out the following application form. The form enables you to apply or register your interest for restorative measures on behalf of a deceased veteran who was impacted by the policy prohibiting LGBT Personnel serving in the Armed Forces between 1967 and 2000.

Fill out the application form on LimeSurvey on behalf of someone else

As well as applying to the government reparations scheme, you're still able to receive Operation Sterling benefit checks through our partnership with Fighting With Pride. We really encourage you to do both.

Find out more about Operation Sterling benefit checks

Why is Operation Sterling being delivered?

Fighting With Pride and Age UK are delivering Operation Sterling to help older LGBT+ veterans, who were adversely affected by the ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces.

Before 12 January 2000, there was a ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces – those who did sign up were forced to hide their identity. Because of the ban, thousands of LGBT+ service personnel were removed or forced to leave service and abandoned. For some, this meant not only losing their jobs, but also friends and family, as well as access to pensions that they'd earned while serving the country. 

Fighting With Pride and Age UK are delivering Operation Sterling to specifically help these older LGBT+ veterans, with a focus on helping them access financial support. 

Who is Fighting With Pride?

Fighting With Pride (FWP) is an LGBT+ military charity that was founded in 2020, on the 20th anniversary of the ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces. FWP works to support the health and wellbeing of LGBT+ veterans, service personnel and their families – particularly those affected by the ban. 

Fighting with Pride march 2022.jpg

Fighting with Pride logo.jpg

FWP works with a wide range of organisations to ensure that their LGBT+ veterans are received warmly wherever they go for help. 

Get in touch with Fighting With Pride on their website

More information that might be helpful

If you're LGBT+ but you're not a veteran, you might find our LGBT+ information guide helpful. The guide has information to help you navigate different areas of later life as an LGBT+ person – from legal issues and end-of-life planning to getting help at home and finding the right care for you. 

LGBT+ information guide (PDF, 3.2 MB)

If you're not an LGBT+ veteran but you're looking for information and advice on the different types of financial support available and what you might be entitled to, then you might find our Benefits and entitlements webpages helpful. 

Find out more about benefits and entitlements

Fighting With Pride and Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research published research into the ongoing impact of the ban on LGBT+ veterans. The research report is called 'Lost and Found: The LGBT+ Veteran Community and the Impacts of the Gay Ban'. 

Find out more about the research report on the Fighting With Pride website

Paul Farmer, CEO, statement on the Government's apology to LGBT+ military personnel (19.07.23)

On the 19 July 2023, the Government issued a formal apology for the ban on LGBT+ military service.

Paul Farmer, CEO at Age UK said: “Today we celebrate the courage of all those who brought this injustice to light and bravely shared their personal testimonies. The Government’s apology is an important step in addressing the devastation caused and we welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to providing long overdue justice and restitution to the older people affected by this.

“At Age UK we recently announced our partnership with the military charity, Fighting With Pride, to deliver a new project, Operation Sterling, to support older LGBT+ veterans. The initiative, generously funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, will allow us to use our specialist skills to provide extensive support and advice, on issues such as finances and benefit entitlement, housing, health and care, to those affected through the Charity’s national Advice Line.

“We urge anyone who has been impacted to get in touch today."

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Age UK are currently working towards the Pride in Veteran Standard.

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 120 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Apr 08 2024

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