Poll results: Accessing support online
At the end of last year, I asked Scotland’s veterans community to spare a couple of minutes to take part in a poll on my website.
I wanted to learn more about how members of the veterans community find support online – whether that is accessing online information and resources, or researching support that they can access in person.
I asked the following question with a range of potential answers:
As a member of the veterans community living in Scotland, including spouses, partners, children of veterans and the bereaved, where would you go to get advice or support online? (Tick all that apply)
- Search engine (e.g. Google)
- Your local council website
- Your local Health Board
- NHS Inform
- Veterans Gateway website
- Veterans Scotland website
- Veterans Assist
- Scottish Government website
- Office for Veterans Affairs website
- Military charity website
- Non-military charity website
- Social media – Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter) etc
- I would not look for advice or support online
The poll was live on my website for just over three weeks, and there were 325 responses.
The most popular way to find advice or support online was using a search engine, with 51% of those who took part including it in their answer. While this can be the easiest way to find relevant information, it also indicates that veterans may be initially unaware of the types of support available and how to find it.
The second most popular answer was through a military charity, with 36% selecting this option, while 26% said they turned to the Veterans Scotland website. This highlights the vital role that the third sector plays in supporting the veterans community.
26% said they would use social media to find support, showing the impact that sharing details of support, services and resources on these platforms could have.
22% said they would use Veterans Gateway, which aims to be a first-point of contact for veterans and their families and is currently going through a refresh process having been taken in house by the Office for Veterans Affairs, while 13% said they would visit Veterans Assist, which aims to bring all of the information and support that the veterans community in Scotland may need into one place.
When it came to using statutory organisations to access support online, 19% said they would use the Office for Veterans Affairs, 13% said they would visit their local council website, 12% said they would visit NHS Inform, 7% said they would look to the Scottish Government, and 5% said they would find online information provided by their local NHS Health Board.
Only 4% of respondents said they would seek support from a non-military charity online, even though organisations such as Age Scotland and See Me offer veteran-specific support. This emphasises the preference and high level of trust in military charities. It also reinforces the case for collaborative working between military and non-military charities to raise awareness of support and resources.
There is a wealth of advice and information available for veterans and their families, however, they need to be able to find it in order to make the most of it. I hope that these results will help me explore how we can improve the veterans community’s access to relevant, timely, and effective support, and how support organisations and charities can reach as many people as possible with their services. Thank you to everyone who responded, your engagement is very much appreciated.