Dr Hugh Milroy OBE, B.Th., MA, Ph.D. DCL (h.c.)
Hugh Milroy is the Chief Executive of Veterans Aid (VA), the UK’s leading frontline charity for veterans who are homeless, in crisis or socially excluded. Hugh has been involved with homelessness among ex-servicemen and women since 1995. His MA looked at the effect of military service on military personnel/families in general while his Ph.D. was conducted among street homeless Veterans: Both degrees focused on the impact of military service on the lives of service personnel and their families with the Ph.D. exploring the issues of success and failure/homelessness post-service. His Ph.D. is officially lodged in the Library of Parliament in Canada.
Hugh has been CEO of Veterans Aid since 2005 and under his guidance the charity has become the national ‘Accident & Emergency Unit’ for the veteran community with a distinct and effective prevention ethos. The modus operandi of focusing on holistic well-being and sustainable futures, rather than constantly redefining personal history, has dramatically lowered the rate of recidivism among clients and prevents many from becoming entrenched in homelessness/social exclusion. Hugh successfully conducted a high-profile international campaign for changes to the immigration rules regarding Foreign & Commonwealth service personnel and their families in the British Armed Forces and in June 2011 was awarded the OBE for his contribution to the well-being of Veterans.
There is growing acknowledgement both nationally and internationally that his successful “welfare to well-being” model is one that that can have societal impact well beyond the veteran community and Hugh has advised on veteran-related matters in Australia, the United States of America, Canada, Israel, Belgium, Taiwan and Denmark. In 2018n London Mayor Sadiq Khan visited the charity’s residence in 2018 and described it as “inspirational”. Hugh has many diverse links relating to veteran well-being ranging from practitioners working with veterans to academics in the field from around the world. In 2009, he was published as part of a major international academic work on the subject of Pathways of Human Development (* See Chapter 18: From Welfare to Wellbeing: Turning Things around Among Homeless Veterans). Between 2010-13, he was a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies, King’s College, London and in January 2016 his paper Stolen trauma: why some veterans elaborate their psychological experience of military service, co-authored with Professor Edgar Jones, was published. In 2016 he became an Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of East Anglia’s prestigious School of Social Work, his own alma mater. That year, he was also made a Doctor of Civil Law (honoris causa) by the University of East Anglia.
Hugh is regularly approached for advice by journalists, politicians, academics, students and members of the veterans’ community – particularly regarding status/social exclusion issues concerning ex-service personnel in 21st Century Britain. Over the years he has spoken to a range of diverse audiences and is a Visiting Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine within the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, & Neuroscience, King’s College, London.
Hugh was a military advisor to the Howard League for Penal Reform inquiry into the numbers and reasons for Veterans being in prison. In November 2010, he completed a speaking tour of Canada to academics, politicians and military personnel on handling Veterans in crisis. (This was sponsored by the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, of the Canadian Government.) Between 2011-2019, he was appointed as an advisor to the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, Canada. Between, January 2012-September 2013, Hugh was a Director of the new £35m Forces in Mind Trust. He was a member of the small Parliamentary Inquiry Team lead by Stephen Phillips QC looking at solutions to reduce offending/re-offending among Veterans and in September 2015 was included in The Evening Standard Progress 1000 list of London’s most influential people. He has appeared in the UK Parliament as an expert witness on the issue of Stolen Valour and in 2018 addressed students at the Oxford University’s Said Business School on the subject of veterans’ issues.
In the final part of his 17-year Royal Air Force career, Hugh was the senior welfare and community specialist. In this capacity he did much innovative work in introducing community well-being as part of the Force approach to personnel effectiveness. This is still being used today by the RN and RAF with the community support websites he created receiving multi-million visits. He has frequently worked in tri-Service environments including a long deployment with the British Army to the Gulf War (1991). In February 2020, he was awarded the National Defense Service Medal of Taiwan, inin recognition of commitment to improving mutual understanding of veterans’ affairs.
2019 - Getting Sorted Out in East London: Vulnerability and Resilience of Homeless Ex-Servicemen.
European Journal of Homelessness: Volume 13.1 – 2019. Co-author:
2017 – present: Various online articles/interviews on the Parliamentary online magazine, Politics
2016 - Appeared as expert witness before the House of Commons Defence Select Committee:
2016 - Co-authored paper with Professor Edgar Jones, Institute of Psychiatry, Stolen Trauma: Why
some veterans elaborate their psychological experience of military service.
2015 - Mancini, J.A., & Milroy, W.H. Resilience and vulnerability among military families. 34th
International Congress on Law and Mental Health. Vienna, Austria. Joint presenter.
2014 - Stephen Phillips QC, MP: Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System
- A Review on behalf of the Secretary of State for Justice Stephen Phillips QC MP 5 November 2014.
Member of Advisory Board.
2013 - Milroy, W.H., & Mancini, J.A. From welfare to wellbeing: Turning things around among homeless
men. International Congress on Law and Mental Health, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Joint
2010 - Mancini, J.A., & Milroy, W.H. Vulnerability and resilience: Social, emotional, and physical health
among homeless men. 6th International Conference on Social Work in Health and Mental
Health, Dublin, Ireland. Joint presenter.
2009 - Published chapter in Pathways of human development. Explorations of change. (pp327 -346)Eds., J.A. Mancini & K.A. Roberto. Lexington Books, Maryland, USA. “Welfare to Wellbeing: Turningthings around for homeless veterans.” C:\Users\whm\Documents\Milroy_2009_ From Welfare toWell-Being.pdf
2009 – A military advisor to the Howard League for Penal Reform inquiry into the numbers and reasons for
Veterans being in prison.
2001 – Pathways to the streets for -ex-service personnel: An examination of various routes to
homelessness of ex-service personnel. (UEA) – PhD Dissertation.
Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):