07 August 2020 (Edition - Issue 37)

UK Government Cyber Skills Research


The UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is carrying out research looking at cyber skills in the UK labour market. The research is being carried out on their behalf by Ipsos MORI. A very small number of Scottish charities may be contacted to take part in this study.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told us:

‘Cyber Skills in the UK Labour Market is a random probability survey looking at the UK cyber security labour market, carried out on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The research explores the nature and extent of cyber security skills gaps (people lacking appropriate skills) and skills shortages (a lack of people available to work in cyber security job roles). It is a mixed method study, with 1,550 organisations interviewed (including 200 charities) via telephone, with a further 20 qualitative interviews with participants that aim to get more depth on topics covered in the survey. Fieldwork takes place from July to October 2020, with the aim to publish findings in Spring 2021. Previous research findings and reports can be found here.’

If you are contacted about the research and wish to know more you can call Darragh McHenry on 020 3059 4715 or email

OSCR Surveys


The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) regularly commissions surveys on Scottish charities to give is further knowledge of charity life and public trust and confidence.

The latest survey took place in 2018 and you can find the results, together with the results of previous surveys, in the Scottish Charity Survey section below.

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, OSCR commissioned a survey to find out the impact of COVID-19 on charities. You can find the results of this in the COVID-19 impact on charities survey section below.

COVID-19 impact on charities survey

General Support
Veterans Assist Scotland - looks to signpost and connect the Veterans' Community including their families, with the organisations and services best placed to help with information, advice and support that they may need from across Scotland.

It also include details of Armed Forces and Veterans Champions from across Scotland.


Veterans Scotland Information Booklet

The updated copy of the information booklet (June 2020) is available via the link here

The Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Update

Cyber Resilience Notice COVID-19

ISSUE: 30.07.20

As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams, over the next few months, the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit will share important information. We aim to update the Bulletin on a regular basis and ask that you consider circulating the information to your networks, adapting it where you see fit. Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources.

Transition Support 

The guide was developed as a collaborative effort between Veterans Scotland, Skills Development Scotland and Army HQ Scotland.  Its aim is to provide information to those currently serving in the Armed Forces, Service Leavers and their families who are thinking of settling in Scotland. The Scottish Government aims to make Scotland the destination of choice for service leavers and their families and a great quality of life is certainly here for the taking.

Employment & Training Support

Update from Skills Development Scotland

The following is an update on how Skills Development Scotland’s Career Information Advice and Guidance services are evolving to continue meeting the changing needs of our customers using the channels available to us.

Partners continue to be central to the success of our service delivery, ensuring that individuals can get the right support, at the right time and from the right person or organisation to allow them to progress and succeed.

You may have noticed that last week we launched a campaign to make customers aware of our enhanced online content at My World of Work and helpline services on 0800 917 8000. These enhanced services are complemented by a fun new career education programme that young people can undertake at home.

We would hugely value your support in helping us promote these services and to that end I will be back in touch later this week with a partner toolkit.

In the meantime, I am keen to provide an up to date breakdown on the CIAG services that SDS is providing at this critical time.

All audiences

Skills Development Scotland has launched a range of services to support those whose education, job or future choices have been affected by the pandemic. Call the Helpline on 0800 917 8000 or visit for more information.


The career support available for Armed Forces veterans and their families

At Veterans Scotland, we were delighted to see the Skills Development Scotland video clip, copied below, which describes the support available to all members of the Armed Forces Community, serving, reservists, veterans, spouses, partners and their children. The services and advice provided by SDS is available wherever you are in Scotland and they will assist you to develop your employment prospects. We feel that the work being done by SDS is a good example of how a statutory organisation can support our Armed Forces Community and ensure the Armed Forces Covenant continues to be delivered across Scotland. Congratulations to SDS for producing the video, which enhances and mutually supports the services already available to those in transition, veterans and families.

Leaving the Armed Forces is a big life change. Hear from Shaun on his experience and how we support veterans and their families in Scotland with those important career decisions. 
Funding & Financial Support

Introducing two new programmes supporting the Armed Forces community...


The Armed Forces Covenant Fund:
Force for Change programme

We're excited to introduce a new, local grants programme awarding one-year grants of up to £20,000 for projects that seek to promote social inclusion and support Forces communities to become less isolated.

This year, we have an additional focus on tackling the impact of Covid-19, helping Forces communities move to the 'new normal' and supporting volunteers to carry out local projects.

Full programme details on our website.
Tell me more

The Tackling Loneliness programme

This new, large grant programme will award two-year fixed grants of £70,000 to projects that seek to tackle loneliness and isolation within Armed Forces communities.

We'd particularly like projects to work with groups within the Forces community who are traditionally harder to reach and tend not to engage in services and provision available to them.

A list of these groups, and further information about the priorities of this new programme are available on our website.
Tell me more

Funding dates for your diary...

The Trust currently has three funding programmes supporting the Armed Forces community. 

Full details of all our programmes are available on our website.
Tell me more

Pandemic Grants from the Veterans’ Foundation

The Veterans Foundation has awarded grants of about £0.5M in Apr, several grants to deal with pandemic-induced issues.  The VF has retained money for additional pandemic-induced costs to help individuals and charities during the lockdown; these bids will be dealt with quickly out-of-committee.  Non-pandemic bids, in other words routine bids, should be submitted by the end of May for the next grant-giving meeting in mid-June.  

Organisations should apply through the VF website here:  .  

The maximum value of grants is £30K, which can be spread over 1-3 years.
Health & Wellbeing

Veterans 1st Point

(V1P) Lothian have developed a Resilience guide to help navigate this difficult time. COVID-19 has affected all of us and returning to work or dealing with other worries may be overwhelming. This guide can help you to manage your worry, anxiety and mood to improve resilience and wellbeing. As they say, it's natural to struggle when times are uncertain, so remember to offer care and compassion to yourself, and to those around you. Routine – structure to your day is important. Exercise – helps both our bodies and minds. Sleep – get enough, set wake up and going to bed times. Interaction - is important, perhaps by helping others. Loved ones – stay connected, find new ways Independence – protect some time for you. Eat well – try new recipes, eat fresh and healthy. New goals – for now and the future. Compassion – be kind to yourself and others. Enjoyment – make time for pleasure distance between your family – the possibilities are endless.

If you have ever served in HM Armed Forces in any capacity for any length of time, they offer free advice and support, whatever your needs may be.
Housing Support

A Scottish Housing Guide for people leaving the Armed Forces & Ex-service personnel

An updated copy of the Scottish Governments "A Scottish housing guide for people leaving the Armed Forces & ex-Service personnel" has now been published.  

Housing in Scotland Guide

Poppyscotland have recently produced an information guide for their Housing in Scotland booklet.

Membership News and Other Updates

Former soldier and amputee set to take on 100km cycling challenge to help his injured comrades

Former The Royal Lancers Lance Corporal Jonny Holloway, 27, from Bedford, only took up cycling during UK lockdown.

Now he is set to get on his bike this Friday (7 August) and cycle his furthest distance yet in aid of military charity Blesma, The Limbless Veterans.

“I thought cycling was going to be a lockdown whim, but I’ve finally found my sport post-injury,” said Jonny, who lost his left leg below the knee and sight in his right eye after injuries sustained from an improvised explosive devise blast while serving in Afghanistan in March 2014. 
“Cycling gives me freedom, I’m not in pain and it almost makes me feel able-bodied again. It allows me to escape from reality for a bit, take in the countryside around me and go anywhere.”

After several cycling falls, some broken pedals and a DIY repair job that resulted in a hospital trip and eight stitches, Blesma stepped into fund Jonny some new pedals and cycling shoes. 
“Without Blesma, I would not be where I am today, both mentally and physically with every issue or interest I have had. They’ve helped with housing adaptations, sporting endeavours and in terms of welfare, my Blesma Support Officer is brilliant. Blesma is one of the most important charities out there for injured veterans like me. So, not only is the cycling challenge going to push me and give me a goal, but it’s a thank you to Blesma as they have done so much for me.”

Friday’s challenge will be a milestone in Jonny’s cycling journey as his longest cycle so far is 50km. He said he is “apprehensive but excited” for the 100km challenge ahead

Jonny will be starting his cycling challenge at 10:30am on Friday.

To support Jonny’s cause, please visit:

Scottish Veterans Fund Support for Erskine’s Accommodation Project

The Scottish Veterans Fund has awarded Veterans’ Charity Erskine a grant of £15,000 towards the cost of developing a new Support Worker for the Erskine Transitional Supported Accommodation project.To increase housing availability for Veterans, and further diversify the mix of housing Erskine provides, they’re currently constructing 24 Transitional Supported Apartments at the Veterans Village in Bishopton.The apartments will provide safe, temporary accommodation predominantly for service men and women of working age who, for various reasons, leave the Armed Forces unexpectedly. Through the employment of a dedicated support worker they will deliver a personalised programme of activities for each Veteran over a two-year period.Designed to enhance Veterans’ prospects of identifying long-term accommodation and employment, the programme will include housing advice, welfare and benefits advice, access to formal training and education, CV and interview support, life skills, and more.Erskine Chief Executive, Wing Commander Ian Cumming, said: “Each year approximately 1,800 men and women completing military service choose to settle in Scotland, with around 600 seeking to reside in communities local to our Veterans Village.“Our project will support those from this cohort who are leaving the Armed Forces at short notice, with no immediate plans in place, thereby minimising the risk of experiencing homelessness and increasing the potential for successful transition to civilian life. The role of the Support Worker is essential to the provision of appropriate services for Veterans residing in Erskine Transitional Supported Accommodation and to the overall success of this project. 

We are therefore incredibly grateful to the Scottish Veterans Fund for their most generous financial assistance, which will support younger Veterans as they prepare for the next chapter of their lives.”Jim Wilson, General Secretary of Veterans Scotland, added: “It is great to see this important project being supported by the Scottish Veterans Fund. The importance of securing accommodation and long-term sustainable employment when transitioning from Service to Civilian life must not be underestimated and often proves to be a significant challenge for a small cohort of those that leave annually. This project provides additional support for them and will ensure they have every opportunity to continue to contribute fully to society after leaving the Services.”To find out more about the work of Veterans Scotland and support provided to the Veteran community across Scotland, visit: To find out more about a range of services and information that is available for members of the Armed Forces and Veterans Community, go to

Funding from the Veterans Foundation will provide shelter for more homeless veterans

National veterans’ charity, Launchpad has received a grant totaling £50,000 thanks to a donation by the Veterans’ Foundation.

The grant will help to ensure the charity continues to provide safe, secure accommodation and other essential support to homeless veterans in the UK to help them make a successful transition to civilian life.

The Veterans’ Foundation raises its money through the Veterans’ Lottery and donations. It awards grants to help fund charities that help serving and former members of the Armed Forces and their dependents, who are in need.

Commonwealth Veteran looks back on VJ Day

As the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day – or VJ Day as it is better known – approaches, the immense contribution made by service personnel from across the Commonwealth is being highlighted.  The Fourteenth Army was stated to be the largest all-volunteer army in history with 2,500,000 men and was instrumental in securing victory in the Far East. Although large numbers of Britons served in the Fourteenth, an estimated 80 per cent of the fighting force came from units from India, East and West Africa and other parts of the British Empire.

Proud VJ Day veteran, Mr Darbara Singh Bhullar, who was born in India and now lives in Glasgow, has recalled his time in the Far East. The campaign to retake Burma was one of the longest fought by the British during the Second World War and while the fighting was fierce, the threat posed by disease was equally deadly.

Mr Bhullar, 97, said:

“I entered the Army on 17 February 1942. We fought against Japan on the Burma front until 1945. When we were fighting against Japan, we faced many difficulties… so many difficulties that I cannot even describe. Our first enemy was Japan. Our second enemy were mosquitoes. If you were bitten by a mosquito it would infect all of your blood. Few were killed by bullets and more by mosquitoes.

“We had to endure so many difficulties. It was always very hot – never cool – so we would not wear much and that would mean mosquitoes would bite. Then we went to Assam. It was the rainy season there, and leeches would attach to us despite us wearing socks and boots. There was no place to stay; only the jungle. We were amongst the animals and some of us died along with the animals.

“My job was communication; telephonic or wireless communication, or using a car or Jeep or motorcycle. We had to keep the communication up, one way or another. If communication were to stop, that would be the end for the troops.”

Another for whom VJ Day will be particularly poignant is Charanjit Sangha, 56, whose Father, Naik Gian Singh, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in battle. Mr Sangha, from Newton Mearns, said:

“My Dad joined the British Army in 1937. He was only 17 and served in the 15th Punjab Regiment. My Father told me that, and I heard from other people, that wherever there were difficult times, or they knew that the enemy was stronger, the last resort used to put the Punjab Regiment in there; they will sort it out.

“My Dad used to tell us that all of the people around him were killed. He was the last one there. He was only about 50 yards from the enemy foxhole. He could see 15-20 Japanese there and an anti-tank gun.  He knew if he tried to run back that he wouldn’t survive as there was no back-up at all. He thought: ‘I am going to die now, so I might as well do something.’

“He grabbed hold of his machine gun and some hand grenades and got up in front of the enemy and he started throwing the hand grenades. The Japanese were not expecting that as they thought the enemy was all dead. He killed all of them and captured the anti-tank gun. By doing that, the route was clear for the Army to come back.

“He was badly injured after that and unconscious for a few days. The bullets were all over him. Until his dying day, in 1996, his leg always used to hurt from those wounds. Years later, my Father chose to receive the Victoria Cross in London. There was a big, big parade in London’s Hyde Park.”

Mr Sangha added:

“I feel sad that my Father is not here with us, but I am feeling excited that today we are talking about the contribution made by Commonwealth countries during the Second World War. I do not think we had that before and this is why VJ will be so poignant for me. These men were great soldiers and I think it’s important that this story is told in our schools and communities.”

The forthcoming VJ Day commemorations will be marked by a series of “virtual” events organised by Armed Forces charities Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government.

A series of programmes will be broadcast live via the charities’ social media channels to mark the milestone anniversary. A virtual Service of Remembrance will be shown from 10:35am on Saturday 15 August, and will be followed at midday by a virtual concert. On Monday 17 August, which will mark the first full week of the new school term, a live lesson will help to ensure that younger generations have an opportunity to learn more about the significance of VJ Day.

Legion Scotland Chief Executive Dr Claire Armstrong said:

“The stories of Mr Bhullar and Mr Naik gives us a rare and poignant insight into what life was like in the Far East during the War. The Fourteenth Army are often referred to as the “Forgotten Army”, but it is vital that as we approach the 75th anniversary of VJ Day that the bravery and sacrifice of the men who fought in the Far east campaign is forgotten no more.

“Victory in the Far East would have been impossible without the immense contribution from right across the Commonwealth, and it is important to acknowledge that millions of men from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and many other countries joined the War effort freely and without conscription in order to defeat the brutal Japanese regime.

“We would like to thank Mr Bhullar for having the courage to tell his story and for all that he and his comrades did to secure freedom for the world. It is only right that we will highlight the incredible service and sacrifice made by those who fought in the Far East campaign and unite the nation in remembrance of the generation who gave so much.”

Omar Shaikh, Founder of Colourful Heritage, said: “These stories are incredibly powerful, and we owe to all the people of the Commonwealth to ensure their sacrifices are never forgotten. More needs to be done to teach this in our schools, and Colourful Heritage has made a call for a permanent memorial in Scotland for the British Indian Army, a Regiment of which (Force K6) after being evacuated from Dunkirk found itself serving in the Highlands protecting Scotland.”

The Far East campaign began on 7 December 1941 when Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour. The British colony of Hong Kong was attacked the following day and, over the subsequent weeks, the British retreated to Singapore, where they were forced to surrender with more than 9,000 men killed or wounded. A further 130,000 were captured and became POWs, facing years of appalling conditions.

The Allied fightback began in 1944 and was led by the British Fourteenth Army, stated to be the largest all-volunteer army in history with 2,500,000 men and comprised mainly of units from India and East and West Africa, as well as Britain. The campaign to recapture Burma was one of the longest fought by the British during the War, but they finally entered the capital, Rangoon, on 2 May 1945. Just as they prepared to progress onwards to Malaya and Singapore, the Atom Bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki leading to the Japanese surrender on the 15 August 1945, officially marking the end of the Second World War.

Walking With The Wounded announces final team embarking on the Walk of Oman

L-R: David Adams, Ben McComb, Sean Gane, Brian O’Neill, Ashley Winter and Andrew Phillips

Following a rigorous selection process which took place between 15 to 19 July, military charity, Walking With The Wounded (WWTW), is pleased to announce the final team participating in the Walk of Oman expedition.

Formed of five ex-military personnel and one member still currently serving, all six of the team have physical or cognitive injuries and will tackle one of their toughest challenges yet, as they pull a custom-built cart weighing in excess of 300kg (around three times their own bodyweight) across the Omani desert.

Starting on 20 November and ending on 11 December 2020 the team will take on an epic trek inspired by Wilfred Thesiger. Thesiger, a British military officer, travelled across the Arabian Peninsula in the 1940s, and the trek will see the team embrace the same hostile conditions in the Omani desert. The expedition will end on Oman’s Armed Forces Day.

Highlighting the extraordinary courage of the men and women who have been injured, both physically and mentally, while serving their countries, the walk will showcase the need for continued support in aiding the transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life.

Experiencing extreme temperatures as high as 95°F and trekking between 20 km to 22 km per day in what will be an unforgettable three-weeks of strength, determination and grit, the team facing the desert are:

  • David Adams – David spent 13 years as an Aircraft Technician in the REME, serving in the UK, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Oman. David was medically discharged after a diagnosis of PTSD, following traumatic events whilst serving in Afghanistan.
  • Sean Gane – Joining the Armed Forces in 1986 as an Infantryman, Sean served for 12 years between ’86 and 2014, leaving and later rejoining. He served on operational tours including Afghanistan and served his last tour in 2009. It was during this last tour Sean witnessed many traumatic events and was later diagnosed with PTSD and hearing and nerve damage. He was medically discharged in 2014.
  • Ben McComb – Ben joined the Army Reserves in October 2005 and served as a Private Solider until 2011, during which time he was selected for officer training. In 2011, he commenced regular officer training at RMAS and commissioned into the Royal Artillery. Ben has neural impingement and nerve damage in his lower limbs, which is incurable. However, his condition is stable due to continuous self-rehabilitation management.
  • Brian O’Neill – Brian joined the Armed Forces in 1990 aged 17 and served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Royal Military Police and Military Provost Staff Regiment. Brian served in 7 operational tours including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant during his 26 years of serving in the Armed Forces. He found the transition from military to civilian life exceptionally difficult.
  • Andrew Phillips – Having served in the Royal Air Force from 1983 – 1993 as a Junior Technician, Andrew was injured in the build-up to the Gulf War and eventually received a medical discharge due to a spinal cord injury. Struggling with the transition from military to civilian life, he became involved in the Invictus Games which helped him regain focus and a positive outlook on life.
  • Ashley Winter – Ashley served as a Challenger 2 Tank crewman serving in Kosovo and Iraq. He was diagnosed with Keratoconus ten years ago and has undertaken various physical challenges to inspire others.

The final team of six were chosen following a five-day selection process in which they hiked across different peaks in Grasmere, Cumbria. With the walks varying each day from 5 km to 20 km, the team were able to test their physical capabilities, whilst walking in an unpredictable climate and across tough terrains.

Ed Parker, CEO of WWTW said:

“We are very excited to have been able to take all six candidates as part of the team from the selection week process. The team face an immense challenge ahead of them and each will be tested mentally and physically. Throughout the selection week process, each candidate embraced the task ahead and cemented the bond formed between them that will put them in good stead for the Omani desert.”

The Walk of Oman is supported by The Duke of Sussex in his role as the official Expedition Patron, along with support from the Royal Office of HM Sultan Haitham bin Tariq and in partnership with the Omani Armed Forces. The team will be followed by a support team in case of emergencies during the course of the expedition.

Summer Homeport is available now

The summer edition of Homeport magazine is now available. Homeport is The Naval Families Federation’s magazine published quarterly for Royal Naval and Royal Marines families throughout the world.

Homeport covers the work NFF has done to speak up for Naval Service families, official updates of policies that affect our audience, the latest activities within the Naval Service, advice and columns written for serving families and much more.

Click here to access online.

Veterans Welfare Service

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) provides a professional help and advice service to veterans or anyone supporting a veteran, their families and dependants.

VWS is run by the Ministry of Defence’s (MODVeterans UK and provides free one-to-one support to veterans or anyone supporting a veteran, their families and dependants, with a national network of welfare managers across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

We work together with the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force, local authorities, voluntary organisations, service charities and Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees to provide a free welfare service that promotes independence, maintains dignity and provides continuous support through life.

OSCR Corporate Plan 2020-23

03 Aug 2020


The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has today published its Corporate Plan for 2020-23.

Our Corporate Plan 2020-23 sets out our strategic direction of business for the next three years.

It introduces our new vision for ‘a trusted and respected Scottish charity sector which positively contributes to society’ and includes information on:

  • who we are and what we do
  • our funding
  • strategic actions, outcomes, outputs and indicators
  • how we will report on our progress.

Our Corporate Plan starts at a time of unprecedented and unpredictable challenge for us all with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every walk of life. For that reason, this Corporate Plan will be implemented with some flexibility, reflecting how our actions and priorities may require to change in response to the pandemic.

OSCR has also published an annual business plan detailing our priorities and activities for the year ahead on our four strategic outcomes set out in this corporate plan. These outcomes support our vision and values, and positively contribute and promote delivery of the national outcomes as set out in the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework.

Maureen Mallon OSCR Chief Executive said,

‘I am delighted to share our new Corporate Plan.

‘Charities have shown time and time again that they are essential to a flourishing society in Scotland, and it is vital for public trust and confidence that the sector operates to the very highest standards.

‘In the Plan, you will see that we have used the knowledge gained as regulator to update our strategic direction and vision to better reflect how we can meet the expectations of the public, sector organisations and charities themselves.

‘We look forward to sharing updates on our progress as the plan progresses, and we will continue to review its content to ensure its relevance as time goes on.’

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