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31 July 2020 (Edition - Issue 36)

UK Government Seeks Views On National Insurance Contributions Holiday for Employers of Veterans
 

The UK Government has launched a consultation which seeks views about a National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday for employers who hire former members of the British regular Armed Forces.
 
The measure will introduce a Secondary Class 1 Employer NICs relief on the wages of veterans for the first 12 months of their civilian employment and will be available to employers from April 2021.
 
Contributions from employers of veterans, software providers and accountants about the scheme’s implementation are being encouraged.
 
Those who have served in the Armed Forces have significant qualities and attributes which should be maximised within wider society and the economy.
 
And securing successful employment is one of the fundamental elements which allow those who have served in the Armed Forces to make a successful transition back to civilian life.
 
The Government says more should be done for veterans to help them secure employment following their military service.
 
It is committed to ensuring that veterans have access to support should they need it throughout their lives and also to ensuring that individuals leaving the Armed Forces are as prepared as they can be for this.
 
This includes continuing to challenge perceptions about veterans and tackling the barriers which some business organisations feel they can face in employing veterans.
 
The measure which would see incentivising organisations to employ veterans through the provision of a NIC holiday for their first 12 months of employment was announced at Budget 2020 in March.
 
It will exempt employers for any NICs liability on veteran’s salary up to the Upper Secondary Threshold in their first year of civilian employment.
 
From April 2022, employers will claim this relief through PAYE in real time; however, transitional arrangements will be in place for the 2021-2022 tax year.
 
To read the full HMRC consultation click here: GOV.UK.
 
For queries about the consultation please email: nics.correspondence@hmrc.gov.uk
 

Public service pension schemes consultation: changes to the transitional arrangements to the 2015 schemes

HM Treasury have laid in Parliament a Public Consultation seeking views on two proposals for addressing past discrimination across the public service pension schemes following the McCloud judgment and a proposal for future pension provision. The consultation seeks views on proposals relating to the 2015 public service pension scheme reforms.

 

Consultation description

1. Consultation

  • Following the Court of Appeal judgment in December 2018, the government has been working to fix the discrimination identified in the policy of transitional protection that was part of the 2015 reforms to public service pension schemes. This consultation sets out the government’s proposals for addressing this discrimination along with the government’s plans for the future.
  • The government is committed to fixing the discrimination as quickly as possible and welcomes your views on how best to do this.
  • The consultation document itself, an accompanying Equality Impact Assessment and a leaflet which sets out a summary of the proposals can be found on this page. The scope of the schemes covered by this consultation can also be found on page 3 of the document itself. The consultation begins on 16 July 2020 and will close on 11 October 2020.

2. Update on the cost control element of the 2016 Valuations

  • Alongside the public consultation, the government is making a related announcement on the cost control mechanism, which can also be found on this page. This provides an update on the pause of cost control mechanism, and the next steps government will take.

Please find the details and documents using the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/public-service-pension-schemes-consultation-changes-to-the-transitional-arrangements-to-the-2015-schemes

Office for Veterans’ Affairs marks one year since creation

An opinion piece from Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, to mark one year since the establishment of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs. The article was originally published by the Telegraph.

The UK has always held our veterans in high esteem. No one does Remembrance quite like us and every year millions of Brits buy poppies, lay wreaths and mark moments of silence to commemorate those who have fought for our country. In recent years we’ve seen a record amount of public giving to Service Charities, honouring the sacrifice of so many in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Governments of all colours have been historically deficient when it comes to looking after those who have served. Some brilliant initiatives and individuals have achieved genuinely excellent outcomes for our veterans.

But on the whole, services have been disjointed, hard to access and at times too focussed on inputs rather than actually asking what it feels like to be a veteran in the United Kingdom.

This Government has changed that. Established just a few days after the Prime Minister came to office one year ago, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs has already overseen a significant shift in the Government’s provision for veterans. From railcards to guaranteed interviews in the Civil Service; from a National Insurance holiday for employers of veterans to including a question for veterans in the 2021 census for the first time – much has been achieved. Prioritising veterans for new homes; helping shape a through-life healthcare plan in the NHS for service personnel and their families; commissioning long term studies to provide evidence-based policy for the years ahead – anyone who knows me and knows my history would understand I wouldn’t say it if it were not true: this Government has genuinely shifted the dial in these matters. And I’m proud of it.

Blending this with increasingly important private and third sector work, the ambition – to make the United Kingdom the best place in the world to be an Armed Forces veteran – is now well within grasp. But there is of course more to do.

The programme of work in the years ahead is varied, and regularly updated to reflect this mission. But everything will have a different focus to the past. Instead of asking how much Government is putting into the system of veteran’s care in this country, and then why still too many are falling through the net, we have undergone a fundamental shift of perspective. Now the ethos is “what is it actually like to be an Armed Forces veteran in the UK in 2020”. That simple vision binds all we do, and I hope to move onwards from these good tactical victories, to real strategic change for our veterans in the next couple of years.

It is not a one-office or a one-person job. We all – as a nation – have a responsibility to go beyond warm words and soaring rhetoric when it comes to our veterans. Whilst change has been accelerated by COVID-19 – particularly in the third sector – there remains a role for everyone in this vision. And if we all work together, putting our veterans at the centre of our work, this will be the best country in which to be an Armed Forces veteran.

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.

Resources

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.

COVID-19 - Scottish Govt Policy

Coronavirus in Scotland

Stay safe, protect others, save lives.

Scotland moved to Phase 3 of the route map for coming out of lockdown on the 10 July 2020. See some key dates for future changes.

You should:

  • wear a face covering
  • avoid crowded places
  • clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • stay 2m away from other people
  • self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms

See what you can and cannot do to help suppress the virus.


Further information is available via the link here
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

Forces in Mind Trust awards grant to fund accredited employment training programme for veterans in Scotland

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £298,996 to Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) to fund an employment training programme to help injured veterans into rewarding work.

The programme, which will be implemented at RBLI’s social enterprise, Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (SBMC), will be led by a fully-accredited vocational trainer and will provide ex-Servicemen and women with recognised qualifications in manufacturing through flexible plans tailored to their individual needs.

Based at the Erskine Veterans Village Estate in Renfrewshire, SBMC offers a range of employment and volunteer opportunities in the manufacturing sector to Scottish ex-Service personnel, particularly those who experience physical or psychological challenges as a result of their service. The new funding will enable SBMC to employ a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) approved trainer to deliver recognised qualifications in sign-making, warehousing and performing manufacturing operations. The trainer will also work with the programme’s participants on their career development, working on interview and CV writing skills.

A team at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) led by Occupational Therapist Shirley Morrison-Glancy will conduct the independent evaluation to examine the impact of attaining a recognised SQA qualification on long-term job prospects, confidence levels, work readiness, employability and on the mental health of participants.

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 www.myworldofwork.co.uk 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.


https://youtu.be/nyHLzTWyYK0 
 

Scottish Government vacancies

  There are numerous vacancies to be filled quickly and they are very keen to hear from those with military experience who can bring a wide range of skills to the establishment. Roles in Health and Social Care include Unit Heads, Team Leaders, Policy Officers and Support Officers which require leadership skills and resilience, people who can adapt and get the job done.

If anyone is interested email DGHSCTRS@gov.scot with a CV and a one page covering letter.

https://www.oascotland.org.uk/scottish-government-insight-day/
Funding & Financial Support

Fairer Scotland

Are you eligible for more support?

Opinion piece by Cabinet Secretary for Social Security, Shirley-Anne Somerville.



From this week, thousands of families across Scotland will start to get letters telling them they are entitled to new Scottish benefits. This is a first in Scotland and shows that when it comes to social security – we’re doing things differently.

We’re taking information from DWP and HMRC to identify people who are on certain benefits or tax credits and have children of the right age, and we’re writing to tell them about the financial support we have available and actively inviting them to apply.

This is all part of our commitment to making sure people get all the financial support that they are entitled to – helping to maximise incomes and tackle poverty.

This builds on the work we do to promote benefits. In the past year, we’ve advertised online, in newspapers on the radio and on TV to get the message out there.

We also work closely with organisations to get more people to access social security. Earlier this year we launched the £600,000 benefit take up and income maximisation funds to support charities and third sector organisations in their work to address barriers that prevent people from applying for benefits.

This is markedly different from what we see from the DWP. They reserve their promotional efforts to encourage people to report fraud or convince people to overlook Universal Credit’s known flaws.

We are launching this invite to apply now as we know that many families are under pressure as they cope with the financial impact of COVID-19. It is something that we were able to do quickly with the powers and resources we have available.

However, we know that this won’t reach everyone who could be due this support. Many people won’t be accessing the UK benefits or tax credits that they are entitled to and therefore won’t be on the qualifying benefits they need to apply for our help too.

To help people understand what financial assistance they could get, we continue to work in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland. We have funded the Money Talk initiative since 2018 to provide families with advice on finances. And since the start of lockdown, we’ve launched a further support line with Citizens Advice Scotland for anyone who needs information and advice on things like bills, benefits and more – you can call the freephone number 0800 028 1456 or visit cas.org.uk

You can also get in touch with other local welfare advice offices to find out what support you are eligible for.

I’d call on the UK Government to do the same – to use its powers to make urgent changes to its benefit system, to help people through this very challenging time, and actively let people know what they could be entitled to.

I urge them to reverse their welfare cuts, by removing the benefit cap, bedroom tax, and two child limit, as well as increasing the Child Element of Universal Credit. It is vital that the UK Government match our efforts and take the necessary steps to ensure the benefit system is fit for purpose and is able to work for people who need it – because that safety net is needed more than ever right now.

Which is why we are determined to do everything we can to increase the take-up of Scottish social security payments as part of our commitment to support families.

COVID Recovery Fund from Lloyd’s Bank Foundation

At 10am on 3 August 2020, Lloyd’s Bank Foundation will be launching £7.4 million COVID funding aimed at supporting charities to recover beyond the immediate crisis. Please find information below:

From our conversations with small and local charities and the wider sector, we know that to be able recover from this health crisis charities need unrestricted funding and the space and support to adapt their organisational, income generation and service delivery models which have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.

To meet these needs, our COVID Recovery Fund will offer around 140 charities a two-year unrestricted grant of £50,000 alongside a Development Partner to help charities navigate a tumultuous future.

To survive the aftermath of the pandemic, charities have needed to alter the way in which they operate, deliver services and source income. Alongside crucial funding, we know charities need the space, support and resources to be able to do this and become more resilient to future challenges. This kind of work is complex, it takes time and involves the whole organisation and with the COVID Recovery Fund programme, a Development Partner will be appointed to work hand in hand with charities through this process.

The Development Partner will support you in this journey through your own internal resources, a range of external partners and consultants through our Enhance capacity building programme and will help you share and learn across charities through structured peer forums.

The months and years to come will be difficult, as a funder, we know that to provide the best support for the charities we partner with we need to learn from them as much as they need to learn from each other. We will develop our own learning to understand how we can be a true partner to the charities we fund and the wider sector.

This fund is open to small and medium sized charities with an income of between £25,000 and £1 million a year that are helping people overcome complex social issues such as mental health, homelessness and domestic abuse.

We know there is an explicit link between the vast majority of our complex social issues and racial injustice, and that these intersecting inequalities are best addressed by the small charities that are rooted in the communities they serve. We want to ensure that this funding is distributed equitably to the charities that are best placed to serve the communities who need it most. To make sure we can achieve this, a minimum of a quarter of this funding will go to charities that are led by and for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

Following a comprehensive review of our grants portfolio and the wider sector, we found that some charities in specific places were being excluded by our criteria. We recognise that many of these charities often provide a response to a specific social issue such as homelessness or domestic abuse alongside helping communities and individuals around a range of other issues. That is why, we are also relaxing our eligibility criteria for charities based in Wales and the six communities where we are working to support long term transformational change.

Applications will open from 10am 3 August 2020 and will close at 5pm 11 September 2020.

If you have any questions about this funding, please contact our team here.

We will be holding a Q&A webinar with our grants team on 11 August between 2pm – 3.30pm you can register here to learn more and ask us questions about the fund.

 
 

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:  www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/grant-application/  .  

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

Programmes from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust 2020/21

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust is delighted to announce a range of funding programmes for 2020/21, in support of the Armed Forces community.

This year, our funding will focus on three major themes.

  • Providing emergency help for Forces communities affected by Covid-19.
  • Supporting veterans’ health and wellbeing.
  • Funding projects that support Armed Forces communities, in the communities where they live.
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.

http://www.veteransscotland.co.uk/docs/resources/V1P%20Resilience%20Guide.pdf

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. https://www.veteransfirstpoint.org.uk/
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

 

THE BATTLE OF MINDEN – 1st AUGUST 1759

“Minden” was the second battle honour awarded to the 25th (Edinburgh Regiment), as the Kings Own Scottish Borderers were then called, and the battle is celebrated on the 1st August every year.

During the Seven Years war against France a combined force of British and German allies was operating in the valley of the River Wasser near the town of Minden. The six British battalions were the 12th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 37th and 51st Regiments of Foot, now the Royal Anglian Regiment, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, The Kings Own Scottish Borderers, the Royal Hampshire Regiment and the Light Infantry. The supporting artillery batteries were the predecessors of 32nd (MINDEN) Battery, 16 Light Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery, 20 Heavy Regiment, Royal Artillery.

Owing to a misunderstanding in the passage of orders, the six British Infantry Regiments advanced alone against the main body of the French cavalry in the centre. Seeing this confusion Prince Ferdinand, the German Commander of the allied forces, ordered the Hanovarian Guards on the left flank to advance whilst the British Cavalry of the right wing were to move behind the infantry to support them. The cavalry commander, Lord George Sackville, disobeyed orders and declined to take part in the charge, as a result, the cavalry took no active part in the battle.

Seeing the advance of so small a force, the French sent their cavalry, 10000 strong, to the charge. The six British battalions halted and by close range, well aimed volleys, broke up the French attack. The enemy cavalry reformed and attacked on six separate occasions. Only on one occasion did the enemy cavalry succeed in penetrating the front rank, and they were almost annihilated by the second rank. Finally all 63 squadrons were sent flying in disorder.

The British Infantry continued to advance and coming under the cross fire of sixty guns and musketry fire from enemy infantry, suffered heavily. The French threw in two Brigades in an effort to stem the tide but they were quickly broken. Finally in desperation a large body of their Saxon allies were sent to counter attack, but they fared no better than their French predecessors and he whole enemy line broke in panic. Had the British Cavalry then attacked, the slaughter would have been immense. As it was, the enemy lost 7000 men to the allies 2800, over 1500 of which were lost by the British Battalions.  25th Foot: 7 officers and 138 men killed and wounded.

Visiting the scene of the battle afterwards, Prince Ferdinand remarked,” It was here that the British Infantry won immortal glory”.

In memory of our ancestors who earned his battle honour and who picked roses from the gardens of Minden on their way to battle, we of the Minden Regiments wear roses in our head dress on this proud day.

Always a Borderer

Charities in call for nation to mark VJ Day

Plans are in place to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day – or ‘VJ Day’ as it is better known. Saturday 15 August will mark 75 years to the day when Imperial Japan surrendered in the Second World War to bring six years of global conflict to an end.

With restrictions still in place around social gatherings, VJ Day 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, 15th 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.

Despite the switch from a physical to virtual programme of commemorative events, it will remain a particularly poignant occasion for 77-year-old Jenny Martin, who was born in a POW camp in Singapore, and spent the first three years of her life there.

Jenny, from Edinburgh, said:

“My parents had met in Singapore. My Father had been born in Inverness and moved over to work, while my mother had been born there. By the time she met my father, my mother was working as a secretary for the Colonial Secretariat (Civil Service) in Singapore.

“They were married in 1934, and, seven years later, were happy to be expecting a child. But we all know what happened next: the Japanese army invaded the peninsula and took Singapore on the 15th of February 1942. Mother was very busy at work up to the last moment burning files in an incinerator at the back of the office. But like many other women, she found herself taken, with one suitcase.”

Jenny would subsequently be born in the Changi Prison Camp, in eastern Singapore, and would spend the next three years of her life there. She can recall the moment she knew freedom would come:

“Unknown to us, a bomb fell on Hiroshima and then another on Nagasaki. One day, the guards all disappeared and then a plane flew overhead and dropped from its undercarriage thousands of leaflets, which fluttered to the ground like snow. Around me everyone was saying: ‘Thank God, thank God!’ The leaflet read: ‘The War is over. Japan has surrendered. We are coming for you very soon. Do not over-eat!’”

Looking ahead to VJ Day in the middle of next month, Jenny says:

“Personally, I think of a long and generally happy and privileged life with its ups and downs, achievements and failures, and the post-War lives of my parents and so many others.

“I have always wondered if my life and those of other POWs weighed positively in the balance. I once met a Japanese doctor who apologised to me, and I apologised back to him for those terrible events. That healed something in me that had been difficult to live with before.”

Legion Scotland Chief Executive Dr Claire Armstrong said:

“We are delighted to launch our events programme for the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day alongside our partners at Poppyscotland and the Scottish Government. We have now commemorated two major anniversaries in a virtual space for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May, and the 80th anniversary of St Valéry in June.

“Now, quite rightly, the nation’s attention turns to the events in the Far East 75 years ago. This campaign saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Second World War and in some of the harshest conditions. While Europe celebrated the defeat of Nazi Germany in May 1945, hundreds of thousands of personnel from across the Commonwealth were still engaged in the brutal fight against Imperial Japan.

“From Prisoners of War like Jenny to the soldiers of the Commonwealth, whose contribution is too often overlooked, 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.”

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.

ABF Digital Magazine 


We are delighted to attach the link to the ABF launch of their first Frontline digital magazine. 

In this issue, we reflect on the contributions made by the Army community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also look back at our VE Day 75 celebrations, including an interview with Betty Webb MBE. Betty joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1941, beginning a journey that would take her to Bletchley Park, the nerve centre of Allied codebreaking during the war, and afterwards to the Pentagon in Washington DC.
 
https://soldierscharity.org/publications/frontline-spring-summer-2020/
 

Forces in Mind Trust awards grant to Blesma for study on families of veterans with loss of functionality of limbs

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £197,645 to Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, to conduct a two-year study on veterans with loss of functionality of limbs and their families’ everyday living experience.

The study, which will be conducted by Anglia Ruskin University, builds on previous research funded by FiMT, which examined the experiences of veterans who had lost a limb, or limbs, together with the experiences of their families, Caring and Coping: the Family Perspective on Living with Limb Loss.

While conducting the initial research, the team identified evidence of unique experiences amongst a cohort of veterans with loss of function, rather than physical loss, of a limb. The research indicated that living with a limb of limited use can be extremely challenging and that these challenges might not be fully understood by healthcare professionals.

This study will include a literature review and interviews with veterans and their families and will provide an in-depth insight into the impact of a loss of function of a limb, or limbs, on veterans and their families. The research will also provide a deeper understanding of any barriers encountered and how these can be overcome. The findings will then be used to generate new or improved models for service provision within Blesma and the wider healthcare sector.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“It’s extremely satisfying to award this grant to Blesma in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University as it builds on our previous work and underlines our strategic ambition to create greater impact in all that we do. The collaboration between a strong academic institution and a trusted service delivery charity proved to be enormously influential in improving the lives of veterans with limb loss and their families in the initial study. We look forward to seeing how this project can help inform service delivery and improve the experiences of families of veterans with loss of use of limb which, as identified in the previous research, can present a set of very different and unique challenges.”

Jon Bryant, Chief Executive of Blesma the Limbless Veterans, says:

“I am delighted to see this vital study get underway. It will build on the excellent work that led to Caring and Coping: ‘The Family Perspective on Living with Limb Loss’. We are very grateful to Forces in Mind Trust who recognised the importance of family in all that we do and we look forward to seeing the result of the work by Anglia Ruskin University.”

Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust awards Combat Stress £250k to deliver remote support to veterans

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) has awarded veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress £250,000 through the Covid-19 Impact Programme, a programme set up to ensure that the Armed Forces community can keep accessing important services, despite resources for these services impacted by the pandemic.

The AFCFT, comprising of the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and Cobseo representatives, awarded Combat Stress the grant to specifically fund the charity’s new digital platform for veterans.

The service aims to ensure inclusivity for veterans who are unable to access the charity’s crucial support in person due to the ongoing social distancing measures.

The platform will include self-help psychoeducation materials, aimed at keeping veterans in good mental and physical shape, and intensive psychological rehabilitation programmes delivered remotely, such as live group-based webinars and workshops, and 1:1 assessments and treatment. This will enable Combat Stress to support more veterans with complex mental health problems.

Originally due to launch over a nine-month period, the delivery of the project is being fast-tracked to help meet the urgent need for the charity to provide an in-depth and clinical service in a remote format. With veterans unable to receive the usual in-person treatment and support they need, they face uncertain and anxious times, which can put further strain on their mental health.

Dr Felix Davies, Director of Operations at Combat Stress, said: “We knew digital services would play an important role in the future of Combat Stress; the benefits and demand for an inclusive service for veterans who cannot access support are clear.

“The need for such a service has become urgent during Covid-19, so we are extremely grateful that the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust recognised the importance of the digital aspect of our work with veterans. Their grant has enabled us to accelerate the delivery of our Digital Veterans’ Mental Health Service.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Conor Walsh, Press Office Assistant, on 01372 587162 or at Conor.Walsh@combatstress.org.uk,

Notes to Editors

About Combat Stress:

We are Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health. For over a century, we’ve helped former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

Today we provide specialist treatment and support for veterans from every service and conflict, focusing on those with complex mental health issues.

The work we do is life-changing and often life-saving. No one else does what we do.

Find out more: https://www.combatstress.org.uk/

 

Message for Support on behalf of ‘Historian Hugh Sebag-Montefiore who is writing a book about the Arctic convoys of WW2.


Hugh is a historian writing a book about the Arctic convoys of WW2.  He have been commissioned by the British publisher Harper Collins, would like to find out if any of our members or residents know of any:

 1. living veterans who participated in the Arctic convoys, or their relatives in case these relatives hold the veterans' memoirs.

 2. detailed written or recorded personal accounts of what was witnessed by the participants during these convoys, or in Russia when the convoys reached Murmansk and Archangel.

 3. relevant photos or little known books

 4. associations, groups, clubs or local archives that he might have missed.

He stresses that he is only using personal accounts written or recorded by a witness. And he is only using accounts which describe battles or attacks by the Germans which resulted in ships being badly damaged or sunk, rescued, attacking German ships/aircraft or accounts of what happened in Murmansk and Archangel, and the surrounding ports, when the convoy crews landed there.
If anyone in your association thinks they can help, please email him at sebags@hsmontefiore.com; they should only ring 44-20-7-435-1035 if Hugh has not replied to an email within 48 hours, or if they don't use email.

To see what kind of books Hugh writes, google: 'Hugh Sebag-Montefiore: Official Author Website', or click on the following link: http://www.hughsebagmontefiore.com  
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