Monthly Edition - June 2019 - Issue 8
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  בנוכחות גדלות      -
In the presence of Greatness


I have deliberately waited a number of weeks before writing this article because I wanted to see how long the impressions of the Veteran Games and Conference would last, and I can honestly say that it feels as inspirational now as it did at the time.
The initial hit was like nothing I had ever felt before, I was stunned and a little shocked, I wasn’t in a boxing ring, I was in a swimming pool playing Water Polo against a group of wounded British and Israeli Veterans, but their commitment was unbelievable.

As an avid sports nut, I have always been inspired by watching the Para Olympics/ Invictus Games, but after sharing the water with these unbelievable athletes, I have a renewed, greater a sense of admiration for them. I truly was in the presence of greatness.

Beit Halochem Tel Aviv was the venue for the inaugural Veterans Games and Conference, that brought together over 120 wounded ex-servicemen and women along with their families and carers from Britain and Israel.

From the moment we arrived at Heathrow Airport and were met by the EL AL staff I felt that this trip was going to be special, I had no idea it would change my life.

The 6-day event was phenomenal, the staff from Israel Experience, that helped facilitate were incredible.  These were young men and women more accustomed to working with young people and families and here they were dealing with Veterans with physical and psychological injuries as if they had been doing it for years.  The Beit Halochem centres are unique rehabilitation, sports and recreation centres located in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Beer Sheva and Ashdod.  These centres boast an array of exceptional rehabilitative services including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and chiropractic treatments conducted along-side a vast array of social, specialised sports options, educational programmes and cultural activities.  They welcomed us with open arms!

The games were, as you would expect, inspiring. Swimming, cross-fit, shooting, archery, table tennis and wheelchair basketball.  There are way too many individual stories and I am afraid to miss one out, so I will summarise by saying that watching wounded individuals from two different countries being supported by their families was an everyday highlight.

Almost every time I walked near a group of Israeli team members, I would be asked to sit down and talk with them and hear their stories. They would comment on the British teams’ camaraderie, which considering we had Tri-Service individuals from all 4 Home Nations who had only met 48 hours earlier, spoke volumes. 

These Games were never about the Medal Table, it was about the Family, and watching young children supporting their Mum or Dad was very emotional.

Following the daily competitions, we were treated to several events and excursions that ensured we all fell in love with Israel.  From the walking tours of Tel Aviv (including a graffiti tour that I wish I went on!) to the visits to the Old City of Jerusalem, dinner overlooking the Judean Desert, Yad Vashem (The Holocaust Museum), the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem and a chance to swim in the Dead Sea, everything was spectacular.

Everyone attended a very moving ceremony, led by a former Royal Marine at the British War Cemetery in Ramle and an equally emotional service at the Israeli Cemetery on Mount Hertzl. They reminded us of friends and family that had given their all in conflicts all over the world.

Veteran with sight loss journeys to Israel for Veteran Games with ‘life-changing’ support of Scottish War Blinded

An Irvine veteran with sight loss is feeling elated after taking part in a Veteran Games event in Tel Aviv with the “life-changing” support of Scottish War Blinded.

Peter Ramsay says he felt honoured to be forward for the first ever Veteran Games and Conference in Israel by staff at the charity’s Hawkhead Centre, and has recently returned from his week-long adventure.

The former Gordon Highlanders infantryman, 50, has rare genetic eye condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which means he struggles to see in poor light and his peripheral and central vision are affected.

Peter (in red) lifts weights at the Veteran Games in Israel

Peter was “devastated” to be medically discharged from service due to his diagnosis in 1991, and says he was feeling low before Scottish War Blinded entered his life.

But since he began attending Scottish War Blinded’s activity hub in Paisley last year, the dad-of-three says his confidence and happiness have improved hugely.

And he never thought it possible to ever attend such as the Veteran Games until he started receiving the charity’s “life-changing” support.

RCET Conference: Supporting Confident Journeys

The 2019 RCET Practitioners’ Conference will be held on 5 November in Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Supporting Confident Journeys’, focusing on the needs of Armed Forces children and young people at various stages in their lives and how these needs can be met.

Delegates will get the opportunity to:

  • Listen to informative and thought provoking presentations
  • Engage in group discussions,
  • Network
  • Visit the varied market stalls.

Please keep checking the website and Facebook for further information.

Register for this FREE conference by clicking here.

Introducing Operation Bletchley


Operation Bletchley is your virtual codebreaking challenge. You can take part in anywhere in the world using your phone or fitness tracker.

Can you cover the 50 mile route, on foot, throughout the month of July, cracking the codes as you go? With three levels to chose from, junior codebreaker, codebreaker or cypher expert, can you figure out the code and deliver the message before it’s too late?

Your mission…

It’s 1941 and the United Kingdom is in terrible danger. Luftwaffe bombs are raining down on towns and cities across the nation. The Royal Air Force guards the skies and the Navy protects the seas, but the threat of invasion has never been higher. German spies could destroy our telephone network at any moment, so the Home Guard is tightening up security around the capital.

We need you to help us secure a new line of communication from Bletchley Park to the Cabinet War Rooms in London. Walk or run the 50-mile route, making contact with key agents along the way and decrypt their coded messages.

Can you get inside the minds of the great historical code breakers, rack up the miles on foot, deliver the final message to Winston Churchill and complete your mission by the 31 July?

How it works

Operation Bletchley is a virtual event that you can take part in anywhere in the world. Here’s how it works…

  1. Sign up and link your phone or fitness tracker to your fundraising page (you can also record your distance manually if you prefer)
  2. On the 1 July, start walking at your own pace
  3. Receive updates and codes to crack every 5 miles – select your level- junior, codebreaker or cypher expert
  4. Codes will be delivered straight to your inbox
  5. Solve the codes to decipher the hidden message
  6. Complete the 50-mile journey and deliver the message to Winston Churchill by the 31st July

For more information, click here.

Exciting free training offer from SSVC

SSVC are offering Cobseo Members free places at their two day digital development course at the Glasgow Training Rooms on Tuesday 9 and Wednesday 10 July.  

This course covers the main social media platforms, the audiences that use them, and how to reach them; coupled with training on how to shoot and edit video using just your phone.  It’s perfect for anyone who is already using social media for work and would like to improve, or people who would like to start using social media in their work.  It’s delivered by an award-winning digital consultant, and expert video journalist, and has been funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust. Participants can either use their own phones, or borrow one of SSVC’s training phones. 

The training is a prompt 0900 start, and ends around 1700 each day. 

You can book your ticket here:

Please send any queries on to Emily  at SSVC on

Events & Activities


We are aware of a number of events and activities that are being provided for the wider veterans community.  If you want to find out more click the link below:

Members Newsletters

Find out all the latest news from RNRMC in their Aril newsletter "The Lookout"

Read all the latest news from Blesma and sign up for a copy of their newsletter.
Find out of the latest news from SSAFA

Royal Regiment of Scotland News Bulletin

A copy of the latest bulletin is available here.

Other Information

Apply for a veterans badge

You can get an armed forces veterans badge if you’ve served in any of the UK armed forces - there’s no fee.


You can apply if you were in the:

  • army
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Marines
  • Royal Air Force (RAF)
  • volunteer or regular reserves

You cannot apply if you:

  • served in the armed forces of another country
  • served alongside the UK armed forces, for example in the Canadian Navy or Royal Australian Air Force

Armed forces and veterans pensions


Veterans UK, part of the Ministry of Defence, assess, award, pay, and oversee all armed forces pensions. As a member of the armed forces you’ll have been enrolled in a pension scheme automatically.

They also administer the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for serving and former serving personnel who are injured as a result of their service in the Armed Forces.

Veterans UK Welfare Service in Scotland

Phone: 0141 224 2709

Find out about call charges

Defence and armed forces Services

  1. Financial help if you're disabled

    Financial help if you're disabled - benefits, housing costs, council tax, vehicle tax exemption, TV Licence, motability schemes, VAT relief

  2. Get a copy of military service records

    Get military service records for the army, Royal Navy, Royal Marines or RAF from 1920 - who can apply, how long it takes, cost, how to apply

  3. Appeal a call up to the reserve forces

    Appeal a call up into the reserve forces - request exemption if you're called out into service or ask for exemption for an employee if their request's been turned down

  4. Estimate your armed forces pension

    Estimate your armed forces pension - get a forecast of your armed forces pension, apply online or by post

  5. Veterans UK pensions forms

    Use these forms when claiming pensions under AFPS 75 and AFPS 05.


The Institute of Fundraising Scotland has as part of its remit is to deliver subsidised introductory fundraising training courses to small charities.


They are working with Scottish third sector interfaces to deliver this training at the cost of £20 per delegate.  With courses being delivered all over Scotland.


The Veterans’ Foundation Grant Applications

Trustees of the Veterans Foundation allocate grants every three or four months.  They welcome applications from Armed Forces charities and other organisations carrying out charitable work for serving or veteran members of the Armed Forces, qualifying merchant seamen, and their dependants, who are in need.

Deadlines for applications are the end of December, March, May and September each year.

Further details can be found on the website .

There are four programmes that are currently open for applications. Our guidance and application forms are tailored for each of these programmes; and there are different closing dates. The programme pages give you all the information you will need

The Removing Barriers to Family Life Programme funds projects that support Armed Forces Families. There are two strands offering Medium and Large Grants
Find out more about the Positive Pathways programme; offering grants of £35,000 of £70,000 for activity based projects, for veterans, which can have a positive impact on mental well-being
Grants for local ideas to support Armed Forces Communities, or help Armed Forces and civilian communities to develop stronger relations
A Veterans Community Centre is a space where veterans meet to socialise; perhaps in the evening or at weekends. If you have a building in need of repair, and you are an Armed Forces Charity then this programme may be for you

New funding available to help get Veterans out and active


The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched the Positive Pathways Programme today.

Armed Forces charities are invited to apply for a share of up to £9M to support ex-forces with activity-based projects that aim to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

Improving veteran’s mental health

Part of the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, the Positive Pathways Programme wants to get Veterans involved in activities such as sports, gardening, conservation and theatre – and there’s one and two-year pots of funding available.

Heroes Walk Amongst Us

On Christmas Eve 2007, Mark Ormrod was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. 3 weeks after his injury he became the UK’s first triple amputee due to injuries received during the conflict and the UK’s leading amputation expert told him he would never walk again. 
But with the help of military charities, an incredibly strong will and the support of friends and family Mark wrote his own story. June 9th 2009 was his independence day - it was the last day he used his wheelchair and became a fulltime prosthetics user
Mark told Veterans’ Foundation that being able to do the school run, being able to take his children to the park and going shopping with the family are things he values so much. Being a prosthetics user enables him to do these things without relying on anyone else. 
Mark’s triumph over his personal adversity is staggering, but his 4 steps to overcoming suffering can be enacted by anyone. Learn what Mark Ormrod’s 4 steps to recovery are.

Link to include -
 Full Story and video interview here

Operational legacy investigations and inquests


Help for Veterans from Veterans UK, Veterans Welfare Service.


As part of the commitment to provide assistance to veterans affected by legacy investigation or Inquest processes, Veterans UK and its Veterans Welfare Service are available to help any veteran, their family or dependants.

Veterans Welfare Service

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) is committed to enhancing the quality of life for veterans and beneficiaries of Veterans UK pensions and compensation schemes, and all their dependants.

What we do

We provide support to enable the seamless transition from service to civilian life, assist bereaved families or respond to life events that present welfare needs. We achieve this by facilitating access to all appropriate services.

How we can help

The VWS team can offer 1 to 2 to 1 help and guidance through either telephone contact or via a visiting service from a network of welfare managers located across the UK.

For those veterans contacted in connection with an operational legacy or inquest matter, who feel they may benefit from support or advice, Veterans UK would be able to assist, allocating a Veterans Welfare Service welfare manager to make contact and provide appropriate advice, information and support.

The welfare manger cannot provide legal advice or additional financial support but will be able to provide details of appropriate avenues of help available and assist the veteran or their family to access those services. This will include support from MOD and defence from a legal perspective, advise about the army operational legacy team, army legal aid team and facilitate access to appropriate Regimental HQ support.

The welfare manager will also be able to maintain a contact with the veteran and their family throughout the proceedings for as long as is required.

Further Information for veterans

Additional detail about support from MOD in connection with Operational Legacy Investigations and Inquests, can be found at

Contact us

The Veterans Welfare Service has 4 Veterans Welfare Centres, providing advice and support across the UK.

Centurion (London, SE and SW England) Tel 02392 702232

Kidderminster (South and Central Wales, Midlands and East England) Tel 01562 825527 Email:

Norcross VWC (NW England, Yorkshire and Humber, North Wales and IOM) Tel 01253 333494 Email:

Glasgow (Scotland, NE England, NI and ROI) Tel 0141 2242709 Email:

Veterans UK can also be reached via the Veterans UK Helpline

Email : Freephone (UK only): 0808 1914 2 18 Telephone (overseas): +44 1253 866 043

Veterans Scotland Website
Our Mailing address is:
Veterans Scotland
New Haig House
Logie Green Road
Edinburgh, EH7 4HR

Veterans Scotland is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland.
Registered as a charity in Scotland, SC 033880.

Veterans Scotland are also members of the Cobseo Executive committee.


Copyright © 2017 Veterans Scotland, All rights reserved.

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Veterans Scotland · New Haig House · Logie Green Road · Edinburgh, Scotland EH7 4HR · United Kingdom

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