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15 January 2021 (Edition - Issue 2)

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.

V1P Lothian Resilience guide - COVID-19

V1P Lothian has developed this Resilience guide to help you navigate through this very difficult time. Our world is ever-changing at the moment. It would be hard not to worry about COVID-19 and how it could affect your life, and those you love. Worry, anxiety and difficulties with our mood are common problems at the best of times, and now this might feel overwhelming.

A PDF Copy of the guide is available here
 

THE ARMED FORCES COVENANT -A Guide for Local Authorities: How to deliver the Covenant in your area

Resources

Veterans Scotland Information Booklet


Having been made aware of several updates and changes, an updated copy of the information booklet is available via the link below:

Scotland Guide



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.

 
Covid Support Advice 

Advice from Scottish Government on Support Groups

Support groups and one-to-one support should be delivered remotely where possible, but support may be delivered in-person if remote delivery is not possible and they are essential for people’s wellbeing. Examples of support services include peer support groups, vulnerable persons’ or families’ support groups, talking therapy groups, day centres, respite care, one to one talking therapy and counselling. Support services do not include close contact retail services, such as massage, which are covered by separate guidance on this page.

An essential support service is one where the participant’s health (including their mental health) and wellbeing would be significantly impacted by non-attendance. If services must take place in-person, relevant guidance must be followed.

Offices, call centres and other workplaces

People are strongly advised to work from home wherever that is practicable.

Businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals. There are 13 designated CNI sectors including agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport.

Not all CNI activity will be essential. Those operations which can be done effectively through home working should be adopted.

Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.

Home visits by tradespeople should only be for essential services. 

Education, Employment & Training Support

The Construction Industry

Thursday 21st January 2021 10:00-11:50

 
This is likely to be of particular interest to those in the Armed Forces community who may be interested in Construction based employment opportunities in Highland/North of Scotland.
All other interested individuals/supporters welcome too.
 
For more information and to join us, please sign up through the following
Microsoft Forms Link:  https://lnkd.in/ddHg9FV
 

Start a career with Poppyscotland

Thank you for your interest in wanting to join the Poppyscotland team. We can help you develop your skills at one of Scotland’s leading charities. With us, you will be making an impact on more than just your career, you will be part of an organisation that changes people’s lives.

Our people are the foundation of our success as we rely on their sense of purpose, passion, and commitment to help support the Armed Forces community in Scotland. If you like what you hear, this could be the place for you. Our current vacancies are listed below.

Current vacancies

Welfare Support Officer - East Scotland
Independent Living Advisers - West Scotland

Information on these vacancies is available on the Poppyscotland website here



The Officers Association Scotland's 2021 virtual events programme starts next Tuesday 19 January with the three-hour Finding a Job workshop. Those who are currently unemployed or in their last months of service will be given priority. More info here

http://ow.ly/vvHs50D5Fbk

What We Do

A series of skills and economic strategies interlink to shape SDS's work, making sure that services and partnership activity are meeting the needs of customers and effectively contributing to economic growth ambitions for Scotland.

Across Scotland, we support individuals to build their career management, work-based and employability skills, throughout their career journey, from school, into further learning opportunities and employment.

We are able to use skills intelligence to help inform the decisions of people across Scotland, at all stages of their careers, so that they are well-placed to take up the opportunities arising within the economy.

We target delivery of this support to those who need it most, ensuring all individuals are enabled to achieve their full potential. We work with employers and employer groups on a national, sectoral, regional, local and individual basis; supporting them to recognise and articulate their current and future skills needs, and to engage with the skills system to help ensure it better meets those needs in the short, medium and longer term.

Find out more about the services available from SDS on their website HERE




RFEA The Forces Employment Charity offers employment support to everyone in Scotland and across the UK who has served in the armed forces, and their partners.

RFEA exists to provide life-long, life-changing support to Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service of reason for leaving. Founded in 1885 and operating across the UK, we have the specialist knowledge and understanding to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment. We work in partnership with other organisations and employers who, like us, respect and value the unique qualities and abilities of all those who have served. RFEA wants a UK where all veterans and their partners lead fulfilling working lives. We have a dedicated team in Scotland who understand the specific issues and tailor their support accordingly.

Covid-19 made 2020 a challenging year for everyone. This has been particularly the case for our veterans and beneficiaries who, with the deepening economic downturn, are finding it increasingly challenging to find or keep work. RFEA continued to operate as usual throughout the year, delivering full support to rising numbers of Service leavers and veterans in need. With a business model that lends itself to remote working, Covid-19 has not prevented us from delivering our mission and providing our full support to our clients.

We have a dedicated Employer Relationship Manager in Scotland working with employers across the Nation to identify suitable and sustainable employment opportunities and promote the benefits of hiring from the armed forces talent pool.  We operate a specialist Jobs Board for service leavers and veterans which, despite Covid-19, saw us publicise 65,800 job opportunities, with employers who value to skills and attributes of those who have served in the Armed Forces, across the UK in 2020. 
We have a team of advisers to support veterans and partners to succeed in getting employment.  Our advisers work to support all of our clients to understand their local jobs markets and the opportunities that are best suited to them; developing their CVs and preparation for interviews. 

Our team in Scotland consists of:
  • Two RFEA advisers working to support veterans through-life, also supporting partners of serving personnel and veterans. 
  • A CTP Future Horizons adviser, available to support all Early Service Leavers, mostly 18-24 year olds who have joined-up but either find it is not the life for them or do not pass their training.  
  • A CTP Assist adviser working to support Wounded Injured and Sick Service Leavers who have life changing injuries and need additional support.

Leanne Bonner - Employment Advisor for East Scotland

We supported RAF veteran Stephen Isherwood in 2020. Stephen was made redundant as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephen served in the RAF from 1990 to 2002 reaching the rank of Corporal. He is 54 and heard about RFEA for advice through word of mouth because he was made redundant and his friends told him that RFEA provides employment support for veterans. The main way that RFEA supported Stephen was giving him the confidence and support to keep on applying to positions, even with multiple rejections due to the number of people applying for the same positions. Although Stephen was made redundant from his job in aviation, he is very grateful for the new position with Sodexo and the chance to learn new skills and meeting new people. Stephen said “The biggest challenge after being made redundant was that it was all new to me and I didn’t know where to start. I had never been unemployed and was panicking that I might not find anything. I would like to thank RFEA for all of their support and encouragement. I am looking forward to being back working again and it is a relief to have found something.”
 
If you have lost your job due to the Covid pandemic, or believe that you are at risk of losing your job, please register with us at https://www.rfea.org.uk/jobseekers/register/.
Partners of serving armed forces and veterans who want to re-start a career, or change their career, can register for support at https://www.rfea.org.uk/our-programmes-partnerships/rfea-families-programme/
 
RFEA
14 January 2020
Funding & Financial Support

 

The Veterans Foundation Grants


The Veterans’ Foundation continues to provide grants to cover pandemic-induced need and other ‘normal’ grants.  The former may be considered out-of-committee and decided upon within a week.  The next deadline for normal grant applications this year is the end of Dec 20.  
 
The maximum grant in both circumstances is £30K, however, we have also introduced a NEW salary grant which can provide up to £40K spread over two years for salaries, only salaries, to help small and medium-wealth organisations.  The application process for all grants is online, here:  
 
https://www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/grant-application/

If you have any queries, please contact us at grants@veteransfoundation.org.uk

How to find out what benefits you can claim

If you're not sure what help you can get, find out what benefits you can claim or where you can get further support.


 

Benefits and grants

Includes information on benefits, funds and grants, including Child Benefit and tax credits. Benefits and grants - mygov.scot

Welcome to the Money Map

Citizens Advice Scotland's Money Map will help you find sources of online support to: 

  • Increase your income 
  • Reduce your bills 
  • Ease the costs of daily living

Take our quick overview to explore the pages and create a personalised list to return to later

Money map | Citizens Advice Scotland

NEW – Forth Valley Covid-19 Partnership Community Partnership Grants Programme

The Forth Valley Covid-19 Partnership is between NHS Forth Valley Endowment Fund – better known as Forth Valley Giving and the three Third Sector Interfaces (CVS Falkirk, SVE and CTSI) and both Health and Social Care Partnerships operating in the Forth Valley. Together they will oversee the new Community Partnership Grants Programme which will distribute £126,000 of local grants.

Community Partnership Grants Programme is open to any registered charity, community interest company,  community or voluntary group with a bank account delivering services in the Forth Valley area. The grants are only open to organisations offering support to the following types of work: support for unpaid carers, people affected by drugs and alcohol, people isolated and lonely, groups helping with wellbeing and mental health community support, suicide prevention and bereavement and end of life support. There will be a large grant programme offering seven grants up to £15,000 each. Following that, there will be a second phase of small and micro grants of up to £2,000 and £1,000. To those unsuccessful to the large grant scheme which will be use a simple expression of interest form to start, they can alternatively apply for the second phase of small and micro grants. All the grants aim to be distributed by end March 2021. The closing date for phase one is by 1st February and the launch of phase two will start on 2nd February and close on 26th February. 

Health & Wellbeing


IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH

With the ongoing situation of COVID-19, we are all facing really unusual and restrictive government measures that are intended to keep us, our families and our communities safe. It is vital that we adhere to these measures and in doing so, limit the spread of the disease and ensure that the NHS have the capacity to care for those who fall dangerously ill.

While these measures do protect us from the spread of the disease, it's important that we're aware of the potential impact that social distancing, social isolation and working from home may have on our mental health.

It's completely normal to experience a range of emotions right now. You may find yourself feeling low in mood, anxious, sad, confused and even angry – these are normal human responses to these uncertain and confusing times. Rest assured you share these feelings with the majority of the planet currently. Combat Stress want the veteran community to know that we're here for you.

Our skilled and experienced clinicians and our veteran representatives have been working hard to develop the following resources, which are aimed at keeping you in good mental and physical shape until the lockdown is lifted.

Mental health support to help you during COVID-19 | Combat Stress

SELF-CARE DURING COVID-19

KEEPING UP YOUR SELF-CARE DURING COVID-19

Boost and protect your mental health during Coronavirus

Infectious disease outbreaks, like COVID-19 (Coronavirus), can be scary and can impact on our mental health. But there are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during this extraordinary situation.

As experts in mental health, we wanted to share some help and advice to help everyone manage their mental health during this uncertain time. We hope this will help you take care of your mental health at a time when there feels to be so much threat to our physical health.

We’re going to share some help and advice to help boost and protect your mental health.

TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED

Information overload? In times like this it can be easy to fall into thinking traps and ruminations. Make sure you ‘switch off’ screens and limit the time you spend on social media otherwise you can feel overwhelmed. Keep up-to-date using only factual information from the World Heath Organisation (WHO) and Government websites. 

Keep connected. There are so many ways for us all to keep in contact now – phone, Skype, whatsapp, social media, email. Use this time as an opportunity to catch up with distant friends or family who you've been meaning to contact for a while.

Get fresh air. Make use of your windows and keep the curtains open in the day to let light in. You could even start to grow plants on your windowsill (sweet peas are good). If you have a garden, go out in it and if you don’t, you can go out once a day for a run, walk or cycle. This should be done alone or only with people you live with.

Further advice is available on the Combat Stress website Here                                                
Housing

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.  
 

Helping disabled people, older people and members of the armed forces community to find the right home in the right place

FIND OUT MORE

If you are a member of the Armed Forces, a veteran or still serving, finding a suitable home on civvy street can be one of the hardest things you will do, especially if you are an older person or have a disability.


Scottish Veterans Residences – Update on Service Provision

As another Covid-19 lockdown begins we are issuing this update on Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR)’s housing support services for Veterans.

Our Residences will remain open and continue to provide accommodation, catering and support for Veterans in need. We will continue to take referrals for support for homeless Veterans through the normal referral pathways. Assessments may be conducted remotely or in person, depending on the individual’s circumstances. We will mitigate the risk of continuing to take referrals by asking the individual Veteran about their health and observing them for relevant symptoms. We are likely to offer accommodation on provision that the individual self-isolates, with our support, in their room or flat for the first 10 days.

We would encourage anyone who is aware of a Veteran in need of accommodation and support to contact us. Self-referrals from Veterans are also welcome.

www.svronline.org 0131 556 0091 info@svronline.org

News and Other Updates

SSAFA’s Forcesline helping to combat isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Last year, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity were awarded a grant by the DCMS to help alleviate loneliness and isolation amongst the Armed Forces community during the Covid-19 outbreak and pandemic.

Part of this grant was dedicated to SSAFA’s Forcesline, a free and confidential telephone helpline, email and webchat service.

Forcesline is available to all members of the Armed Forces community, including serving personnel, veterans and their families.

The helpline acts as a ‘front’ door’ to the wider support services offered by the charity and beyond. Forcesline can be a telling indicator for the overall wellbeing of the military community currently serving (regulars and reserves), veterans and their families.

The service allows individuals the space and time to discuss their problems with an experienced advisor, who can offer an ear to listen, for as long as they need. Many callers contact Forcesline having not spoken to anyone about their issues or experiences, and the ability to talk to another person who listens to them can make a huge difference.

The support offered to those feeling lonely and isolated will vary and the individual will often be referred to a local SSAFA branch or signposted to another SSAFA service, or one of our partner organisations, to help with their specific needs.

         

Veterans' Gateway

As you may be aware the Veterans Gateway have recently launch their VG App which looks to support service users across the whole of the United Kingdom.  If you are a member of an organisation that is not currently listed and wish to be included, you should follow the links below.

Ladies and gentlemen,
 
Our combined and continued delivery of services under current COVID-19 restrictions has placed a greater reliance on digital and telephone services to ensure that we continue to support the Armed Forces Community (AFC) across Scotland.  As you may be aware Poppyscotland is one of the 4 consortium partners (along with SSAFA, Combat Stress and RBL) who deliver the Veterans’ Gateway service that has been in existence since April 2017.  We are now in the process of working closely with Patzi Cacchio, the VG Co-ordinator and Dr Matt Kiernan and his team at Northumbria University to broaden awareness of your services and locations and for the Armed Forces Community to access them via the Mobile App that can be downloaded from the Play Store or Apple Store via this link: 

Google Play Store Listing: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rview_mobile&hl=en_US
 
Apple Store Listing: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/Veterans-Gateway-Directory-UK/id1488014248  
 
The App is proving to be invaluable and since its launch in May 2020 the directory has expanded to include approximately 17,000 markers to date across the UK, each representing a service available to veterans or service families.  The Consortium remain encouraged by these initial findings, but we think collectively it is possible to increase the breadth and depth of listings in Scotland with your help.   There are 2 areas that we would ask you to consider.
The first is to consider being listed on the App, which is a straightforward process, for ease we have attached the Local Support Directory User Guide.

To ensure your service can be listed please complete the attached VFDS template (spreadsheet) and then submitting it to be check for completeness before the details are submitted to Northumbria University to upload to the system.


Secondly if you are listed already may I encourage you to go to  https://www.veteransgateway.org.uk/local-support/ to ensure that your listing is correct, as your services, focus or contact details may have changed . Again, please use the attached directory template (VFDS) for submitting any amendments and in both cases forward to Danny Renowden d.renowden@poppyscotland.org.uk

 VFDS template (spreadsheet)

Can we also take this opportunity to mention that you may also wish to be listed as a Referral Partner or Information Organisation on Veterans’ Gateway, details of these are at https://www.veteransgateway.org.uk/become-veterans-gateway-supporter/

Working closely with our partners and particularly Veterans’ Scotland the intention is to increase access to your services through these additional channels.  Once listed more veterans and their families will have greater visibility of the services you provide and all from the convenience of their mobile device or tablet; at a time when we know the need is increasing, along with the complexity of support need and for many this could be their first foray in to gaining information, advice, and support.
 
Kind regards 
 
Patrizia Cacchio
Veterans’ Gateway Coordinator
www.veteransgateway.org.uk
Twitter: @veteransgateway
Facebook: VeteransGateway


    

Supporting veterans' transition to civilian life through employment


Last year the government announced its intention to introduce a National Insurance Contributions holiday for employers who hire veterans - today the consultation responses were published, ahead of its introduction in April.


Download the full outcome

Supporting veterans' transition into civilian life through employment: summary of responses

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