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20 November 2020 (Edition - Issue 51)

Inform people make better choices and better choices lead to successful transition

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


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

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.

 
Education, Employment & Training Support

GET INTO CYBER


The cyber security sector is now growing 4x faster than any other sector - and demand continues to increase during the COVID pandemic. You may be thinking that cyber is just for the techies but a generalist military background can be enough to enter into the cyber industry as employers really value the security knowledge, skills and experience you bring.
 
So, if you're interested in finding out more about how to get into the cyber industry or would like to access relevant opportunities specifically for veterans, SaluteMyJob can help. SaluteMyJob’s improved cyber solution offers free support and opportunities to Service leavers and veterans at any stage of their career path; from those interested in a cyber career but not sure how to get there to those with a high level of cyber security experience.
  • Valuable cyber resources, guides and best practice
  • Free online digital training courses
  • Job shadowing and paid work placement opportunities
  • Job opportunities
FIND OUT MORE HERE
 
TOP JOBS FOR VETERANS: Scotland Jobs
  
VIEW ALL JOBS
 
 

Routes to Higher Education in Scotland.


Delivered by Stirling University’s Widening Participation Manager. Tues 15th Dec, 10-11am

The University of Stirling will be presenting a session on the different routes to higher education and information about the courses available at the University of Stirling. This session is suitable for armed forces personnel, veterans and service families, including service children in their final few years of school. The session will cover all options available and which qualifications are require for university; how to apply to university; which courses are available at the University of Stirling; and the type of support available at universities and colleges in Scotland.
 

Join Zoom Meeting
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Meeting ID: 864 455 1128
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Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/ac4THizo9z

Funding & Financial Support

 
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


What funding is available?
 
You can access a grant of up to £20,000 for a project taking place for up to one year
 
Local Authorities are welcome to apply
 
 
What could we apply to do?
We will fund a wide range of projects under this programme. However, you must be able to show us that your project fits under one of these two main themes.
  • Empowering Armed Forces communities to become more engaged in their local area.
  • Providing opportunities for isolated members of the Armed Forces community to take part in activities that improve general wellbeing.
This year, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be particularly welcoming applications for projects that help Armed Forces communities move to the ‘new normal’ while continuing to support local needs and reduce isolation. You could apply for work that builds on an earlier project you have been involved with or for a completely new idea. Your project will however, need to show that it is delivering a direct benefit to people from Armed Forces communities, and that it will help to reduce isolation.
 
When do I need to apply by?
Applications close at noon on 30th November. Find out more and apply here

                      

 

Scottish Veterans Fund 2021-2022

The £200,000 Scottish Veterans Fund is open for bids from projects that improve the lives of former service personnel. The 2021/22 fund, supported by the Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen, also funds groups who help the families of veterans. This year the criteria has been extended to include projects which address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the veterans community.

Copies of the grant application form and application guidance document are available via the links below.  Please note these have been updated from previous years forms and guidance.

http://www.veteransscotland.co.uk/

Scottish Government press release on the Scottish Veterans Fund
 

The Closing date for bids is Monday 30th November 2020

Health & Wellbeing Support


Updated COVID-19 protection levels supported

Introduction of regulations to reduce transmission rates and keep people safe.

Measures to suppress the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been supported in a debate and vote in the Scottish Parliament today.

Eleven local authorities will now move into the highest protection level at 6pm Friday evening as efforts continue to suppress the incidence of in the weeks up to Christmas.

Regulations preventing people who live in a Level 3 or Level 4 area from travelling outside their local authority except for an essential purpose will also come into force.

The changes to protection levels will remain in place for three weeks until Friday 11 December.

Housing Support


Veterans Housing Scotland has over 100 years’ experience in providing homes for disabled Veterans.


We are extremely proud of our history and of the service we have provided to those who have served their country yet we are equally excited about our future and how we as a charity will continue to work with and support members of the Veterans Housing Scotland family. Our vision is to offer the Veterans Housing Scotland family much more than just a home but also, through coordination and cooperation with specialist partners, ensure that those of our veterans and their families who are in need of support get that support when and where required – as demonstrated in our strapline ‘building lives; building communities’. 
 
We are delighted to announce the forthcoming release of Veterans Housing Scotland homes at various locations across the country. Please check our Applicants page on our website https://www.vhscot.org.uk/applicants/ to establish where our homes are, see if you meet the criteria and then follow the referral pathway by contacting our partner Housing Options Scotland preferably via their website https://housingoptionsscotland.org.uk/
 

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


What impact has Veterans' Foundation had on the Veterans' community?

We’ve just released our Impact Report for our latest financial year, ended June 2020 (see below).

Like the rest of the charity sector, we have experienced huge and unprecedented challenges resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic but I am pleased to report that, in spite of this, the Veterans’ Foundation is in good health and has done its utmost, as a grant-giving charity, to provide financial assistance to charities and other organisations directly helping and supporting veterans in need. We awarded £1.9 million of grants in the financial year and have awarded a further £800,000 since then.

We are most grateful for your interest in the Veterans’ Foundation and encourage you to share our Impact Report with others who might be interested. Do let us know if you have any questions or would like to receive any of our Impact Reports in hard copy.

CEO, David Shaw - November 2020

View our Impact Report for year ended June 2020

Brian's story

Brian is a husband, a dad, a veteran, and a dab hand in the garden. He’s also lived with post-traumatic stress disorder for ten years.

Brian, an infantryman of 13 years, was medically discharged due to an injury sustained in active service. In an attempt to cope with PTSD linked to his military service, he turned to alcohol. Drinking took its toll on Brian’s health when he developed cirrhosis of the liver and it impacted horribly on his family life, marriage and friendships. “I’d drink to forget, end up letting someone down, and then drink to forget the shame of having let them down. It was a vicious circle.”

When Brian contacted services to get help for his PTSD, he was turned away because of his alcoholism. That’s when he heard about Thistle.

“I was hesitant about going. I wasn’t sure it was for me. But I needed to do something so I went, and it was like a breath of fresh air. I was in a room of like-minded people who I could talk to about what was going on inside my head.

Making the benefits system fit for Service


The 2020 report explores how disabled veterans experience the social security system and the unique barriers that they face to accessing statutory support.

The report will focus on aspects of the benefits system that most impact disabled veterans’ ability to access and manage benefit claims and statutory support to gain employment, as well the effect this has on their overall health and wellbeing.

Legion’s launch of the our new research report Making the Benefits System Fit for Work. The report is now available online and can be found here: www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/things-to-do/campaigns-policy-and-research/campaigns/making-the-benefits-system-fit-for-service
 
The report explores the experiences of injured veterans who are in receipt of compensation awards and accessing the UK’s social security system. As the UK’s leading provider of welfare advice and support within the veterans charity sector, the Legion and Poppyscotland believe that the current journey through the benefits system can create unique barriers, challenges and opportunities for those who are injured in Service who wish to access the support the UK’s benefits system offers. We hope this report helps in exploring those and where possible, identifies potential opportunities for improvements.
 
Key findings from the report include:
  • Some injured veterans are being denied their full entitlement to employment-related benefits and pension credit because the state regards their military compensation as normal income. The means testing of compensation does not always follow the principle set out in the Armed Forces Covenant of no disadvantage as a result of Service;
  • 63% of survey respondents who applied for ESA and 76% who applied for PIP found completing the form 'difficult' or 'very difficult';
  • 8% of respondents claiming ESA and 20% claiming PIP believed the assessor considered their Service Medical Records;
  • Better inter-departmental data sharing would likely produce tangible improvements for veterans accessing both compensation and benefits from different government agencies; and
  • There is scope at this critical stage for Social Security Scotland to ensure that veterans living in Scotland’s needs are addressed as powers are devolved.

Scottish Government Support for the Veterans and Armed Forces Community 2020 

This report highlights the Scottish Government’s continuing support for the Veterans and Armed Forces community in Scotland and provides an update on this year’s achievements and work undertaken to improve support and access to services for our Armed Forces, Veterans and their families.

Download the full report here.

Replacement for European Structural Funds

Meeting Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities.

Plans for a Scottish replacement for European Structural Funds after EU exit have been published.

The new Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund (SSPF) will ensure Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities are met, with a key focus on addressing and reducing economic and social disparity.

Regional partners will play a key role in the SSPF – leading on allocation of funding and programme development for their area.

Trade Minister Ivan McKee said he expects the UK Government to transfer full control over replacement funding to the Scottish Government.

Mr McKee said:

“EU Structural Funds have been key to Scotland’s economic development over the past 40 years, investing more than £5.6 billion into a wide range of projects. As the United Kingdom crashes out of the EU at the end of next month so Scotland will no longer have access to such funds.

“Since the UK Government announced its intention to establish a UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) to replace these funds in 2018, it has failed to engage meaningfully with the devolved nations, providing no detail on how such a fund might work, how much funding will be available and what it will fund in future. Scottish Ministers and officials continue to try to engage with the UK Government to secure the information needed to plan for the future. However, the Scottish Government has also sought to develop a position on future funding priorities to ensure Scotland’s distinctive needs and priorities are met. 

“The proposals we are publishing today for a Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund have been produced following 12 months of consultation and with the support of an expert Steering Group. We will now go on to develop the Fund involving key partners, especially local authorities. And we will continue to press the UK Government for full replacement of all lost EU funds – Scotland must receive at least £1.283 billion for a replacement seven year programme for 2021 – 2027.

“We also expect full control over replacement funding to be given to Scotland. Ongoing attempts by the UK Government to undermine the devolution settlement in relation to powers and funding in this area will continue to be resisted vigorously.”

Background:

Scottish Shared Prosperity Fund

This paper has been produced following 12 months of extensive consultation with stakeholders around Scotland and with the support of an expert Steering Group, co-chaired by Professor David Bell of University of Stirling and Professor John Bachtler of University of Strathclyde.

The UK Government may announce details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.

Scottish Ministers will keep Parliament updated on progress of the SSPF.

Scottish Ministers and officials will continue to press the UK Government for full replacement of all lost EU Structural Funds.

The UK Government may announce details of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as part of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.



The Veterans & Families Research Hub was initiated by the  Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT)Lord Ashcroft and Anglia Ruskin University to:

“Provide an accessible, contemporary and authoritative repository of UK and international research-related resources and literature on military veterans and their families, including transitions to civilian lives, that informs and stimulates research, policy development, improved service delivery and journalistic enquiry.”

The Hub has been developed to enable a broad range of international users to share in the creation, discovery and understanding of evidence-based information about the military veteran family.  It is designed for those involved in research and its outputs to create, communicate and collaborate more efficiently.  It will support statutory and charity organisations to create better targeted and more efficient policies and services, and will assist in developing a better understanding of veterans’ matters across communities.

Click on the link below to find out more:


 

GOVTECH and Other News

NEW TOOLKIT LAUNCHED TO ACCELERATE ROLLOUT OF FREE WIFI IN SCOTLAND'S TOWN AND CITY CENTRES

A new toolkit has been launched to accelerate the rollout of free Wifi in Scotland’s town and city centres – to help bridge the digital divide and boost local economic fortunes. Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) has released a 28-page ‘guide to deploying WiFi networks for public bodies in Scotland’ which it hopes will lead to more consumers being better connected. STP, which promotes the vibrancy and diversity of the nation’s local high streets, believes that wider free WiFi is critical to a better experience for those using town centres – boosting the economy. It supports the Scottish Government’s view that making WiFi available in public spaces at no charge helps everyone better access digital services and information. MORE

 

Building a digital future -  lessons from lockdown and beyond

This year’s conference will focus on the digital response to COVID-19. In line with nations across the world, Scotland has turned to technology at an unprecedented rate, as systems were spun or scaled up in record time to ensure public services could be delivered as smoothly and efficiently as possible during lockdown.

Digital Scotland will hear from the public sector leaders who rose to the challenge of a global pandemic and delivered what most now agree was a period of several years of digital change compressed into a matter of weeks and months. And that disruption is still ongoing.

Leaders from local and central government, the NHS, education and justice have moved services to cloud-based systems, created shared data networks and made meaningful steps towards a common platforms approach that will allow the ‘Once for Scotland’ concept to become a reality.

Partnerships forged through programmes such as Connecting Scotland – the largest distribution of mobile devices and data ever to be undertaken – have not only helped bridge the digital divide but have brought together national and local government in a joint effort to refresh the national digital vision for Scotland.

£1M DIGITAL CARE HOMES FUND

shutterstock_1067089418

Around 1,400 care homes in Scotland will be able to apply for up to two iPads after a £1m government funding pledge was unveiled to support residents through the winter months. Care homes across the country will be entitled to receive the digital devices so residents can keep connected with friends and loved ones during lockdown, helping to reduce loneliness and isolation. MORE

GLOBAL TALENT VISA TECH BOOST

A new report has shown that almost a third of people arriving in Scotland under a government ‘global talent’ visa scheme are tech founders. According to research carried out by Tech Nation, 31% of people applying for the UK Government’s Global Talent visa – and moving to Scotland – are tech sector leaders, compared to 28% across the UK as a whole. MORE

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