16 October 2020 (Edition - Issue 47)

Military veterans railcard

Captain Sir Tom Moore has been presented with the first new discount railcard for military veterans.

The card allows some 830,000 veterans not eligible for existing railcards to get a discount off fares.

At his Bedfordshire home, Sir Tom, who served in World War Two, was presented with the card by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

Capt Sir Tom Moore
The veteran raised almost £33m for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden before his 100th birthday in April.

Sir Tom said: "This is a wonderful occasion to accept the first veterans' railcard.

"It is a rare opportunity to show thanks and gratitude to veterans and this railcard is a necessary recognition and investment in veterans," he added.

Mr Shapps said he was "delighted" to present Sir Tom with the scheme's first card.

"Through his service and his inspirational fundraising, he has shown the selflessness and indomitable spirit of all those who have served."

The railcard is part of the government's veterans strategy, which aims to provide them with support in areas such as relationships, employment, health, finance and housing.

Charles Byrne, director general of The Royal British Legion, welcomed the card "at a time when many veterans are facing significant financial hardship".

The annual railcard gives up to a third off fares and would normally cost £30.

Capt Sir Tom Moore and Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary

Capt Sir Tom, a Guinness World Record holder, captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising garden laps.

He set up The Captain Tom Foundation to help NHS staff, released an autobiography and achieved a number one single with his version of You'll Never Walk Alone, alongside Michael Ball.

New veterans rail card launched

Scottish veterans can now benefit from a new rail card which not only allows a 34% discount on travel but also sees an introductory discount scheme.

The veterans rail card being introduced for purchase from today, initially priced at £21 per year, allows holders to travel across the country at reduced fares.

To encourage uptake, the Scottish Government is also funding a further discount scheme whereby anyone resident in Scotland registering between now and 31 March 2021 will be eligible for a £6 rail voucher making the initial cost just £15.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity said:

“The Scottish Government recognises and values the contribution our veterans have made to their country. Active members of our forces have benefited from discounted rail for some time now and it is only fitting that the Rail Delivery Group has now extended such a scheme to those who have given service in the past.

“That is why I am delighted to have authorised participation in this veterans rail card scheme, as well as confirming funding for an introductory discount for veterans resident in Scotland. “

Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said:

“We are committed to providing the best possible support for our veterans and their families, ensuring they can benefit from the same discounted travel as serving members of our Armed Forces.

“This commitment is part of our ongoing ambition to make Scotland the destination of choice for Service leavers and their families, offering high living standards, great job prospects and a society that recognises and values their contribution.”

Further info

  • Veterans Railcards can be obtained by applying through the RDG website, telesales or via postal application.
  • Scottish veterans’ name and address will be shared with ScotRail (Abellio Shared Service Centre) to issue a £6 National Rail Travel Voucher

Card Benefits

  • The Veterans Railcard will be available as a 1-year product for £21 until 31 March 2021 (after this date it retails at £30),
  • A 3-year product is also available for £61 until 31 March 2021 (after this date it retails at £70).
  • The card will offer 34% discount on Standard and First Class Anytime, Off-Peak, Super Off-Peak and Advance fares, with a Minimum fare of £12 applying Monday – Friday between 04:30 and 09:59, excluding public holidays and July and August.
  • The cardholder can specify a named companion at time of purchase who will also receive 34% discount, but only when travelling with the cardholder.
  • Up to 4 children aged 5-15 can also travel at 60% discount, but only when travelling with the cardholder.


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


Veterans Scotland Information Booklet

The updated copy of the information booklet (August 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

SDS Individual Training Accounts (ITA)

 Get up to £200 towards the cost of a training course with an SDS Individual Training Account (ITA).

Use the money to build the skills you need for a job. Or get some training to take your career to the next level.

And because it's not a loan, you don't have to pay it back.

Applying for your ITA

Applications are now open until the 28th February 2021 or until we accept up to 28,000 applications, whichever comes first. 

Skills assessment

Find out about careers that might be right for you by taking one of our assessments

A skills assessment can be helpful at any stage of your career, like when you:

  • start your career
  • return to work
  • progress your career

Transferable skills are a set of skills that you’re good at. You can build them up over time, through work, volunteering, education and life. You can apply these skills to a range of jobs.

You may want to take an assessment to help you:

  • find out what interests and motivates you
  • identify your skills
  • find out what you can do with the skills you have

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. 

New research shows online and blended learning “better than traditional instruction”

A new study which analysed 1,500 academic papers dating back to the year 2000 has concluded that online or blended learning is preferable to conventional teaching in schools. The large-scale review of research, conducted by the University of Dundee, reveals that 61% (946) of the 1,540 studies showed that digital technology was "better than traditional instruction." MORE
Funding & Financial Support



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.

Additional support will also be available to bidders if desired. Evaluation Support Scotland will be providing a session on defining project outcomes on Monday 12 October 2020 from 0930 to 1230. 

Additionally, the Scottish Government will be running a one hour session providing overview of the scheme, application form and hold a Q&A session the following day. If you are interested in attending one or both of these sessions, please let Ally Forrester know at

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.

Scottish Government press release on the Scottish Veterans Fund

Tackling Loneliness deadline extended

The Tackling Loneliness programme provides funding for projects that support people within the Armed Forces community who can be harder to reach; helping them gain skills and confidence so they are less impacted by loneliness.

We can award a grant of £70,000 for a two-year period.

Responding to the need of applicants

The ongoing impact of the Covid pandemic has made it challenging for organisations to plan their activities in 2021 and 2022. We are responding to this by giving organisations more time to complete their applications for this programme.

The new application deadline is noon on 30 October 2020.

If you are thinking about your application, do remember that we will cover a fair amount of the costs to your organisation of delivering the project. These are sometimes called core costs.

Support during Covid

We also know restrictions that have been brought in to control the spread of Covid can mean that organisations need to change their plans.

We’ve worked with lots of our current grant holders to help them make changes to their grant so they can deliver their work in different ways. If you are awarded a grant and need to make changes as a result of Covid, then we will work with you on this.

The Tackling Loneliness programme

Your project should meet the needs of one or more of the groups in our programme guidance  and should also fit with at least one of the main themes of this programme.

  • Building stronger social networks and friendships.
  • Improving access to local activities and provision.
  • Building emotional resilience to overcome the causes of loneliness.
  • Empowering Armed Forces communities to become more independent.

If you have already submitted an application ahead of the original deadline, but would like to make changes within the time available, please contact us at

Find out more

For more information, please visit our Tackling Loneliness programme page

Grants available to help seafarers and their families

Seafarers UK is inviting organisations providing welfare services for seafarers impacted by Covid-19 to apply for grants.

Earlier this year Seafarers UK’s trustees released £2 million of additional funding in response to the coronavirus pandemic. More than £1 million has already been dispersed, including grants awarded to ISWAN, London Tilbury Seafarers’ Centre, Mission to Seafarers and Stella Maris.

Seafarers UK is seeking more applications for funding from charities and other not-for-profit organisations providing support for seafarers and their families both in the UK and overseas.

Chief Executive Officer Catherine Spencer said:

“From paying to provide portable MiFi units for use by seafarers stranded on ships stuck in port, to our ongoing support for vital initiatives such as ISWAN’s Seafarers Emergency Fund, grants made by Seafarers UK are helping to relieve the distress and anxiety suffered by many seafarers, including those caught up in the crew change crisis.”

Further information is available on the Seafarers UK site where grant applications can be made online.

The Veterans’ Foundation continues to provide pandemic-based and other grants.  The former may be considered out-of-committee and decided upon within a week.  The deadlines for normal grant applications this year is the the end of Dec 20.  The maximum grant in both circumstances is £30K and the application process is online, here:

If you have any queries, please contact us at

Grants for community groups

Midlothian Council Grant Funding

Small grants

Midlothian Council small grants are now open for applications up to £2000. 

Community groups, charities and social enterprises can apply under these funding streams:

  • Developing Communities
  • Employability, Learning and Training
  • Health and Physical Activity
  • Poverty. 

Funding is available from 1 April 2021. Projects must be completed by 31 March 2022.

Applications close on Sunday 18 October 2020.

Funding sourcesFundraising

Funding websites

Funds Online - the all-new funding website. Access over 8,000 funders giving a total of £8 billion! Find out more below now and subscribe today.

Funding at your fingertips

Find funding for your charity, community group or social enterprise using our free online search engine. From small grants to funding for big capital projects, we can help you track down the funding you need to make a difference in your community.

To see what is available, search for funds. To see full fund details and more than one page of results, please sign up or sign in.

Health Support & Informattion

A conversation with the people of Scotland


What has been your health and wellbeing experience during COVID-19 and what matters to you, your family and those you care for?

The Cabinet Secretary has invited the ALLIANCE as a member of the Mobilisation Recovery Group (this link will take you away from our website), to lead engagement work with people in Scotland to ensure the perspective of people who access support and services, that the voice of lived experience is heard.

COVID-19 has tested Scotland’s public services like never before, but it also presents an opportunity to redesign services with citizens and what matters to them at the heart. This conversation seeks to engage in a dialogue about the future of health and care in Scotland and to co-produce practical proposals for creating services fit for a ‘New Reality’ post-pandemic.

The ALLIANCE are hosting 5 online events in partnership with Healthcare Improvement Scotland on the following dates:

We would be delighted to be joined by you and would be grateful if you could share these events amongst your networks.

The mental health and treatment needs of UK ex-military personnel

A new report released by FiMT found that veterans who served in recent conflicts are more likely to suffer from certain mental health conditions and alcohol misuse than the general public.

The mental health and treatment needs of UK ex-military personnel, by Dr Laura Goodwin (University of Liverpool) and Dr Deirdre MacManus (King’s College London) and funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), assessed UK veterans who served during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also examined current support available through NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services which provide psychological therapies to patients with mild to moderate mental health disorders.

Although most ex-Service personnel adapt well when transitioning to civilian life, the research found that overall, veterans were more likely to report common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and alcohol misuse, than non-veterans. Male veterans seem to be worse affected and were more likely to experience mental health issues than male non-veterans, whilst there was no significant difference for female veterans as compared to female non-veterans. Male veterans were also more likely to report problematic drinking behaviours (such as symptoms of dependence) than non-veterans, and both male and female veterans were more likely to report drinking at a hazardous level than non-veterans.

Local lockdown rules: Check Covid restrictions in your area

Coronavirus rules vary depending on whether you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

Millions of people are also affected by extra local restrictions, with England now divided into three tiers.

The rules highlighted in the search tool are a selection of the key government restrictions in place in your area.

Always check your relevant national and local authority website for more information on the situation where you live. Also check local guidance before travelling to others parts of the UK.

All the guidance in our look-up comes from national government and local authority websites.

For more information on national measures see:



Housing Support

Ending homelessness together: updated action plan, September 2020

This is the updated Ending Homelessness Together action plan, which outlines how national government, local government and third sector partners will work together on our shared ambition to end homelessness and has been updated to reflect actions needed in response to the global coronavirus pandemic

Tackling and preventing homelessness remains a national priority and coronavirus has shown we can and must accelerate our ambitions to end homelessness and rough sleeping in Scotland. The updated action plan sets out our plans for tackling and preventing homelessness with renewed impetus and strengthened cooperation. The updated action plan builds on the original action plan and subsequent annual report and does not replace it.

Ending Homelessness Together: Updated action plan, October 2020


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

Help for Heroes – New Case Management System

Help for Heroes has introduced a new case management system into its recovery services to ensure veterans get the support they deserve and feel empowered to take control of their own recovery.

In changes to the Help for Heroes Welfare service, veterans with multiple or complex support needs will now be referred to a Case Manager who will assess, plan, coordinate, monitor and evaluate the options and services required to meet their recovery needs. When needed, we are introducing Case Conferences to ensure a multi-team input into the veteran’s recovery journey.

Carol Betteridge, Head of Welfare and Clinical Services, said:

At Help for Heroes, we believe those who serve our country deserve support when they are wounded . Every day, men and women have to leave their career in the Armed Forces as a result of physical or psychological wounds; their lives and the lives of their loved ones are changed forever.

“We support our beneficiaries to break down barriers, regain control of their lives; the gateway to the person they want to be. A Case Manager will encourage and support the veteran to achieve independence, and build a sustainable recovery in their own lives and to become their own problem solver wherever possible.

“A Case Manager is the point of contact throughout the journey and the conduit to support with identified areas of need. When a veteran / Case Manager relationship works well, then the veteran’s experience is enhanced, increasing the effectiveness of the interventions and leading to positive and sustainable outcomes in recovery. A Case Manager will be the link that ties all the threads together.”

The Case Management Process consists of 6 key phases through which case managers provide care to their veterans:

  1. Allocation following a request for support.
  2. Assessment following referral form.
  3. Goal setting using SMART goals, reviewed at regular intervals to assess progress.
  4. Identifying risks that can jeopardise a recovery journey.
  5. Communicating and liaison with internal and external agencies.
  6. Evaluation and completion of the recovery journey.

One of the goals of case management is to coach the veteran to look to their own strengths that will support them in the future to build recovery and social capital, by giving a box of tools to help cope with the curves that life throws up, or like a “healthy well being bank account” that can be drawn on in times of need and restocked in times of bonus.

Carol added:

“There will be a clear ‘Beginning, Middle and End’ of Case Management support which will be fully explained to all Case Managed veterans.  This manages expectations, creates independence and empowers veterans to achieve their recovery goals.

“We want to get them to a position whereby they can positively integrate into their community once their case management is completed.”

AJ Case Management supported Help for Heroes to develop its framework and processes for case management following Case Management UK principles. Wendy Richardson, who helped train the staff, said:

“The team at Help for Heroes have embraced the concept of case management and have developed their own model of how the Help for Heroes case management service will operate to support beneficiaries.

“I have worked with the whole team to develop training, processes and workshops to enable the charity to offer a beneficiary focused service that is outcome focused.”

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