26 June 2020 (Edition - Issue 33)


Saturday 27 June 2020

Armed Forces Day is a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. There are many ways for people, communities and organisations across the country to show their support and get involved.

Extra funding for service charities as veterans’ support is stepped up

This week the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and the MOD have announced that 100 Armed Forces charities will benefit from nearly £6million of extra funding to support serving personnel, veterans and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • £6million of new funding announced for 100 military charities across the UK
  • Consultation will be launched in July on tax relief for businesses that employ veterans
  • Enhanced support for ex-service personnel announced during Armed Forces week part of government’s drive to make the UK the best country to be a veteran

Today the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) and the MOD have announced that 100 Armed Forces charities will benefit from nearly £6million of extra funding to support serving personnel, veterans and their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

This is part of a package of support announced by the Chancellor in April to ensure charities can continue their vital work during the pandemic.

The charities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that are benefitting from this funding range from smaller local charities to bigger, more well-known names.

The charities provide support to veterans and serving personnel in a range of different areas, including employment, mental health and wellbeing, physical health, and recovery and support for service families.

As part of the government’s commitment to supporting service personnel throughout their military and civilian lives, next month a consultation will also be launched on employers paying no National Insurance contributions on the salary of any veteran they take on during their first year of civilian employment.

This delivers on the government’s manifesto commitment to encourage businesses to further utilise the immense skills and experience that veterans can bring to businesses.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

Today we mark and give thanks to our veterans for the outstanding service which they have given to this country. To show our appreciation we’re advancing veterans issues across government, through the Office for Veterans’ Affairs. I’m delighted as well to confirm extra funding for service charities to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

If it wasn’t for the brave servicemen and women who serve and protect our country, we would not have a United Kingdom to call our home.

That’s why we must continue to do everything we can to support our veterans through these challenging times.

Under the plans announced in this year’s Budget, an employer taking on a veteran earning £25k will save around £2,000 in NICs.

General Sir John McColl, Chairman of the Confederation of Service Charities, said:

This emergency funding is a very welcome step towards sustaining life-saving support for those in need across the Armed Forces Community. The Service Charity Sector has once again demonstrated great imagination and determination in adapting its delivery methods during this crisis, and we look forward to continuing to work with the MOD and the OVA to sustain these vital services in the coming months as the true impact of the pandemic is fully felt by charities throughout the Sector.

Employers currently pay Employers’ National Insurance contributions of 13.8% of the employee’s salary. Under this measure, they will be able to save this cost on an employee’s salary up to the Upper Earnings Limit (£50,000).

Recently the OVA announced the launch of a study to look at whether COVID-19 has had any specific impact on the veteran community in the UK. This in turn will allow policy makers in government to understand potential issues affecting veterans and respond accordingly based on expert advice and evidence.

The OVA, which was created last year, is ensuring that the whole of government is delivering better outcomes for veterans, particularly in areas such as mental health, employment and housing. It is working in partnership with government departments, the Devolved Administrations and charities to coordinate activity across the United Kingdom.

The role of the OVA includes:

  • Pulling together all functions of government, and better coordinating charity sector provision, in order to ensure this nation’s life-long duty to those who have served
  • Ensuring that every single veteran and their family knows where to turn to access support when required
  • Helping to generate a ‘single view of the veteran’ by making better use of data to understand veterans’ needs and where gaps in provision exist
  • Improving the perception of veterans
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.


Veterans Scotland Information Booklet

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

Resettlement Guides

The Resettlement Guides include useful reference documents, articles for further reading and comprehensive listings of links to external sites relevant to each topic. Some guides also include checklists to highlight the key points. Save the checklists to myPlan and use them as reminders of actions to be taken as you progress through your resettlement. The CTP Editorial team are adding new content regularly to provide you with pertinent information on all areas of resettlement.

Employment & Training Support

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 for more information.


Join the new third sector employability community

SCVO has come together with the Third Sector Employability Forum (TSEF) to combine the knowledge within TSEF and its network on employability, and the capacity of SCVO to reach the whole of the voluntary sector and to liaise with government.

TSEF provides an effective, collective, voice for all voluntary sector organisations operating in the field of employability services to communicate views to both central and local government in order to influence public services, how they are funded and how they are commissioned.

We’ve worked in partnership to create a free online community of interest where you can ask, answer, inform, share, discuss and celebrate all matters employability.. To join please email

Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Find out if you’re eligible, and how much your employer can claim if they put you on temporary leave ('furlough') because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance page was updated on 12 June to include details on how the scheme will change from 1 July.

The first time you will be able to make claims for days in July will be 1 July, you cannot claim for periods in July before this point.

31 July is the last day that you can submit claims for periods ending on or before 30 June.

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

Your employer can apply for a grant to cover part of your your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

You’ll still be paid by your employer and pay taxes from your income. You cannot undertake work for your employer while on furlough.

From 1 July 2020, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim a grant for the hours not worked. For your employer to be eligible to claim from this date they must previously submitted a claim for you in relation to a furlough period of at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June. For the minimum 3 consecutive week period to be completed by 30 June, the last day you could have been furloughed for the first time was 10 June. This may differ if you were returning from statutory parental leave or are a returning military reservist.

From 1 August 2020, your employer will be asked to contribute towards the cost of your wages to ensure you continue to receive at least 80% of your wages whilst on furlough. Find out more information on how the amount of grant available through Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is changing.

More spaces added to online cyber security courses after high demand from Scottish pupils

More young people in Scotland, particularly girls, are being invited to take part in a new series of free, online cyber security courses this summer, giving them the opportunity to develop valuable digital skills and enrich their problem-solving abilities. The free CyberFirst courses, created by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) in partnership with skills...

Read more

Funding & Financial Support

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:  .  

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

Funding to bring Forces communities together

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (the Trust) has launched an exciting new funding programme to support creative and engaging projects supporting the Armed Forces community during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, the Forces Communities Together programme will award grants of up to £10,000 for six-month projects that can take place during social restrictions and bring some joy to those who can’t access services or have limited contact during this period of isolation.

Tap into your creative side

Director of Grants for the Trust, Carol Stone explains:

“With many children from Armed Forces families, older veterans and younger veterans who might be on their own, isolated at home, this funding provides opportunities for creative ideas to reach people in their homes, perhaps through technology. Your project could also reach serving personnel and Reservists – this is a programme which is open to your ideas.”

Charities, Community Interest Companies, schools and Armed Forces units and bases can all apply. You must follow all appropriate government advice regarding Covid-19 during the delivery of your project.

The Trust is keen to stress that applicants must show they can deliver their project while any movement restrictions are still in place. Those awarded funding will be asked to get started quickly after receiving their offer.

Find out more

The closing date for applications is noon on 30 June 2020 with decisions made by the end of August.

Full programme details, guidance and resources are available via the Trust’s website and groups are invited to apply via the Trust’s online portal.


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.
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.

Other News and Updates

Trellis Coffee & Chat Sessions
Next Wednesday, 1 July, 2020
10:30 -11:30 

Join us with your cuppa for a chat online via Zoom on the 1st Wednesday every month from 10:30-11:30
Inspiration, ideas, and a chance to talk to others trying to run gardening groups whilst negotiating physical distancing, good hygiene and Phase 1 of Covid-19 Route Map!

Topic - 1st July - Phased Return to Gardening
Please ensure you are aware of the resources available in the Plans and Risk Assessment section of  the Stay Well and Garden web page before attending this meeting.

If you'd like to join in there are 12 seats available at the coffee table, email
to reserve a seat on 1st July.

If you can't commit to booking a place at the moment, click on the link below at 10:30 on the day 
 if there is a spare seat at the table, you''ll be welcome to join us.

Good company supplied - bring you're own coffee!

The latest edition of OSCR newsletter is now live. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can view it here:

Things to Keep you busy

Looking for things to keep you occupied at home then why not check out the Instructables website and sign up for their weekly newsletter.

Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub

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