02 April 2021 (Edition - Issue 13)

Enhanced Learning Credits, Further and Higher Education scheme changes for veterans

Changes to the Enhanced Learning Credits, Further Education and Higher Education schemes come into effect from 30 March 2021.

The Ministry of Defence is promoting lifelong learning among members of the Armed Forces and the veterans community by providing Learning Credits through the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme (ELC) and Further Education and Higher Education (FEHE) scheme.

The schemes entitle eligible service personnel and service leavers to receive financial assistance towards their learning.

From 30 March 2021, changes to the learning scheme policy will increase accessibility to the schemes and enable eligible veterans to use learning credits to gain personal and professional qualifications in a more flexible way.

Access to the ELC scheme and FEHE scheme has been extended to 10 years for veterans who left the Armed Forces between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 16 (both dates inclusive).

Veterans medically discharged on or after the 1 April 2011 and who receive a disablement pension under the War Pension Scheme, or a guaranteed income payment under the Armed Forces Compensation scheme, will have access to the ELC scheme and FEHE scheme for 10 years after discharge.

Veterans who left the Armed Forces on or after the 1 April 2016 will still have access to the ELC and FEHE scheme for 5 years after discharge.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:

We are committed to supporting our service people throughout their career in the armed forces and beyond. I am proud the learning credits schemes have formed an important part of this promise.

Extending the programme to 10 years means our veterans will receive long-term development opportunities and offer readily accessible support as they begin the next chapter of their lives after service.

More information on the schemes, and these changes, is available on the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service website.

Employment and Transition

BFRS Virtual Employment Fair – April 2021

This event is again Virtual, providing the AFC with a great opportunity to meet virtually and engage with companies seeking to recruit, support and guide the AFC into future careers. The event connects attendees with exhibitors, giving access to exhibitor’s websites, social media channels, videos, jobs, courses, downloadable company information, it allows appointments, sending messages and viewing live, and on demand webcasts, plus instant messaging facilities.
Could I ask you give this the widest circulation to those in the Armed Forces Community that you have contact with, and also promote on your website and social media. (Electronic poster attached.) Please do tag BFRS into any posts so we can like and share too!
For people to register, all they need to do is follow this link: Attendees will be able to access all the companies and content between 09.30hrs 20th April 2021 to 23.59hrs 22nd April 2021.
Funding & Financial Support

£6 million programme announced to help combat the effects of Covid on our Forces communities and those who support them!

We're delighted to announce grant awards of up to £100,000 to charities looking to sustain the activities and services most valued by their beneficiaries.

As well as a Project Track to help preserve the most well-used activities, there is a Core Track, specifically for Armed Forces charities, to help with running costs for the next 12 months.

Full details, including guidance on which Track might fit your organisation best, available on our website.
Find out more

First round of Force for Change programme in 2021, closing soon

The deadline for applications to Round 1 is midday 12 April - but don't worry, there is a second round closing on 2 August.

This year, grants of up to £10,000 are available to support nimble and focused local projects for Armed Forces communities, with a particular focus on those well-used and valued projects which are struggling as a result of the impact of the Covid pandemic. Click below for more details.
Find out more

Pathways into mental health services for UK veterans

We've recently added a new report to the Map of Need section on our website and invite you to take a look.

The Pathways into Mental Health Services for UK Veterans report, details the primary pathways into statutory or NHS/HSC provided care mental health services for veterans across the UK. 

What is the Map of Need?
The Northern Hub for Veterans and Families Research at Northumbria University used funding from Covenant Fund to develop a map of veterans’ and their families’ welfare needs across the whole of the UK, based on data from public sources, statistics, health data and data directly from Armed Forces charities.
Read the report

Have you downloaded the AFCT Project Finder yet?

Available for FREE from both the Apple and Google Play stores, it's the new way to find out more about and get involved with the Trust funded projects in your local areas.

Already featuring more than 150 Trust funded projects supporting veterans, Forces families and the wider Forces community, users can find opportunities to get active, get creative, improve their skills or access the provision they need.

Check it out below and download today!
Discover the app

Grants from The Veterans' Foundation

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 maximum grant in both circumstances is £30K, however, we have also introduced a few salary grants, 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: If you have any queries, please contact

Deadlines for submission through 2021 are as follows: 
  • 21 May

  • 27 August

  • 12 November

Guidance and Support

Armed Forces Covenant: guidance and support

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.


  1. Guidance
  2. Covenant for businesses
  3. Covenant for communities
  4. Covenant for serving personnel and families
  5. Covenant for veterans
  6. Covenant for policy makers

The government is committed to supporting the armed forces community by working with a range of partners who have signed the covenant. The covenant is a national responsibility involving government, businesses, local authorities, charities and the public.

Addressing commercial disadvantage

We are continually looking to identify areas in which the armed forces community is at a commercial disadvantage.

If you feel you have suffered commercial disadvantage because of you or your family members’ service, please take a moment to complete the short survey to let us take account of your experiences.

Terms and conditions

By signing the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) an organisation demonstrates its intention to support the Armed Forces community and provides the signatory with the opportunity to be recognised by the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award. An ERS award shows that the recipient is delivering tangible support for the Armed Forces community. The Ministry of Defence (MOD), as the representative of HM Government, welcomes these commitments and is grateful for the support being pledged and provided. However, neither signing the AFC nor achieving an ERS award should be taken to imply MOD endorsement of any individual or organisation.

ERS awards at Silver and Gold level are reviewed every five years, at which point they can be renewed for a further five years, providing the organisation is continuing to deliver support. However, at any time, the MOD reserves the right to withdraw an award and/or to remove an organisation from the register of AFC signatories, if it considers that the organisation is acting in a way that is incompatible with the spirit of the AFC or otherwise behaves in a way that could bring the AFC, the ERS or the MOD into disrepute.

By signing the AFC and/or achieving an ERS award, an organisation becomes eligible to use the Covenant and ERS logos. However, this permission remains at all times conditional upon complying with the branding guidelines. Any organisation that is removed from the AFC register or has an ERS award withdrawn must remove the related branding from all corporate material including but not limited to its websites, social media channels, publicity leaflets etc as soon as practicable.


A full list of Armed Forces Covenant policy and guidance documents is available here.


Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans and NHS Scotland Careers Survey

As a veteran or someone currently serving in the Armed Forces, we want to hear what you think about NHS Scotland careers. Please spare 2 minutes to complete our short survey. Your response will be used to inform the Scottish Government’s strategy for improving access to NHS Scotland careers for veterans.

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


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.

Information and Resources

Veterans Assist Scotland

The Veterans Assist Scotland Website has a wide range of information and advice available including the details for the various Armed Forces and Veterans Champions.

Veterans Assist Scotland (

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.


Veterans Scotland Information Booklet

An updated copy of the information booklet as at 25 March 2021 is available via the link below:

News and Other Updates

Nominations open for 2021 RAF Benevolent Fund Awards

Nominations for the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards are now open. The awards give the Fund an opportunity to acknowledge the efforts of all our supporters – from those tirelessly fundraising to others delivering our services on the ground in 2020. Do you know an Airplay Youth Worker who puts their all into supporting RAF children or an RAF station that got behind fundraising activities in a tough year? Or maybe you know an individual who volunteered their time to help an isolated veteran? If you know someone whose efforts deserve recognition, head to for more information and to submit your nominations.

Nominations for the six categories below are open until 9 April 2021. Above & Beyond For an extraordinary individual or group who have gone above and beyond to promote our work

Above & Beyond

For an extraordinary individual or group who have gone above and beyond to promote our work

Airplay Youth Worker of the Year

For an Airplay Youth Worker who has shown outstanding commitment to improving the wellbeing of RAF children

Fundraising Team of the Year

For a truly dedicated team of volunteers who have all worked tirelessly to fundraise for the RAF Benevolent Fund

RAF Station of the Year

For an RAF Station which has provided exceptional support to the RAF Benevolent Fund

Volunteer of the Year

For a volunteer who has shown outstanding commitment to reducing isolation for members of the RAF Family Welfare

Caseworker of the Year

For a welfare caseworker who has gone the extra mile for our veterans and their families.

Veterans UK Customer Satisfaction Survey 2021

Veterans UK are always trying to improve the services we deliver to our customers and one of the best ways to understand how we can make improvements is to ask the people who use our services.

The survey is open now and until midnight on Tuesday 6 April at 11.59pm.

If you would like to tell us about your experiences of using our Veterans UK services, please complete our Customer Satisfaction Survey 2021.

At Veterans UK (part of Defence Business Services) we are always trying to improve the services we deliver to our customers. One of the best ways to understand how we can make improvements is to ask the people who use our services how we can do better. We will use your responses, along with our Customer Service Excellence (CSE) and complaints feedback to shape our customer satisfaction action plan and build on our Vision “to support UK Defence customers with outstanding service every time”.

The survey will take no more than 10 minutes to complete, your responses will be completely confidential, and all data is handled in line with Ministry of Defence policy.

On Course Foundation press release – Welcoming our new Ambassadors

On Course Foundation is delighted to announce the arrival of two new Ambassadors with both Colin Montgomerie and Carly Booth agreeing to represent the military charity as it continues its mission to support the recovery of wounded Service personnel and veterans through the sport of golf.
Eight-time Ryder Cup player Colin Montgomerie is keen to extend his association with the Armed Forces having spent a few days in Afghanistan at Camp Bastion when he visited the troops in 2011, taking with him the Ryder Cup trophy that his team had won when he was Captain at Celtic Manor the previous year.  Carly is a three-time winner on the Ladies European Tour and has long held a passion for helping others and promoting the benefits of golf to people with disabilities.
The charity is proud to have two such high-profile names from the world of professional golf join its list of Ambassadors and help raise awareness of its work in using the sport to help its beneficiaries rehabilitation and return to a normal civilian life whilst looking to source employment opportunities within the game to ensure their long-term future.
On Course Foundation (OCF) continues to respond to a real need for positive provision for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and veterans – supporting their recovery and successful transition to civilian life through confidence building golf events and opportunities for employment in the golf industry.
W:         E:
Registered charity no. 1136618

178 Armed Forces charities helping tens of thousands to make ends meet, despite challenges of Covid-19

New research published today by the Directory of Social Change (DSC) has shed light on the financial support provided by Armed Forces charities.

Focus On: Armed Forces Charities’ Financial Support, funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), found that 178 Armed Forces charities provide financial support to at least 50,000 serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, spending at least £39 million in the year before the survey took place (July/August 2020). They represent around 10% of all Armed Forces charities currently operating in the UK.

The research highlighted the impact Covid-19 has had on the sector. Over three-quarters (77%) of the charities providing financial support surveyed for this study reported one or more negative consequences as a result of Covid-19, including a drop in fundraising or donated income (59%), having to pause services (43%) and depleted reserves (36%).

Data from survey respondents found that the most common types of financial support were grants or loans for essential goods (66%), benefits or welfare advice (55%), and cash gifts or vouchers to relieve need (43%). Charities also provide goods or gifts in kind, help with debt management, help with day-to-day budgeting, pensions advice and support for gambling addiction.

The research highlights the widespread collaboration in the sector, with the overwhelming majority (89%) of respondents reporting a partnership with at least one type of organisation to provide financial help – and on average, with four other types of organisations. Partnerships were most commonly with other Service charities (73%), but also included local authorities (50%), Ministry of Defence welfare services (50%), Armed Forces Covenant signatory organisations (46%), and community/welfare organisations (46%).

Despite the importance of this financial support for serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, one-quarter (25%) reported experiencing challenges raising funds. The report recommends further collaboration, particularly for micro charities where partnerships were less common, and better impact measurement across the sector.

Commenting on the launch of the report today, DSC Researcher and lead author, Chester Howarth said:

“Whether living in the civilian or Armed Forces community, financial stressors can have far reaching impacts on individuals’ and families’ lives. Armed Forces charities play an important role in supporting their beneficiaries in times of hardship – but also in securing long-term financial well-being. This report explores the types of financial support provided, how this support is delivered, and details charities’ collaboration, evaluation and challenges.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said:

“Financial advice and support are two of the most frequent reasons members of the Armed Forces community have for reaching out to charities. This report reflects the breadth of such charities and the extent to which they collaborate. Understanding the environment in which charities operate is key to making the case for funding, and for ensuring that support reaches beneficiaries in the most effective and efficient manner.”

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Richard Gregory KBE CB DL, Chief Executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity said:

“Providing financial support is regularly the foundation on which veterans and their families can be helped to regain their independence and dignity. … I commend another excellent and relevant report by DSC; it shines a spotlight on a strategically important subject.” Download the report for free at

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Issue 7 | March 2021

A few words from Peter Monteith, our new Chief of Staff

After 33 years in the Army, I have to say I was more than a little concerned about what the civilian job market might have to offer to a former Infanteer with dodgy knees and no immediately apparent transferable skills. It was, therefore, a huge honour (and an enormous relief!) to be selected as ABF The Soldiers’ Charity’s new Chief of Staff. It has been my very great privilege to spend my entire adult life working alongside the very soldiers and families that the charity does such an amazing job of supporting when they need some help.
I cannot think of a better way for me to start to repay the Army family for their tireless commitment, dogged determination and sacrifices than by doing my bit to help the charity deliver help to those who need it.

I have been particularly struck by how the charity has been able to continue steadfastly supporting those in need during the pandemic. Our continued partnership with the Defence Medical Welfare Service (read more below) is a great example and represents just one of more than 40 other charities and organisations we have been proud to support over the past year, spending £3.5m in the process. We have also supported more than 3,000 people via our individual grants programme, spending more than £2.5m ensuring that soldiers, former soldiers and their immediate families can live with independence and dignity.
I am very much looking forward to getting out and about and meeting all of you over the coming months as lockdown lifts and life slowly returns to some sort of normal. There is nothing like meeting people face to face and hearing from them direct, and it certainly beats reading about it in Mountbarrow House. In parting, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessor, Robin Bacon, for the astonishing amount he has done for the charity over the past 10 years. It has been quite some shift and it is pretty clear that I have big shoes to fill!
Brigadier (Ret’d) Peter Monteith MBE
Chief of Staff

Spring 2021 Homeport now available

We are excited to present to our Royal Navy & Royal Marines families the Spring edition of Homeport. In this edition, you will find:

  • Strong message – supporting health of Royal Marines
  • Child friendly? – NFF survey report published
  • Aboard perspectives – NFF tackles immigration issues
  • Home truths – Accommodation pilot on the Clyde
  • Honest accounts of Naval Service life from our star columnists
  • Your questions answered
  • And MUCH more!

Find out more here.

Publication of figures on service leavers by geographical location.



A consultation to assess the need for published information on UK armed forces service leavers by geographic location. Responses to the questions by 11 April 2021.

This consultation closes at
11:59pm on 10 April 2021

Consultation description

We are currently assessing the requirement for summary figures showing the number of UK armed forces service leavers by geographical location (for example; local authority, parliamentary constituency) to be published. The figures would be based on the address given upon exit from the UK armed forces and would therefore give an indication of the number of new service leavers going into each area in each year.

We have put together several questions to help us understand whether there is a need for this information and, if so, what it would be used for. Provide as much detail as you can to support your response to ensure we are able to fully consider your view in our evaluation.

Complete all three sections and email responses to: stating ‘Service leavers consultation’ in the subject by 11 April 2021.

Find out more here

Spring is in the air!
LIVE ZOOM returns!
Our ever popular series of practical gardening activity demonstrations 

Don't miss tomorrow's Live Zoom
Edible Flowers session- FREE Seeds 

Click the image above to Register and find out about the rest of the series of online LIVE ZOOM demos

What a line up!

Edible Flowers- how to sow and grow!
Froglife - encourage wildlife into your garden!
Wild Flowers & Seed Bombs
Herb Planter & Tea in the Garden- grow your own herbal teas!
Hanging Baskets - strawberries, tomatoes and flowers!

FREE sessions and FREE growing kits on completion of our end-of-session surveys.

Register Now

Job Vacancies - see Trellis Web pages
This week's Jobs

Hope Organic Garden, Arbroath
Hours: 28 hours per week (initial 12 month contract)
Salary: £14,560 (£10 per hour)
Place of work: Main place of work Hope Organic Garden, Arbroath with some community based project work.

Closing date 5/04/21

More Info 
Research into Wellbeing and outdoor Group Activity - can you take part?

Group activities in nature and long-term wellbeing is a PhD research project exploring the experiences of people who take part in outdoor group activity programmes and the impact of attending them on their long-term wellbeing.

The aim of this study is to explore the longevity of benefits to participants’ wellbeing from attending outdoor group activity programmes during the ages of 16-29, by considering the impact on their wellbeing at the time and over their life. It has been shown that outdoor group activity programmes improve peoples’ wellbeing at the time, however, we are unsure how long the benefits last and if and how they become part of a person’s life. It is important we develop understanding of the factors at the activities and in people’s lives that support improvements to wellbeing over time and the factors which prevent this from happening as well. Especially considering the challenges to wellbeing (mental, physical and social) for individuals and communities.

Participants need to have attended:
• during the ages of 16-29 (can be older now),
• at least 5 years ago or if still attending started at least 5 years ago,
• an adventure, environmental conservation, exercise, farming, or gardening programme.

Taking part involves two activities, producing a timeline representing specific experiences over your life and taking photos of a place you go to for your wellbeing, and two interviews. The activities will take around 15-45 minutes each and the interviews will be between 1-2 hours. The interviews will be by video chat or phone.

Further information about the study and taking part is at I am happy to answer any questions and discuss taking part with you via email,,
or phone 01524 594710.
Thank you for your consideration, Andy Harrod

Members and Partners Newsletters

Below are link to recent members and partners newsletter which may also be of interest to the readers:
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