03 July 2020 (Edition - Issue 34)

Message from the Veterans Scotland Executive Chairman 


As Mark Bibbey departs Poppyscotland and also, therefore, the VS Executive Committee, I would like to record my thanks to him. I have valued his wise counsel both on the committee and more widely. He has spearheaded a number of significant welfare initiatives in his 4 years at the helm of Poppyscotland and has also been an important influence across the whole of our community. He has always been tremendously generous with his time, thoughtful in his views and a trusted sounding board, not only for me, but also for Government ministers and other key stakeholders. I am sure that they would all join me in wishing him and his family the very best for the future as he takes on new opportunities.

We also welcome his replacement, the new interim CEO of Poppyscotland, Mark Collins. He brings a wealth of experience, not least in leading the Veterans’ Gateway project and I very much look forward to his contribution as a VS Executive Committee member.

Finally, thank you all again for the work that you do to support our veterans in this most challenging of times.


Maj Gen Chris Hughes CBE;
Executive Chairman of Veterans Scotland 
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

Living in our Shoes

In January 2019, the then Defence Secretary, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP,
commissioned Andrew Selous MP to conduct an independent review to consider the
diverse needs of Service families, assess whether the current support offer is meeting
these needs, and make recommendations accordingly. The focus of this review was on
currently Serving personnel, including those preparing to leave the Armed Forces, and
their families.

A copy of the review is available via the link to the right.
Transition 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.

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.


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. 


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.

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.

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.

Army Central Fund supports SSAFA with £50,000 grant

Army Central Fund has donated £50,000 to support SSAFA’s Emergency Response Fund during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Army Central Fund has donated £50,000 to support serving Army personnel and their families through SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. This includes the charity’s Emergency Response Fund in response to Covid-19, along with support through SSAFA’s core services, such as their Stepping Stone Home, which provides sheltered housing for women and children from the Armed Forces community.

SSAFA’s Emergency Response Fund is helping to support the organisation’s most vulnerable beneficiaries, who need urgent help and cannot afford to wait during the COVID-19 outbreak as lockdown continues. Many of these individuals are at the greatest risk of harm because they are elderly, have health problems, or are on low incomes and therefore struggling to afford food and medicine for themselves and their family.

The fund is providing financial support for food, bills and other essentials directly to beneficiaries via new means, including expedited proof of service checks and the implementation of digital e-vouchers.

Jonathan Sandall, Director of Fundraising at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:

This exceptionally generous donation from Army Central Fund is vital in supporting serving Army personnel and their families during this difficult time. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is committed to supporting the person behind the uniform and their families, whenever they need us, and they need us now more than ever before.”

Julian Panton from the Army Central Fund, said:

‘’This initiative means that The Army Central Fund can help those in the serving Army community facing extra challenges because of Covid-19.   By contributing to the SSAFA Emergency Response Fund we are able to help provide practical and immediate support to those in real need.’’


A support service launched by a group of charities in 2010 which has helped more than 15,000 members of the Armed Forces community has today received a funding boost of £65,000 from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.

The Armed Services Advice Project – or ‘ASAP’ for short – which is in large part funded by Poppyscotland, works in partnership with the Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureau.

Through trained advisers, it offers specialist guidance on a wide range of issues including benefits, debt, housing and employment. The service operates in 11 regions of the country – from Ayrshire to Aberdeen – and it is estimated that for every £1 of funding received, there is a client financial gain of £4.36.

Brigadier (Ret’d) Robin Bacon, Chief of Staff for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said: “We are delighted to award Poppyscotland a substantial grant to help the charity continue providing vital services to veterans and their families in Scotland.

“The Armed Forces Advice Project has been running for the past ten years which shows in itself the positive impact it’s having on our Army family. Providing our veterans with advice and support to enhance their wellbeing and quality of life is invaluable and we are pleased to be able to assist Poppyscotland with carrying out its work.”

Gary Gray, the Head of Welfare Services at Poppyscotland, said: “We know access to tailored information, advice and support is vitally important, and, since 2010, ASAP has made a massive difference to the lives of thousands of veterans and their families. This generous funding boost of £65,000 from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity will ensure this vital work will go on.”

Other organisations that also provide vital funding and support for the service are the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund; Officers Association Scotland; Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity; and SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity.

Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said: “The Scottish Citizens Advice network is there to offer advice and advocacy on behalf of everyone in Scotland, and we are proud that for a decade now we have run the specialist Armed Services Advice Project.

“This additional funding from ABF The Soldiers Charity is a very welcome contribution towards this vital service for veterans and other members of the armed services community. Members of the Forces and their families make tremendous sacrifices for their communities and their country. We’re proud to play our part in ensuring they get the advice and support they need.”

To get in touch with ASAP, please call the helpline on 0808 800 1007 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. For more information, please visit the ASAP website at

Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal and the charity’s year-round fundraising enables them to deliver support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland by providing tailored funding and assistance. The charity also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite. For more information, please visit

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.

Membership News and Updates

Force in Mind Trust

We are delighted to announce the launch of the new Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) website which is now live. We invite you to visit the website and explore its new features here:
To improve user experience, we have added a search facility and filters to our News & Policy and Reports pages, and we have a new Apply area with a streamlined online application process.
The website contains detailed information on each of our Programmes and Change Mechanisms, and the new project pages include information on the individual projects FiMT has funded and the impact they have had.

We have continued to operate within Scotland providing support remotely during the lock down to veterans who have lost limbs or lost the use of limbs through physical trauma.
This support includes, grants, prosthetics support, benefits advice as well as a wide variety of outreach activities which have been delivered online.  These have included online drop in sessions, stone painting projects, knitting, book and photography groups as well as having guest speakers and demonstrations.
We will continue this approach until it is safe to get out and about again where we will once again hit the road and will be in a position to meet our members and will be able to visit you to discuss our services if you would find that useful.

Walking With The Wounded’s June newsletter

Please find the link for Walking With The Wounded’s June newsletter below:
The newsletter contains  a video by The Duke of Sussex who officially launched The Walk of Oman Expedition.
Also, this month we were please to host our first ever webinar exploring 'A Life of Service'.  A link to a recording of this exclusive webinar is in the newsletter.
Please feel free to share the newsletter with your contacts and beneficiaries.

Theater of War with BRAVEHOUND 

Theater of War is an innovative public health project that presents readings of scenes from ancient Greek plays–Sophocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes–as a catalyst for guided discussions about the challenges faced by service members, veterans, and their families. Using Sophocles’ plays to forge a common vocabulary for openly discussing the visible and invisible wounds of war, these events are aimed at generating compassion and understanding between diverse audiences.

This special event is a collaboration with Bravehound, a Scottish charity that supports veterans and their families in the United Kingdom. We are proud to open this event up to the public, fostering healing dialogue with the Bravehound community. Visit:

Featuring performances by Jason Isaacs, Lesley Sharp, Nyasha Hatendi, David Elliot, and Patrick Walshe McBride.

Translated and directed, and facilitated by Bryan Doerries

The event Zoom link will be distributed and available to registered attendees starting 2 days prior to the event. All of Theater of War Productions’ events follow the same format:

  • The actors will read the play.
  • Four community panelists will kick off the discussion with their gut responses to what resonated with them across time
  • We will open the discussion to the audience, facilitated by Bryan Doerries. During the discussion, please raise your hand using the button at the bottom center of the screen. If called upon, you will be promoted to speak and you will be visible and heard by the entire audience for the duration of your comments. If you would prefer not to be seen, please disable your video when entering the event.

Register here.

Letter to the editor re: St Valéry Commemorations

Dear Sir

On Friday, 12 June more than 550 pipers across the world played the haunting march The Heroes of St Valéry from doorsteps, gardens and streets. This recognised the service of the Second World War “Forgotten” 51st Highland Division which remained on the continent to fight the Nazis after the evacuations from Dunkirk. Despite their incredible bravery, around 10,000 men were finally encircled and captured at the Normandy fishing port of St Valéry-en-Caux on 12th June 1940.

The aim of our 80th commemoration was to ensure these men were remembered. St Valéry impacted on every town, village and hamlet across the Highlands and beyond. Eighty years on, those same communities were joined by pipers from across the globe as they paid their respects.

As well as becoming the largest piping ensemble in history, a day-long programme of virtual events, learning resources for young people and social media tribute messages achieved a reach of 169 million people.

The event was supported three Armed Forces community charities: Poppyscotland, Legion Scotland and RCET: Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity. Each do vital work today.

To each and every piper, we say: “Thank you!” And to those that support the work of those charities: “Many, many thanks!” Most of all, to the men of the 51st, our thanks, gratitude and respect.


Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE, President of Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland and Vice President RCET: Scotland’s Armed Forces Children’s Charity

Neil McLennan FSA Scot FRSA, RCET Trustee & Convenor St Valéry 80 Committee

Age Scotland’s Comradeship Circles project offers older armed forces veterans the opportunity to enjoy weekly group chats with each other by phone. Comradeship Circles is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust under their ‘Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten’ programme in response to COVID-19. Comradeship Circles are open to any veteran aged 50 or older, including Regulars, Reservists, National Service men and Merchant seafarers who have been part of a UK military operation. Veterans’ spouses, widows and widowers may also join.

To register interest, individuals should call the Age Scotland helpline on 0800 12 44 222.  Community groups interested in partnering to establish a Comradeship Circle for older veterans they work with can email Rachel Connor at
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Registered as a charity in Scotland, SC 033880.

Veterans Scotland are also members of the Cobseo Executive committee.


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