100 wounded vets join forces in celebration of family and sport at The Veteran Games and Conference
London – A new international event for wounded armed forces veterans will celebrate the vital roles sports and family play in physical and emotional rehabilitation.
Over one hundred UK and Israeli veterans will compete, try new sports, and learn about how their respective countries provide specialist care for those injured in combat.
Chelsea Foundation is backing the event, which is being held in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, by providing football coaching for families attending and specialist workshops for Israeli sports teachers.
The programme includes a three-day conference with leading professionals discussing veteran PTSD, mental health and recovery.
The Veteran Games, which is the first of its kind, is funded by philanthropic donations and supported by leading rehabilitation and forces organisations including The Royal Marines Charity, RAF Benevolent Fund, Rock to Recovery, Veteran Scotland, Combat Stress, The Not Forgotten Association and Association of Jewish ex-Service Men and Women (AJEX).
The five-day sporting event will take place at pioneering rehabilitation centres run by the charity Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem from May 26 to 30.
Veterans and their families will fly to Israel on an El Al flight. The entire programme is funded by donations from The Patron Charitable Initiatives, The Pears Foundation, Rachel Charitable Trust, The Wolfson Family Charitable Trust, The Exilarch’s Foundation, The Maurice Wohl Charitable Foundation and The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust.
The programme includes activities for families to join together and share their experiences. There will also be a conference on mental health, PTSD and recovery chaired by Sir Simon Wessely, professor of psychological medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and consultant advisor in psychiatry to the British Army. Chairing from Israel will be Professor Zahava Solomon.
Several issues will be discussed over the three-day conference.
Veterans Scotland were successful in securing place for two Scottish Veterans to attend the games in Israel and are very grateful to the support that was provided by both Scottish War Blinded and The Royal British Legion Scotland.
Scottish Veterans Minister visits Glasgow Helping Heroes
The Scottish Veterans Minister, Graeme Dey, recently visited Glasgow Helping Heroes to experience first-hand it’s crucial work with Armed Forces Community.
Staff and beneficiaries spoke to the Minister about the specialised support provided by the Glasgow’s Helping Heroes drop-in centre. The visit also gave the Minister a chance to discuss the Scottish Government’s work with the Armed Forces Community across Scotland and how this is evolving after the recent consultation on the Veterans Strategy.
Glasgow’s Helping Heroes is a partnership between SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity and Glasgow City Council, to support the serving community, veterans and their families. The team offer holistic help and advice on issues such as housing, employment and training, dealing with debt or financial issues as well as assistance relating to health problems.
Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said:
“I am very pleased to be able to hear first-hand about the valuable work being done both with and on behalf of those in our veterans’ community who, for whatever reason, have found themselves requiring additional support.
“We established the Scottish Veterans Fund to assist the groups and organisations already providing excellent support to Scotland’s ex-Service personnel and their families. Glasgow’s Helping Heroes is a great example of exactly that, and I’m delighted that the Scottish Government is able to support them as they develop that work further.”
Rachel Tribble, Service Manager Glasgow’s Helping Heroes, said:
“A visit from the Veterans Minister shows that the Scottish Government takes the support of the Armed Forces Community very seriously.
“We were delighted to be given the opportunity to discuss our work, particularly the huge advantages of the holistic approach we have when working with beneficiaries.”
Glasgow’s Helping Heroes is a service for veterans and their families who live or work in Glasgow, helping those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, as well as those struggling with tenancies.
Scottish Veterans Fund Support for Erskine Residents
The Scottish Veterans Fund has awarded Erskine a generous grant of £15,000 towards the cost of developing our new post of Trainee Advanced Nurse Practitioner. Our Trainee, Kim Barron, has recently joined our existing Advanced Nurse Practitioner in providing an enhanced level of care to residents living in the 180-bed Erskine Home and the 40-bed Erskine Park Home on the grounds of the Erskine Estate in Bishopton. The team will hold responsibility for clinical decision making for residents including assessment, diagnosis of conditions, treatment and prescribing.
Prior to taking up post Kim was a both a Registered Nurse at Erskine and a Community Mental Health Charge Nurse in Renfrewshire. Kim has experience in working in community, primary care and psychiatric liaison services in NHS Ayrshire & Arran, where she also completed her MSc in Research Methodology as part of her Early Clinical Career Fellowship. During her time as a Trainee ANP, Kim will study towards a Masters in Advanced Practice, she will shadow the work of our own qualified ANP and also ANPs at NHS Ayrshire and Arran and the Golden Jubilee National Hospital. The skills and experience gained during this time will lead Kim to full qualification and allow us to provide the highest standard of on-site enhanced nursing care for our residents.
GRANTS TO ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING VETERANS IN SCOTLAND - 2019
Officers Association Scotland (OAS) is a military charity based in Scotland which supports former military officers and their dependents.
OAS is widening the scope of its operations and has added grants to other charities to its existing portfolio of employment advice and welfare services. OAS is looking to support activities which assist veterans generally, but which must either include officers and their dependents based in Scotland among the beneficiaries or have the potential to do so.
There is a maximum of £25,000 available for each grant.
Applications should be for capital rather than revenue projects i.e. the grants are not intended to support business as usual operations. Grants can be spread over two or three consecutive years but the maximum grant of £25,000 still applies. Previous recipients of grants from OAS may apply for further support.
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity helps with free transport for veterans
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is pleased to award Fares4Free a grant of £15,000 to offer specialist transport services, free of charge, to vulnerable veterans and their immediate families.
Fares4Free is a taxi service that offers free transport all over Scotland to veterans and their family members who might otherwise struggle to access essential services, such as medical appointments. These taxi rides are more than just car journeys from A to B. Fares4Free drivers are trained in Mental Health First Aid, meaning they are equipped to offer multiple forms of support to veterans using their services. Drivers listen to their passengers carefully to identify any additional problems they might be facing. They can then point them in the direction of the care and support they need.
Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service – Partnership Referrals
Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service is now live and the team has been out and about visiting beneficiaries all over Scotland. The service has received referrals from a number of partners and we are working closely to ensure beneficiaries receive appropriate and timely support. In order for Poppyscotland to triage your referral to the correct service, we request these are made using the attached template and submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the service, or would like to discuss your referral, please call 0131 550 1557.
Scottish Veterans Minister visits Bellrock as charity secures Living Wage status
Graeme Dey MSP, Scotland’s Veterans Minister, met with staff of Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR) in Glasgow today as the charity announced it has secured accreditation as a Living Wage employer.
The visit took place at SVR’s Bellrock Close, a development located in the city’s East End which provides housing and support for 30 UK military veterans. The site also includes 21 affordable rental homes which are exclusively available to ex-armed forces members and their families.
SVR’s Living Wage commitment will see everyone working at the charity’s three housing developments across Scotland receive a minimum hourly wage of £9.00, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff. This rate is significantly higher than the statutory minimum of £7.83 per hour for over 25s introduced in April 2018.
SVR Chief Executive Martin Nadin OBE said: “I’m very pleased that our governing body was unanimous in its support for us to become a Living Wage employer which makes a positive impact on our lower paid staff throughout Scotland. As a charity organisation which aims to be a great employer, adopting the Living Wage is a no-brainer as it means our people are happier and can enjoy a better quality of life.”
Veterans Minister Graeme Dey MSP said: “It is a pleasure to be here at Bellrock Crescent, to not only witness yet again the valuable and dedicated work being carried out on behalf of our veterans’ community, but to celebrate SVR securing Living Wage accreditation.
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund welcomes new Area Director, Gavin Davey
Following a 26-year RAF flying career, former helicopter pilot Gavin Davey has been appointed as Area Director for the RAF Benevolent Fund, with responsibility for Scotland, Northern Ireland and North-East England.
Gavin, who lives in Perthshire, is well-known across the Scottish charity sector, having led two renowned Scottish charities, the Gannochy Trust and Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance, along with being an experienced charity consultant.
During his RAF career Gavin flew Wessex, Puma and Chinook helicopters and served on 18, 33, 72 and 230 Squadrons. He has deployed on operations across the world and served as Chief of Staff of the RAF Chinook Force and Joint Helicopter Force in Iraq.
We have been requested to make the wider veteran community aware of an invitation from our Unforgotten Forces partner the Scottish Older People’s Assembly (SOPA) for veterans aged 65 and older to attend an engagement event taking place at the Legion Club in Bathgate on Thu 13th June. The views and opinions gathered at this event will then be taken to SOPA’s annual Scottish Parliamentary Assembly at Holyrood later this year in October. As such this will be a good opportunity for older veterans to help influence parliament and politicians etc. in regard to the issues that affect or matter to them.
Poppyscotland is delighted to today announce the winners of its popular Learning Competition, this year delivered in partnership with STV News.
The competition, entitled ‘BREAKING NEWS: WAR IS OVER!’ and open to P4-S3 pupils, asked pupils to present how they would report the end of the First World War if it happened in the modern day, and, after five furious weeks of voting which saw more than 4,300 votes cast, two winners have been crowned.
In the primary school category (P4-P7) the winners were Primary 7 pupils Esme Forsyth and Eva Combe from Newtonhill School, Aberdeenshire. [Their entry can be viewed here.] Meanwhile, in the secondary school category (S1-S3), the winners were S2 pupils Amy Ashton, Elisha Bali, Kirstie Souter, Maria Murio-Fernandez and Sophie Kemsley from The High School of Glasgow. [Their entry can be viewed here.]
Each winning group will now receive an exclusive trip to STV News’ studios, where they will be able to share their report with STV News anchors and go behind the scenes of a news broadcast, as well as learning professional tips on how to make and present the news. The other four shortlisted entries – Laxdale Primary School, St Aloysius’ Junior School, Meldrum Academy and (another from) The High School of Glasgow – will each receive a £50 Amazon voucher.
On-line mentoring platform for ex-Service personnel struggling with social isolation to be trialled
TimeBank, a national volunteering charity, has been awarded funds of £143,281 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), to develop, pilot and evaluate an on-line mentoring platform for ex-Service personnel who have been affected by mental health and wellbeing problems in Scotland.
The 18-month project will be divided into two stages. The first six months will be a revision and refinement of training materials and a pilot of the online platform. In the second stage, 30 beneficiaries will be matched with an on-line volunteer mentor, with an average of six months’ support provided.
Mentoring will take place through an on-line video platform developed by Odro, a leader in video-based technology, which allows beneficiaries to have conversations with their mentors in real time as well as being able to exchange files and messages.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“FiMT previously funded TimeBank to deliver a face-to-face mentoring project in Glasgow and Edinburgh between 2014 and 2016, which resulted in the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine’ report. The report included a recommendation to make the mentoring service more widely available across Scotland, and this innovative application of modern communication technology is the result. The funding awarded today reflects that recommendation, and also the success of the mentoring scheme for ex-Service personnel in those two cities in Scotland.
Scottish Korean War Memorial
New signage for the Scottish Korean War Memorial in West Lothian will be allowed on the trunk road network.
A specific exemption will be made so signs, helping direct people to the site in the Bathgate Hills, can be placed on the M8 and M9 motorways.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said:
“The issue of additional signage for the Scottish Korean War Memorial has been the subject of passionate campaigning from the local community and the Trustees of the Memorial itself, so I am pleased that their efforts are being recognised with this announcement.
“The memorial is a place of historic reflection in a unique setting. We want to recognise its importance, so I have asked Transport Scotland to make an exemption to its guidance to allow signs for the site to be placed on the trunk road network.
“West Lothian Council has also recently relaxed its own guidance and installed additional signage to the memorial on the local road network, so I am keen that we play our part in the process.”
Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said:
“The Scottish Korean War Memorial is a fitting reminder to people today of all those who served in that conflict, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I’m extremely grateful to those who established, promoted and maintain the memorial, and to the Scottish Korean War Memorial Trustees who have campaigned for the improved signage to the site that has now been permitted. I’d particularly like to recognise Major Allan Cameron and his predecessor the late Lt Col Johnny Johnston for their tireless work establishing the memorial and ensuring as many people as possible can visit this important site.”
Updated Local Authority Web Pages
The Lothian Armed Forces and Veterans Project team have been working with the four Lothian Local Authorities (City of Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian and East Lothian Councils) to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant. Part of this work has been to improve the content and accessibility of information available on the Council’s websites for the Armed Forces Community. Each Local Authority now has a dedicated part of its website that addresses the areas of need for current Service personnel, Veterans and their families.
An updated copy of the Veterans Scotland Information Blue booklet is now available on the website.
Veterans Assist Scotland
If you are looking for information or advice, the answer may be found on the Veterans Assist Website. There is a wide range of information on who your local Armed Forces and Veterans Champion is to where you can find local advice and information.
Find out more on the site and keep up to date on what is going on around Scotland for the Ex-Service community.
Events and Activities Calendar
We are aware of a number of events and activities that are being provided for the wider veterans community. If you want to find out more click the link below:
RBLS Annual Conference
The RBLS Annual conference will take place this weekend 1st & 2nd June in Perth. The after dinner speaker will be Mr Graeme Dey MSP - Veterans Minister.
For the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 90 year old Normandy veteran Jim Radford has released his emotive and powerful ballad ‘The Shores of Normandy’. Aged just 15 years old, he was the youngest person serving on 6th June 1944 during the Second World War.
25 years after the war Jim returned to Normandy and witnessing a different scene, was compelled to write the song. I guarantee you will cry after you listen to it.
The single is currently Amazon’s top selling song having also entered the iTunes chart at no. 3. The campaign aims to take the song to no. 1 by 6th June. The song has been released to help raise funds for The Normandy Memorial Trust.
Armed forces and veterans pensions
Veterans UK, part of the Ministry of Defence, assess, award, pay, and oversee all armed forces pensions. As a member of the armed forces you’ll have been enrolled in a pension scheme automatically.
They also administer the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for serving and former serving personnel who are injured as a result of their service in the Armed Forces.
Armed Forces and Veterans Community Cross Party Group Meetings
We have now had confirmation on dates for the next CPGs, which are provisionally booked as follows:
Tuesday 11 June – Committee Room 6
Tuesday 10 September – Committee Room 6
Additional information is available on the Scottish Parliament website via the link below:
If you are looking for information and guidance for your charity, OSCR have several useful guides available to assist you. They also provide regular updates and news articles which may be of assistance.
Find out all the latest news from RNRMC in their Aril newsletter "The Lookout"
Read all the latest news from Blesma and sign up for a copy of their newsletter.
Find out of the latest news from SSAFA
Poppyscotland is at the forefront of delivery of support to our Armed Forces community across Scotland. We reach out to those who have served, those still serving, and their families at times of crisis and need by offering vital, practical advice, assistance and funding.
Applications for 68 local delivery jobs with Social Security Scotland have now opened. If you enjoy working with people and want to be part of the creation of the most significant new public service since devolution please visit:
The BFBS Big Salute fundraising campaign is inviting forces charities to apply for project-based grants.
Nicky Ness, Director of Forces Broadcasting and Entertainment, said:
“We are keen to hear from armed forces charities who find it a challenge to secure funds for specific projects.
“We offer grants of up to £10k and have seen how Big Salute funds can make a huge difference to all areas of the forces community, from cadets to serving personnel, veterans and their families.”
Nine of the charities that applied for Big Salute grants last year have just been awarded funds for a diverse range of projects, they are: Building Heroes, Bournemouth Memorial Homes, Clervaux Trust, AF & V Launchpad Ltd, Our Wilton Trust, Royal Air Forces Association, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and Winchester Sea Cadets.
Full details about how to apply for the next round of funding is online www.bigsalute.com where charities can complete an application form.
The deadline for applications is 31 July 2019.
The Veterans’ Foundation Grant Applications
Trustees of the Veterans Foundation allocate grants every three or four months. They welcome applications from Armed Forces charities and other organisations carrying out charitable work for serving or veteran members of the Armed Forces, qualifying merchant seamen, and their dependants, who are in need.
Deadlines for applications are the end of December, March, May and September each year.
New funding available to help get Veterans out and active
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched the Positive Pathways Programme today.
Armed Forces charities are invited to apply for a share of up to £9M to support ex-forces with activity-based projects that aim to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Improving veteran’s mental health
Part of the Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, the Positive Pathways Programme wants to get Veterans involved in activities such as sports, gardening, conservation and theatre – and there’s one and two-year pots of funding available.
Scottish Government support - Veteran support
The Scottish Government is committed to making sure no member of the armed forces veterans’ community in Scotland faces any disadvantage when accessing services and support. This is further explained in the Renewing our Commitments publication.
The Scottish Government has also appointed a Scottish Veterans Commissioner whose remit is to improve outcomes for all veterans. The commissioner is independent of the government and they have their own dedicated funding.
A veteran is anyone who has served for at least one day in Her Majesty's Armed Forces (regular and reserve) or Merchant Mariners who have seen duty on military operations.
The link to the Scottish Government site is available here
The latest edition of the Naval Families Federation (NFF) newsletter is now available.
They are working with Scottish third sector interfaces to deliver this training at the cost of £20 per delegate. With courses being delivered all over Scotland.
Capitalising on military talent: Everything you need to know about employing veterans
Employers that haven't considered hiring veterans are missing a trick. This toolkit is designed to help businesses strengthen their workforce by tapping into the ex-military talent pool.
Ex-military personnel offer a wealth of transferable skills, including leadership, teamwork, problem solving and a strong work ethic that bring significant value to the civilian workforce. Yet many businesses are missing out on this top talent due to a lack of knowledge about the military or negative misconceptions.
Business in the Community’s new toolkit, written in partnership with military recruitment specialists, Salute My Job, is designed to help your businesses strengthen its workforce by offering veterans fulfilling second careers. It has been developed with input from leading employers, such as BT, Fujitsu, Standard Life and the NHS, to help you build a pipeline of talented veterans into your business.
Further information is also available in the BITC website
Service families highlight the need for more structured support when returning to civilian life
Research undertaken by the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) to assess how engagement with, and by, families works during the process of transition back into civilian life and where it could be improved, highlights the need for more accessible and inclusive support.
BIT conducted 53 interviews with families, and serving and ex-Service personnel to understand what the barriers and facilitators are for families when engaging with transition support, and how best to utilise behaviour and social sciences to overcome these barriers and encourage behavioural change.
The content from the interviews contributed to the following recommendations included in the report,
To reduce information overload: Break transition into smaller, more manageable steps to achieve long-term goals. Encourage follow through, set deadlines and send useful tips and reminders.
To involve the family in transition: Ensure that information and support are accessible to families and use inclusive language.
To link with social networks: Tap into existing social networks or generate new ones to encourage knowledge sharing and support.
To continue support after transition: Recognise that transition does not end at the point of leaving. Provide access and signpost to support. Follow up with regular check-ins.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“The recommendations the Behavioural Insights Team has presented in their report are as a result of their engagement with families, and serving and ex-Service personnel.
“We now look to find effective ways of embedding the necessary behavioural changes in individuals and organisations. This research has the potential of achieving great impact on the support offered to families in the transition process and their engagement with it. We hope the MOD, and organisations providing transition support, incorporate these recommendations into their transition procedures.”
The year-long project was funded by the Forces in Mind Trust and is the first in a two-phase project, with findings influencing a pilot project which would be the second phase.
Victoria Fussey, Senior Advisor, Behavioural Insights Team, said:
“The move back to civilian life can be hard for people leaving the Armed Forces, as well as for their families. Through this project, we’ve gained a better understanding of how people experience transition and suggested a number of ways that designing services based on this understanding and the science of human behaviour and decision making can be used to improve the transition process.”