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25 September 2020 (Edition - Issue 44)

                      

 

Scottish Veterans Fund Opens

The £200,000 Scottish Veterans Fund is now open for bids from projects that improve the lives of former service personnel. The 2020/21 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 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 Allyson.Forrester@gov.scot

 

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.

Grant application Form

Application Guidance Document

Scottish Government press release on the Scottish Veterans Fund

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.

Resources

Veterans Scotland Information Booklet


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

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

New research calls for more support for Senior Non-Commissioned Officers to improve their employment prospects after leaving the Armed Forces

The experience and skillset of SNCOs are often misunderstood and under-valued in the civilian labour market, according to a new report published today by FiMT.

The experience and skillset of Senior Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCOs) are often misunderstood and under-valued in the civilian labour market, according to a new report published today by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT). The report states that SNCOs’ unique skills, combined with their length of time in service, may put them at a disadvantage when they leave the Armed Forces and have to compete with civilians for jobs.

The report, conducted by the Institute for Employment Research at Warwick University in partnership with QinetiQ and RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, found that SNCOs often join the military at a very young age – 16 or 17 – and can struggle to find employment when they leave service. The majority of SNCO veterans who took part in the research said they found it overwhelming to have to deal with the practicalities of civilian life at the same time as trying to find employment, and 23% found their lack of interview experience to be very challenging. Negative attitudes from potential employers were also found to be a barrier.

While SNCOs often spend the majority of their working lives in the Armed Forces, many can expect to work in the civilian labour market for at least 15 years after leaving. Having progressed to a senior leadership position while serving, SNCOs can offer a range of transferable and valuable skills to civilian employers. Leadership (86%), management (83%), organisational skills (91%), team working (87%) and decision making (86%) were reported to be the top skills gained by SNCOs through being in the Armed Forces.

The report outlines recommendations for SNCOs to support their own transition as well as calling for more support from Government, business, and Armed Forces charities to ensure SNCOs’ skills are better understood and utilised by civilian employers. The report’s recommendations include:

  • The Ministry of Defence (MOD) should ensure that SNCOs are provided with time to complete resettlement courses and should also consider a ‘transition’ role for SNCOs two years before leaving.
  • The MOD should work with employers to help them recognise SNCO-specific qualifications, skills and experience and how these can benefit their organisation and sector.
  • Employers should offer a range of opportunities, such as workplace shadowing, mentoring and work placements to support SNCOs during the pre-and post-transition phases.

The full report can be found at www.fim-trust.org/reports 


Supporting veterans' transition to civilian life through employment

 

Summary

We welcome views on the National Insurance contribution holiday for veterans announced at Spring Budget 2020. This relief will be available to employers of veterans from April 2021.

This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 5 October 2020           

HM Government Public Appointments

Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee (VAPC) Appointment of Members 

Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee in Scotland is recruiting new committee members. These are public appointments with the recruitment campaign done through the Cabinet Office.  Please follow the link below for more information about this opportunity.

 
Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee (VAPC) Appointment of Members - EAST SCOTLAND
Body: Veterans UK - MoD
Appointing Department: Ministry of Defence
Location: EAST SCOTLAND
Time Requirements: You will be expected to attend a minimum of 3 Committee Meetings per year although the veterans’ arena is a huge space and there is always more that can be done; the VAPC role can therefore take as much of your time as you are willing and able to give.
Closing Date: 23/10/2020
Find Out More
 
Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee (VAPC) Appointment of Members -WEST SCOTLAND
Body: Veterans UK - MoD
Appointing Department: Ministry of Defence
Location: WEST SCOTLAND
Time Requirements: You will be expected to attend a minimum of 3 Committee Meetings per year although the veterans’ arena is a huge space and there is always more that can be done; the VAPC role can therefore take as much of your time as you are willing and able to give.
Closing Date: 23/10/2020
Find Out More

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.


https://youtu.be/nyHLzTWyYK0 
 

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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.

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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 end of Sep 20 and the end of Dec 20.  The maximum grant in both circumstances is £30K and the application process is online, here:  https://www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/grant-application/

If you have any queries, please contact us at grants@veteransfoundation.org.uk
Health Support & Informattion

Our contact tracing app – Protect Scotland – is now available to download. It is:


Simple and easy to use

Private and anonymous

An extra tool to support #TestAndProtect Download today to help us stop the spread


Download the Protect Scotland app
protect.scot

The Defence Medical Welfare Service


The Defence Medical Welfare Service is now providing welfare support for veterans undergoing a period of medical treatment, including hospital discharge, in the Scottish Borders. Between the Fife & Borders service the team also has some capacity to provide support in Edinburgh. To find out more contact Michael Lowrey, Welfare Officer Scottish Borders 07920702331

Email: lowrey@dmws.org.uk
Website: www.dmws.org.uk
Housing Support

Homelessness in Scotland: 2019 to 2020

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, alongside historical data.

Further information is available on the Scottish Government website via the link here 

Main Points

Infographic presenting main findings from the publication for homelessness in 2019/20.

Image description below

Image description

Main points:

  • 31,333 households were assessed as homeless in 2019/20, a 4% increase on 2018/19.
  • There were 51,365 people in these households, including 35,654 adults and 17,711 children.
  • ‘Asked to leave’ and ‘Household disputes’ were the most common reasons for making an application.
  • 2,884 households reported at least one household member sleeping rough in 3 months prior to application. 1,643 slept rough the night before their application.
  • 33% of main applicants were aged 25 to 34, 30% were 35 to 49, 23% 16 to 24 and 14% 50 or over.
  • 66% of households were single person households. 28% included children.
  • 86% of main applicants were of White ethnicity.
  • 51% of households had at least one support need.
  • There were 11,665 households in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2020, a 6% increase on the previous year.
  • There were 7,280 children in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2020.
  • Households who used temporary accommodation spent 184 days in temporary accommodation on average. Households containing children were likely to spend more time in temporary accommodation than those without.
  • There were 4,595 instances of households not being offered temporary accommodation in 2019/20.
  • There were 500 breaches of the unsuitable accommodation order in 2019/20.
  • 61% of temporary accommodation in use at 31st March 2020 was in the social sector.
  • 36% of households did not use temporary accommodation. 35% had one temporary accommodation placement, 17% had two placements and 12% had three or more.
  • 6% of households assessed as homeless had been assessed in the previous 12 months, 12% in previous three years and 15% in previous five years.
  • 82% of households assessed as homeless secure settled accommodation at the end of their application.
  • It took 16 days on average for an application to be assessed, and 224 days from assessment to closure for applications assessed as homeless.
The full report is available via the Scottish Government website and can be found at https://www.gov.scot/publications/homelessness-scotland-2019-2020/
 

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.
 

Scottish Housing Regulator

The Scottish Housing Regulator has published their August’s monthly dashboard report.  This report is designed to help the Scottish Government and social landlords  understand the continuing impact of the Coronavirus and to support the work of the Social Housing Resilience Group.

Since April, all social landlords provide the Regulator with a monthly return of a small set of key measures that focus on the main areas of impact on landlords’ operations.

The information published for August shows that the number of people who applied to local authorities as homeless has fallen for the first time since the Regulator started collecting monthly returns from social landlords in April, with a 2% reduction compared to July. However, there has been a further in increase in the number of households in temporary accommodation, with 14,383 at the end of August. Almost 9,500 homes remained empty at the end of August, even though landlords let almost 600 more homes than in July.

Rent arrears increased from 6.33% in July to 6.37% in August.

The published dashboards and full dataset are available here.

Landlords are due to submit the next monthly return on 7th October.

Membership News and Other Updates

Help for Heroes Announces Restructure to Protect Future of the Charity

  • 30% reduction in regular income has forced restructure to protect delivery of lifelong support to wounded veterans
  • No recovery services are being cut, but more are being adapted towards more community and online-based support

Help for Heroes has announced a major restructure in order to protect its life-changing recovery services from the devastating financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over recent months the military charity, which relies on public donations for 97% of income, has suffered hugely from a loss of income with all planned face-to-face fundraising events and activities since April either cancelled or postponed. The charity, which provides recovery support to the wounded, injured and sick Armed Forces community, anticipates a 30% reduction in regular income over the coming years with the ongoing economic recession.

This financial hit, coupled with a significant surge in demand for its recovery services during the height of the pandemic, meant the charity felt it had no choice but to review its service delivery and put 142 staff roles at risk, with up to 90 redundancies planned subject to consultation.

Melanie Waters, CEO, said the decision was extremely tough but the charity had a responsibility to ensure that the lifelong support promised to the men and women who suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses as a result of their service could continue against the backdrop of the pandemic.

She said:

“In 2007, we made a promise on behalf of the nation to provide lifetime support to wounded veterans, and their families, and we are striving to keep that promise.  

The crisis has had a devastating impact on the whole UK charity sector, with lasting consequences, and it has hit us hard. These tough decisions have been made to protect the future of the charity and have been taken with our beneficiaries in mind.  

We remain absolutely committed to our wounded and their families and will continue fighting for, and changing the lives of, those we support for as long as they need it.”  

Help for Heroes was quick to adapt its support in March, despite having to furlough nearly 40% of its staff for up to seven months, and has continued to deliver virtual and remote support through its fellowship, welfare, clinical, grants and psychological wellbeing services ever since.

With significant uncertainty around the economy and ever changing COVID restrictions, the charity will continue to focus on face to face community and digital services and will not be operating out of three of its Recovery Centres for the foreseeable future. Help for Heroes will be returning to face to face delivery of centre-based services in a COVID secure environment from our Tedworth House recovery centre in Wiltshire.

The charity is working closely with MoD to ensure that all centres continue to provide core recovery activities for wounded, injured or sick Service Personnel during lockdown and beyond.

Demand for support rose significantly during lockdown with a 33% increase in new people coming forward for support with their mental health in May and June 2020 compared to the same period last year, as well as nearly 30% more new referrals into the Charity’s physical health focused service.

To donate and give much needed support helpforheroes.org.uk/donate-online/

NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR POPPY APPEAL KEEPS PUBLIC AND VOLUNTEERS SAFE

Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory was alive with activity today as the four million poppies which are all made by hand by former Service personnel were loaded on to trucks to begin the journey to the four corners of the country ahead of the 2020 Scottish Poppy Appeal.

However, even though the poppies went out as normal – with the Factory team actually completing their work ahead of time – this year will be like nothing seen before as Poppyscotland embraces new technology to ensure a safe and secure Poppy Appeal in 2020. As part of Poppyscotland’s adoption of new technology, contactless giving will enable the public to show their support whilst keeping them and the charity’s volunteers safe in the process.


QR codes and microchips, which are automatically recognised by smart phones, have been placed on poppy boxes so that members of the public will still be able to give in a socially distant, completely contactless and secure way. What’s more, all of the charity’s Poppy Appeal Area Organisers have set up JustGiving pages to boost their local fundraising efforts.

Troops and veterans one step closer to stronger legal protection

Stronger legal protections for service personnel and veterans facing the threat of repeated investigations and potential prosecution will be one step closer as the Overseas Operations Bill is debated in Parliament on Wednesday 23 September.

The Bill delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitment to tackle vexatious claims and end the cycle of reinvestigations against our brave Armed Forces. The legislation will introduce a range of measures to reduce uncertainty arising from historical allegations and create a better legal framework to deal with claims from future overseas conflicts.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“This Government made a promise to the nation to protect service personnel and veterans from vexatious claims and endless investigations. We have not shied away from the challenge and today are one step closer to fulfilling that commitment.

“We all remember Phil Shiner, and the scores of allegations that have amounted to nothing over the years.

“Our Armed Forces risk their lives to protect us and it is vital we continue to progress this legislation, providing certainty for the troops who find themselves on the front line in the future.”

The Overseas Operations Bill was introduced in March after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan gave rise to an unprecedented number of legal claims. The Iraq war in particular saw a claims industry spring up where unscrupulous lawyers promised individuals they would be financially rewarded if they made allegations of wrongdoing against service personnel.

This contributed to nearly 1000 compensation claims against the MoD for unlawful detention, injury and death, as well as 1400 judicial review claims seeking investigations and compensation for human rights violations. While legitimate claims were rightly investigated, and always will be, this series of drawn-out investigations and litigation has cast a shadow over the lives of innocent personnel and veterans living with such uncertainty.

Around 70% of allegations received by the independent Iraq Historic Allegations Team were dismissed as there was no case to answer.


 The UK transition 

 The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year. Check the  new rules from January 2021 and take action now.

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Veterans Scotland
New Haig House
Logie Green Road
Edinburgh, EH7 4HR

 
Veterans Scotland is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland.
Registered as a charity in Scotland, SC 033880.


Veterans Scotland are also members of the Cobseo Executive committee.

   

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