21 August 2020 (Edition - Issue 39)

Charity services for veterans save the state nearly £1 billion each year

New research published today by the Directory of Social Change (DSC) and commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust, shows that a relatively small number of charities are generating and spending close to £1 billion annually in support of the armed forces community – including those in active service, veterans and their families.

The latest data published today in Sector Insight: Armed Forces Charities illustrates how the UK’s 1,843 armed forces charities – which represent less than 1% of the UK charity sector – provide a huge range and depth of support to beneficiaries and a massive financial benefit to the state.

The armed forces community in the UK includes around 6.3 million people, including serving personnel, veterans, their partners and children. With support from Forces in Mind Trust, DSC extensively researched those charities which dedicate themselves to serving this community.

Welfare charities are typically some of the best-known armed forces charities, helping for example veterans with combat injuries or other health and social needs. Although this type of charity represents only 26% of armed forces charities (479), they accounted for almost 70% of the income and expenditure of all armed forces charities combined.

A shrinking sector

Despite recurring claims that there are ‘too many forces charities’, DSC’s latest analysis found the armed forces charities sector is in fact shrinking, losing on average 44 charities each year – with charities registered in Scotland closing at double the rate of new ones opening. The report finds that welfare charities are some of the most vulnerable to closure, but much smaller, local association branch charities have been hardest hit, accounting for 40% of all closures since 2012.

Armed forces charities are highly reliant on public donations which have been severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic – threatening their current and future service provision. The report shows that 60% of charities with annual incomes above £500,000 were capable of covering 12-months’ expenditure from their reserves alone, but conversely 40% had less than 12-months’ available. 88% of forces charities are below this income threshold, and financial data on them is less robust. It remains to be seen how many charities large and small will survive the pandemic and to continue to provide support.

Lead author of the report, Stuart Cole said:

“Armed forces charities provide everything from complex physical and mental rehabilitation, to housing and social activities. The money these charities raise and the services they provide aren’t an ‘add-on’ or ‘nice to have’ – they’re central to the quality of life for millions of Serving and ex-Serving personnel and their families. If they disappeared overnight, the state would have to pick up a substantial portion of the financial burden – but the negative impact of the pandemic represents a real risk to these services in the near and medium term.”

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

“Sector Insight is part of a series of reports by DSC that Forces in Mind Trust has funded over the last seven years, and we are very proud that they are regularly used by some of the most senior policy makers, media commentators and service providers. Our overriding ambition is to make an impact – these seminal reports have done so up to now, and I’m determined that the latest work will continue this success.

“While the data from this report was collected before Covid-19, it provides us with an excellent and thorough picture of what the Armed Forces charities sector looked like before the pandemic and will enable us to examine what the impact on the sector will be in the years ahead. Over the last few months, we have been working closely with DSC and Cobseo – the Confederation of Service Charities to measure the impact of Covid-19 and there is no doubt that it has been huge and devasting for many of our charities. We will continue to produce high quality independent research and foster collaboration both within the sector, and with government, to help identify the best way forward.”

Download the report for free at


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:

If you have any queries, please contact us at

Bursary Guide

To celebrate its Centenary, the Officers Association Scotland is offering a Bursary Award to support currently serving or former officers in expanding their learning in order to enhance their employment opportunities.

This grant is designed to enable self-development, to achieve and progress in that career you desire. It can be used for a specific training programme, Higher or Further Education. 

The scheme provides financial support in the form of a single payment per year direct to the learning institution. The length of Bursary support will be assessed at the application stage and then reviewed at the end of each year.  Consideration may also be given to study costs such as learning materials and childcare; however, this will be on a case by case basis.

To be eligible to apply for this bursary you must be:
  • Men and women who have at any time held a commission (regular or reservist) with any branch of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown, and allied nursing services, and who are resident in Scotland.
  • Planning to undertake training/education within a Scottish Institution
  • Able to demonstrate that this learning will enhance your employment opportunities
For further information and the application form please visit

For your application to be considered at the September review please submit all documentation by 28th August 2020

Please note we are unable to make any retrospective payments for course fees and study materials. This also includes self-funded payments or loans that you may have taken out with a college or bank.
Please note that if you fail to complete the training and or learning the Officers Association have the right to reclaim the bursary awarded.
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
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 Support

   Results Helpline

Skills Development Scotland’s Results Helpline 0800 100 8000 is still open until Friday 28 August Monday to Friday between 9am - 5 pm offering advice, information, support for young people, their parents and carers.

Advice and information includes course vacancies at UK colleges and universities, Confirmation and Clearing, apprenticeships, jobs, volunteering and staying on at school.

If you need help your local SDS Edinburgh careers centre can also help call 0131 718 2040 to speak to one of our advisers or visit #SQAresults #MyLearnerJourney #NoWrongPath #HereToHelp

Image may contain: 1 person, glasses, text that says "Skills Development Scotland Results Helpline 0808 100 8000 or visit cheeaman Results Helpline 0808 100 8000"
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. 
Funding & Financial Support

Introducing two new programmes supporting the Armed Forces community...


The Armed Forces Covenant Fund:
Force for Change programme

We're excited to introduce a new, local grants programme awarding one-year grants of up to £20,000 for projects that seek to promote social inclusion and support Forces communities to become less isolated.

This year, we have an additional focus on tackling the impact of Covid-19, helping Forces communities move to the 'new normal' and supporting volunteers to carry out local projects.

Full programme details on our website.
Tell me more

The Tackling Loneliness programme

This new, large grant programme will award two-year fixed grants of £70,000 to projects that seek to tackle loneliness and isolation within Armed Forces communities.

We'd particularly like projects to work with groups within the Forces community who are traditionally harder to reach and tend not to engage in services and provision available to them.

A list of these groups, and further information about the priorities of this new programme are available on our website.
Tell me more

Funding dates for your diary...

The Trust currently has three funding programmes supporting the Armed Forces community. 

Full details of all our programmes are available on our website.
Tell me more
Health & Wellbeing

Veterans 1st Point

(V1P) Lothian have developed a Resilience guide to help navigate this difficult time. COVID-19 has affected all of us and returning to work or dealing with other worries may be overwhelming. This guide can help you to manage your worry, anxiety and mood to improve resilience and wellbeing. As they say, it's natural to struggle when times are uncertain, so remember to offer care and compassion to yourself, and to those around you. Routine – structure to your day is important. Exercise – helps both our bodies and minds. Sleep – get enough, set wake up and going to bed times. Interaction - is important, perhaps by helping others. Loved ones – stay connected, find new ways Independence – protect some time for you. Eat well – try new recipes, eat fresh and healthy. New goals – for now and the future. Compassion – be kind to yourself and others. Enjoyment – make time for pleasure distance between your family – the possibilities are endless.

If you have ever served in HM Armed Forces in any capacity for any length of time, they offer free advice and support, whatever your needs may be.
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 Other Updates


As the country comes together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day – or VJ Day as it is better known – a 100-year-old veteran who was captured by the Japanese and forced to work on the construction of the infamous Burma railway has spoken movingly about his lost comrades and how he believed he was just weeks from death before the dropping of the Atom Bombs brought the Second World War to an end.
The incredible story of Robert John Ransom – better known as Jack Ransom – will form part of tomorrow’s VJ Day commemorations, which are to be marked by a series of “virtual” events organised by Armed Forces charities Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, in partnership with the Scottish Government. Programmes will be broadcast live via the charities’ social media channels to mark the milestone anniversary. A virtual Service of Remembrance will be shown from 10:35am, and will be followed at midday by a virtual concert.
On Monday, 17th August, which will mark the first full week of the new school term, a live lesson will help to ensure that younger generations have an opportunity to learn more about the significance of VJ Day.
Speaking to Legion Scotland, Mr Ransom described his vivid memories from his time during the six-year conflict. Mr Ransom, who is originally from Peckham, in London, and now lives in Largs, said: “I joined the Territorial Army at the beginning of 1939. When War was declared on the first Monday of September 1939, I was already in uniform at Woolwich Barracks, in London. I was attached to the 118 Field Regiment Royal Artillery.”
It was two years until Mr Ransom left these shores, as he explains: “We left the shores of Blighty in November ’41. We were in the first convoy, known as the ‘Secret Convoy’, that was escorted by the American Navy. At that time, America had not joined Britain in the War, but they were escorting British troops. We left Liverpool and we were met halfway across the Atlantic by the Atlantic Fleet of the Americans. In other words, our escort changed from two or three very old destroyers to a complete flotilla that included aircraft carriers and battleships.
“We eventually arrived in Nova Scotia and were transferred to American vessels and we went aboard an American troop ship. And from there we sailed right down the coast of South America calling at Trinidad and then across to South Africa. And when the convoy got to Cape Town that’s when Pearl Harbour happened, which brought America into the War.
“We thought we were going to north Africa, but due to the fact that Japan was now in the War, I think the government was worried about Malaya. The Australian government wanted back-up, so instead we would go to the Far East. We were sent to India for three weeks while they made their mind up. We went back to Bombay and sailed for Singapore, arriving towards the end of January. We never got off the island as the Japanese were too far down and had pushed the Australians back.”
But it wasn’t long before Mr Ransom and his comrades were compelled to surrender… but it was not a decision that was met with approval. He adds: “I never saw the Japanese until I was taken prisoner on Singapore island. We were given the order to surrender. We didn’t surrender; we were ordered to surrender.
“We didn’t understand while we were surrendering. The reason we were given was that the civilian population in Singapore town were suffering. Eventually, the Japanese moved in, but, before then, we did as much damage to our equipment as we could to make sure we didn’t pass on any vital pieces.
“When they arrived, we were absolutely bewildered. They were small, non-descript looking men, and our first thought was: ‘Why are we surrendering?’ However, the deed had been done. We were marched from Singapore town up to Changhai to be prisoners of war. That commenced my period as a POW, a period which lasted from February 1942 until August 1945.
“For a while in captivity, we led our own lives. We grew vegetables, we chopped down trees for firewood, we got a ration of rice which we cooked for ourselves. We didn’t get any parcels or mail, or anything from the Red Cross whatsoever. We looked after ourselves as best we could.”
However, things would take a dramatic turn for the worse, as Mr Ransom explains: “It all changed when the Japanese penetrated into Burma. They had to find a way to get supplies to their troops and could only do it via Thailand, so they had to construct the railway from Thailand into Burma. The plans they used were old ones that had been formulated by the British. For the building of that railway they needed labour. They transferred most of the prisoners of war to Thailand to build it.
“The POWs went up to the railway in Thailand in groups and I went up in the final group. By that time, hundreds of POWs that had gone up previously had died from cholera and various other diseases. When I arrived, they needed people to work on the railway at the Burma border, so we marched from the start of the railway up to Burma. It was about 200 miles. Well, some of us got there, some of us didn’t.
“Eventually we got to a small camp and we were put to work building the railway embankment. We were on that for quite a time… After the railway was more or less up and running, we were put on the job of supplying ballasts for the railway, which meant working in quarries breaking up stone, which in itself was a hazardous job. Flints fly into your legs and your arms and your body and these turn into tropical ulcers… not so nice.
“Attempts to escape were made by one or two individuals, but they were caught. But where would you go? There was nothing around for hundreds of miles. Those that were caught were brought back and beheaded. Once the railway was up and running, they needed us somewhere else. Those left were put on trains and taken back before being divided into two lots. One group went to Japan to work in the mines, and the group I was in was sent back to Singapore where I worked for the Japanese digging defence tunnels.”
But Mr Ransom and his comrades then began to get a sense that the tide was turning in favour of the Allies, as he describes: “By this time, in 1944, the Americans were starting to push back the Japanese. We started to realise that things were not going too well for our captors. So, at least we had a thought of something to look forward to.
“We knew nothing about VE Day and we didn’t know that the Atom Bombs had dropped, but we thought that things might be going our way. I was working on the defence tunnels in Singapore. You worked from daybreak until night. We worked seven days a week apart from one single day when it was the Emperor’s birthday.
“Every morning we were collected by the Japanese guards at dawn, but one morning they didn’t turn up. We didn’t know why. We returned the next morning, but, again, the Japanese didn’t come. Then the rumours started. Somebody said that the Japanese were about to surrender. We didn’t believe it. But eventually, of course, it became true.
“The first sign that I had was a paratrooper walking up the road towards the jail. I said: ‘Good morning!’ I was a scarecrow, I was in rags, no shoes – I only weighed six stone. We were fed on only one bowl of rice a day. I was so pleased to see somebody. Then, suddenly, the rations got better for us. And more clothes were found – mainly coloured T-shirts.
“Eventually, Earl Mountbatten arrived and accepted the surrender of the Japanese. Then he came up to the Changhai jail. We knew he was in charge of everything, so we turned out a Guard of Honour. It must have been the most non-descript Guard of Honour he has ever seen. No two were dressed the same. Some had shoes, some did not. He walked down the Guard of Honour of 90 of us as if he was at Buckingham Palace.
“I had to wait until the end of September for transport, and I came home on a Polish ship. It took a month to get home and we docked at Liverpool. We were kitted out and I got my stripes back again – I was a Sergeant. I was checked by doctors and got away the next morning to King’s Cross. There, we were picked up in cars and taken home. I went up to the front door and my Father opened up. And there I was. Home. I hadn’t been back since 1941.”
And looking towards the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, Mr Ransom has some very poignant thoughts: “Thinking back the past 75 years to 1945, there are three things that are in my mind. One, I never forget my comrades; those that did not come home. And there were many of them.
“The second thing is, I always think that if it hadn’t been of the dropping of the Atom Bombs I would not have been released in time to save my life, but, of course, in my mind is the thought that by dropping the Atom Bombs all of those civilians – men, women and children – died in Japan. And last thing, now that I am 100 and have received a birthday card from Her Majesty The Queen, I think of the Emperor of Japan who should have also sent me a birthday card. After all, I did work for his grandfather, too.”
Legion Scotland Chief Executive Dr Claire Armstrong said: “Mr Ransom is well loved and respected amongst our Legion membership and in the community of Largs. It’s easy to see why. His account demonstrates a man of great resilience and humour, who, despite his experiences during the War, has gone on to live a long and fruitful life.
“His story gives great insight into the experience of Prisoners of War and the horrendous conditions they had to endure. And yet he, and many, many others like him, carried on with a spirit of optimism and determination. We are truly grateful for the men and women of the Second World War generation for their service and sacrifice. On the eve of the 75th anniversary of this important milestone in our nation’s history, we are calling on the nation to pause, to remember and to pay tribute to Jack, and so many other like him.”
The Far East campaign began on 7th December 1941 when Japan attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour. The British colony of Hong Kong was attacked the following day and, over the subsequent weeks, the British retreated to Singapore, where they were forced to surrender with more than 9,000 men killed or wounded. A further 130,000 were captured and became POWs, facing years of appalling conditions.
The Allied fightback began in 1944 and was led by the British Fourteenth Army, stated to be the largest all-volunteer army in history with 2,500,000 men and comprised mainly of units from India and East and West Africa, as well as Britain. The campaign to recapture Burma was one of the longest fought by the British during the War, but they finally entered the capital, Rangoon, on 2nd May 1945. Just as they prepared to progress onwards to Malaya and Singapore, the Atom Bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki leading to the Japanese surrender on the 15th August 1945, officially marking the end of the Second World War.

Digital Highland
Date: 9th September 2020

Time: 10:00 - 11:15

Registration for this event is now open for all and will have optional presentations on “Digi Skills” or “Digital Opportunities for Businesses”.

Please register your interest in attending here:  Digital Highland Ticket Site
The Highland Armed Forces Events (HAFE) committee was founded in late 2019 by Sophie Mackay, a Veteran Cavalry & Artillery Reserve Officer living and working for Scottish Water in Inverness. The Committee was initiated to provide an opportunity for Veterans, Armed Forces personnel & families in the Scottish Highlands & Islands in order to support networking and individuals through the adventure that is life.
Due to the over-subscription of the initial event that was planned for March 2020 and was postponed due to Covid-19, the committee joined forces with the Highland Armed Forces Covenant Employability Working Group. This move has brought together a wealth of experience from across the region and includes Scottish Water, Poppyscotland, Skills Development Scotland, the Highland Council, NHS Highland & Officers Association of Scotland among others.
The vision is that the Scottish Highlands & Islands will remain an attractive destination for currently serving & ex serving personnel & their families. HAFE will provide both virtual & physical events based upon specific areas of interest to the diverse individuals

Unforgotten Forces – Update 6 on Revised Services During
Covid-19 Outbreak 

The link below provides a summary of revised services available for older veterans via the Unforgotten Forces consortium partners during the current Coronavirus outbreak as at 7th Aug 20. Obviously, the situation is changing at short notice as the coronavirus restrictions are eased and so further updates will be provided as and when appropriate. Meantime however, with the exception of three of the consortium’s service delivery types which unfortunately have had to be placed in abeyance or terminated, the remainder are for the time being continuing to deliver a modified service in support of older veterans as outlined below here in relation to each of the consortium’s partner organisations.

The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment) VJ75 Film


A short film has been produced by The Royal Scots Association in relation to the VJ75 anniversary and some of the stories that have been recorded.  Below is a link to the short film if you wish to see more:

Forces In Mind Trust awards grants to test a new treatment for morally injured Veterans

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £270,830 to the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) at King’s College London, in partnership with veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, to design and conduct a feasibility study of a psychological treatment for morally injured* UK veterans.

The project follows on from a previous FiMT-funded study on veterans’ and clinicians’ experiences of moral injury in the UK, The experiences and impact of moral injury in UK veterans. One of the key findings from the research, which is due to be published later this year, was that there is currently no standardised guidance for the effective treatment of moral injury-related mental health problems in UK veterans. This new award seeks to fill this gap by funding the development, design, and evaluation of a new treatment.

The research team, led by Dr Victoria Williamson and Professor Neil Greenberg at King’s College London, and Dr Dominic Murphy at Combat Stress, will conduct a comprehensive review of UK and international treatments for moral injury, and consult with leading professionals in the field, as well as with veterans who have been treated for moral injury related psychological problems. The team will then test the final treatment model for acceptability, appropriateness, and clinical relevance with 20 morally injured veterans who are receiving treatment from Combat Stress. The findings will be used to inform professionals working with both veterans as well as with other occupational groups vulnerable to moral injury such as health care workers and first responders.

The project is expected to start in October 2020 and be conducted over 27 months.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“The initial research provided us with a robust evidence base on the under-researched topic of moral injury in UK veterans. Now we know how morally injurious events can negatively impact upon ex-Service personnel, it is important that further research is carried out to examine how we can best support them. This project will contribute to the fundamental aims of FiMT’s Health Programme, to fund evidence generation that will increase expertise, awareness and understanding of the health needs of the ex-Service community, and ensure that the subsequent service delivery and support appropriately reflect those needs.”

Dr Dominic Murphy, Head of Research at Combat Stress, said:

“By the end of this project we plan to have learnt the best way to treat veterans who have experienced moral injuries. Given the current morally complex challenges Covid-19 is presenting healthcare professionals with, we would hope that our findings can then be applied to support other groups of individuals as well.”

Dr Victoria Williamson from the King’s Centre of Military Health Research, King’s College London said:

“There has been an increasing awareness around the concept of moral injury and, although first described in military personnel, it has become especially relevant in light of its application to COVID-19 frontline workers who may have experienced psychological distress resulting from actions, or lack of them, that go against their moral or ethical code. No evidence-based approaches to treat those who experience moral injury-related mental health difficulties currently exist. Our feasibility trial, kindly funded by the Forces in Mind Trust, will be the first of its kind in the UK to develop, design and evaluate a treatment module for moral injury-related mental health difficulties in UK military veterans. We hope the result of this study will eventually help those affected by moral injury across the UK and globally.”

Veterans Welfare Service

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) provides a professional help and advice service to veterans or anyone supporting a veteran, their families and dependants.

VWS is run by the Ministry of Defence’s (MODVeterans UK and provides free one-to-one support to veterans or anyone supporting a veteran, their families and dependants, with a national network of welfare managers across the UK and Republic of Ireland.

We work together with the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force, local authorities, voluntary organisations, service charities and Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees to provide a free welfare service that promotes independence, maintains dignity and provides continuous support through life.

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Logie Green Road
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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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