April 2019 - Issue 5
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Injured veterans join celebrities to create inspirational podcast series, ‘The Resilience Sessions’

Veterans who’ve been injured and public figures have come together to share their stories of the tragedies and obstacles they’ve faced and discuss how they’ve moved forward to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

The Resilience Sessions podcast series features compelling in-depth interviews bringing to light lifechanging and affirming experiences of veterans who have suffered devastating injuries, and the unknown personal struggles of celebrity guests who have fought to overcome hardship, including mental health problems, disability, devastating injury and bereavement.

In the first series, guests Carol Vorderman, Jonny Benjamin, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Michael Caines, Vick Hope and Ray Winstone and veterans Simon Harmer, Stewart Harris, Nerys Pearce, Mark Ormrod, Shaun Stocker and Ken Bellringer share their inner most thoughts and feelings about resilience and adversity, and how it has shaped them.

They have found that sharing their experience is the best way to help others tackle increasing pressures on mental health in the modern era.

The Resilience Sessions podcast follows on from the hugely successful Making Generation R – Resilience Through Inspiration, a campaign from Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans, and The Drive Project, the creative social enterprise, where wounded veterans deliver resilience workshops to 50,000 11-18-year olds and first responders across the UK based on their own stories of overcoming adversity.

The idea for a podcast was born out of a conversation between Alice Driver, founder and MD of the Drive Project, and military veteran Si Harmer, who came close to death after losing both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2009.

He said:

“During my rehabilitation in hospital, the days were busy with people coming and going, but at night it became a very lonely and sad place. I wanted to put in my headphones and listen to something positive that would give me a sliver of hope and be part of a positive conversation.”

Alice added:

“The Resilience Sessions podcast aims to create meaningful and inspiring conversations between two unlikely individuals, to talk about their experiences, careers, challenges and how they have handled resilience in their own lives, to act as an inspiration and support to those listening. We are using technology to connect veterans with others who have faced similar difficulties in life, to encourage their resilience against feelings of anxiety and poor self-esteem.”

The opening podcast episode sees Carol Vorderman paired with Si, revealing how her challenging childhood motivated her to achieve amazing things.

“I think it was hardship that motivated me, it gave me a fire and a feistiness,” said Carol, whose father stood on an IED and was injured whilst working as a radio man in the Dutch Resistance.

The Resilience Sessions is brought to you by Blesma, the limbless veterans charity, and is based on an original idea by Simon Harmer and The Drive Project. The Resilience Sessions are supported by Openreach and produced by The Drive Project. Episodes will be:

• Carol Vorderman MBE and Simon Harmer (Podcast available from 9 April)
• Jonny Benjamin MBE and Stewart Harris (Podcast available from 9 April)
• Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Nerys Pearce (Podcast available from 16 April)
• Michael Caines MBE and Mark Ormrod (Podcast available from 23 April)
• Vick Hope and Shaun Stocker BEM (Podcast available from 30 April)
• Ray Winstone and Ken Bellringer (Podcast available from 7 May)

The podcast will be available from all major podcast platforms including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more.

Ian Waller, Blesma Operations Director said:

“Our Members’ inspirational stories of dealing with life-changing injuries are powerful examples of how crucial resilience is to recovery. The Resilience Sessions are designed to help people draw strength to face their own challenges and they clearly resonated with the personalities. Blesma is committed to supporting injured veterans to regain their independence and it is typical that they want to help others by talking about their experiences. We hope it will help promote resilience for listeners.”

Introducing Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service

Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service will have national capability with staff who have undergone significant training and are equipped to reach out to beneficiaries with multiple and complex needs. We consider that the service will prove transformational to how we deliver our Welfare Services.

The addition of four Welfare Support Officers and two Independent Living Advisers will offer Poppyscotland a unique opportunity to provide support in a holistic manner, using a person-centric approach to those who experience significant challenges or where there are limitations to service accessibility.

The development of the Welfare Support Service will offer a significant opportunity to further embed our partnership approach to working in order that timely and joined up support is available to those who need it most, thereby future-proofing our support to the Armed Forces community in Scotland.


Sharon Higgins, Deputy Head of Welfare Services (Welfare Support) 

Sharon is responsible for all aspects of the delivery of the Welfare Support Service. In the early days of her role, Sharon has been responsible for the development and implementation of the new Service, recruitment of the team, mapping out services, processes and procedures and working to existing policies.

Welfare Support Officers

Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Officers provide individuals within the Armed Forces community with appropriate welfare support and advice in an integrated and seamless way, taking a person-centred approach based on a thorough analysis of circumstances and needs. They provide support and advocacy to vulnerable beneficiaries and/or those identified as having multiple and complex needs. They will develop and manage Individual Support Plans, acting as point of contact for clients whilst working in collaboration with partner organisations to draw on inputs from a wide network of professionals, agencies and volunteers.

Veterans, Army in Scotland Presentation 

Brigadier Robin Lindsay, Commander HQ 51st Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Army in Scotland, is delighted to invite Veterans to an Army in Scotland presentation on Tuesday 21st May.  The aim of the evening is to update you on the Army in Scotland and the roles and responsibilities of the 51st Infantry Brigade, seeking your advocacy and support in messaging the communities we live amongst and recruit from. The presentation lasts approximately 1 hour and will explain the Army laydown in Scotland and its focus areas including operations in the UK and overseas. It will also touch on Recruitment, Resettlement, Transition and Veterans Welfare Service, Housing and Basing changes in Scotland.   Please encourage your fellow Veterans to attend with you.   

Following the presentation, there will be a question and answer session where audience members can ask about the Army in Scotland or Army Policy in Scotland.  Come and meet the all ranks briefing team and afterwards join them for refreshments.  

There will also be plenty of opportunity to talk to members of the team informally.  Veterans of all ranks are welcome. 

Please register via Eventbright:

Small-scale randomised control trial of PTSD treatment given go-ahead

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded funds of £318,114 to King’s College London (King’s), to undertake a small-scale randomised control trial of a treatment for ex-Service personnel with PTSD.

Researchers on the 28-month study will recruit and support 60 ex-Service personnel in Northern Ireland in a comparative evaluation study of Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories (RTM), against an existing Gold Standard Treatment, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (TF-CBT)1.

RTM is a non-trauma focused therapy developed in the US based on Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), which seeks to understand verbal and non-verbal language patterns and intentionally changes them to enable someone to think and/or feel differently about something that had previously distressed them.

Evidence from US veteran studies report low dropout rates, with most participants PTSD symptom free at 6-week follow-up; the treatment also appears to be quick to administer and to demonstrate results and is well tolerated.

NLP is widespread in UK veteran charities; however, the lack of regulation has led to concerns by various bodies (including Devolved Governments, NHS veteran services, key charities) about the potential of the therapy to cause harm, to deter future help-seeking, or to be complex and costly to administer at scale.

The overall aim of this pilot project is to establish whether it is feasible to undertake at a later date a much larger UK-wide study to determine whether RTM provides a quick, well tolerated and effective treatment, and is no less effective in terms of the rehabilitative outcomes when compared to the existing Gold Standard Treatment, TF-CBT. This is the first important stage in a scientifically rigorous approach to evaluating and understanding whether RTM holds the potential for healing that it promises.

Veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress to host business symposium

A century of Veteran mental health, the advancements in treatment and the changing attitudes towards employing Veterans is the focus of this year’s free-to-attend Military Mind business symposium presented by Combat Stress. The symposium will be held from 9am to 2.30pm on 23 May at 1599 at The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Sponsored by Thales, Military Mind will explore the value that former servicemen and women add to an organisation’s productivity and the practical ways that companies can ensure the workplace wellbeing of their veteran and reservist employees.  The event will centre on what support companies can implement, regardless of their size or sector. Experts in the field of military mental health, as well as those in the corporate sector who employ veterans, will join clinical specialists from Combat Stress to present methods that businesses have used to create a supportive environment for veterans and reservists at work.


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.

Download the Toolkit button

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

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.

Further details can be found on the website .


Future funding programme to support Armed Forces Families

Sonia Howe, Director of Policy at the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust explained more.

 The Armed Forces Covenant Fund has four broad funding themes now and in future years. Removing barriers to family life is one of the four priorities of the Armed Forces Covenant, and there has been some significant support for families, particularly through the Families in Stress programme. But we know that there is more need out there; and we are looking at developing programmes to support Armed Forces families in their broadest sense, both serving and veteran families, and families from Foreign and Commonwealth countries. We are also thinking about the needs of young people from Armed Forces Families.

The Trust will announce further information on 2019/20 programmes in May 2019.

Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust launches Removing Barriers to Family Life programme

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has launched a £7.5M programme to award grants to Armed Forces Charities or CICs or Armed Forces Units working with Armed Forces Families.

The programme will make grants to projects where we can see that the project is addressing a clear need, and where we think the idea will be of practical benefit to Armed Forces Families. The focus of the project should be on supporting the family; rather than serving personnel or veterans.

This programme is about supporting Armed Forces Families facing challenges. Large grants will help to address substantial challenges; providing funding for transformative ideas. Medium grants will support projects that make a proven difference to Armed Forces Families and will support existing work.

This programme will be delivered in two strands:
Medium Strand: Grants of between £30,000-£100,000 to support existing or new projects that meet a clear need for Armed Forces Families.
Large Strand: Grants between £100,001- £300,000 with some exceptional projects potentially receiving up to £500,000. Projects will need to be able to show that they will have a transformative effect, and that the changes they achieve will be sustainable.

Read about the programme here.

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:

Search for D-Day veterans in Scotland.

Legion Scotland are holding a National D-Day 75 Commemorative Service on the 6th of June at the Scottish National War Memorial.

We would like to invite D-Day and Normandy veterans to attend. If you know of any veterans in your branch or local community who would like to be involved we would love to hear from you.


Please contact Liz Kyle on if you have contact details of any veterans who would like to be invited. Please ensure you have their permission before passing on contact information.

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:

Updated guidance on charity accounting

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has updated its guidance on the legal requirements for preparing charity accounts and getting those accounts externally scrutinised. The legal requirements have not changed but the updated guidance aims to help charity trustees better understand the requirements. All of a charity's trustees are responsible for the preparation of the charity's accounts, even if they are not accountants or financial experts. So it's important that the guidance is accessible to all trustees.

Before you begin to prepare your charity's accounts, you should read A Guide to Charity Accounts. This guide explains the type of accounts that your charity should prepare and the kind of external scrutiny of the accounts that is required. 

Read More Here

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.

Positive Pathways – what did the consultation say?

The Positive Pathways Programme is part of the £10M Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund. The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust launched a consultation in late 2018 to help shape this programme.

124 individuals and organisations responded; and there is broad support that the programme should support a range of activities. There is particular support for sporting activities and activities where people are outside.

When asked to consider if it is better to fund more smaller projects or fewer larger projects respondents preferred that the programme supported more smaller projects. There was limited support for residential activities.

Employment Opertunities

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 Voice of Veterans

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.

Runner Ryan’s fundraising bid for Poppyscotland is no small feat!


You could say he’s a man who does things by halves – just lots of them! Glasgow man Ryan Small is taking on the challenge of running a half-marathon each day for a month in order to raise vital funds for leading Armed Forces charity Poppyscotland.

Ryan, 39, who lives in the city’s West End, takes the story on:

“I was inspired to do this after watching a video with US Marine Paralympic athlete Rob Jones. Rob lost both legs above the knee and still managed to run 31 marathons in 31 days – an outstanding achievement by any standards.

Poppy Bud in Full Bloom as Major Remembrance Project Launches


A ground-breaking new project that aims to explore a contemporary understanding of remembrance was launched today by leading Armed Forces charity Poppyscotland.

Known as ‘Bud’, the 18-tonne truck transforms into an interactive learning space and will travel to schools and events across the country in the coming years. First to have an opportunity to visit Bud were pupils from St Denis’ Primary School in Glasgow.

Following this inaugural outing, Bud will travel the length and breadth of Scotland visiting schools and diverse communities. Not only will it interpret the heritage of the poppy but will host activities for groups to explore and share a contemporary understanding of remembrance, the nature of conflict and the poppy’s role in modern Scottish society as a symbol of unity and hope.

Exhibits within the mobile museum include historical artefacts, interactive displays and the moving stories of veterans and their families who have been supported by Poppyscotland. Visitors to Bud will also have the opportunity to make their own poppy using the same methods as the 34-stong team of disabled veterans at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, who still hand-produce the five million poppies for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal.

Following the visit, guests will then be invited to visit the Bud website to share their own story of reflection and hope which will result in the creation of their own poppy “avatar” – a personalised visual representation of what the poppy and remembrance means to them.

Collaboration encouraged throughout the Service Charities Sector through Cobseo’s latest Information Note


Cobseo, The Confederation of Services Charities, has published an Information Note on efficiencies and rationalisations encouraging its Membership to consider the benefits of collaborative working. The Note identifies the opportunities for Members to achieve efficiencies through various forms of joint working. The overall aim of all efficiencies is to achieve the greatest level of support for all beneficiaries.

The Information Note explores the increasing pressures on the charity sector that requires organisations to take bold decisions on how they operate to ensure a successful and sustainable future. The document describes four general forms of efficient working; convergence; cooperative; co-working; and consolidation, as well as the typical issues to be addressed to achieve a successful joint working arrangement.

The Note offers guidance to Members and does not contain any minimum expectations or firm obligations; its purpose is to stimulate discussion within the Membership and to present new ideas for Members to consider within their own organisation. It was written with the help of organisations within the Service Charities Sector and includes recent examples of successful collaborations to provide greater context and best practice.

The Efficiency and Rationalisation Information Note can be found here on the Cobseo Governance hub. For more information on the series of Aide Memoires now available for Members, please click here.

Veterans Scotland Website
Our Mailing address is:
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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