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3 April 2020 (Edition - Issue 21)

Weekly Roundup from the General Secretary – Jim Wilson


Week 2 of the Covid-19 social isolation and restrictions on movement and, it has been heartening to see how veterans’ organisations and charities are adapting to the new conditions and demands placed on their services. The focus for many charities has turned 180 degrees, from encouraging people to get out of their houses, meeting up and taking part in activities, to making sure that food and essential prescriptions are being delivered to them. We must not underestimate how much harder it has become to identify many of our veterans who are either unaware of the support that may be available for them or who don’t have the means to contact them; the importance of befriending services has really come to the front.

If you’re providing services in the local area, have you got the right connections with other organisations who may come across veterans who may benefit from your support and do they know how to signpost to you?

I have been very impressed by the way that organisations have adapted; there are many excellent examples included in this Newsletter and I would urge everyone to consider whether someone else’s good idea can be altered to suit your organisation. I have heard many stories of individuals who are going out of their way to help others – looking out for neighbours, checking up on the old bloke that lives up the street and so on; there is also good news on the way that people who are willing to volunteer can come forward – check out the Coronavirus Community Assistance Directory at:        https://covid-19.scvo.org.uk/  if you want to volunteer or if you are looking for volunteers – it would be good to see some veterans organisations on the list if you need people to support your efforts.

The change in circumstances has also brought about changes in demands on organisations’ funds. There are a number of funds now in place, to support charities that have been adversely affected by the situation, most notably perhaps the Scottish Third Sector Resilience Fund and the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), details can be found at  https://scvo.org/support/coronavirus/funding/for-organisations/third-sector-resilience-fund   and https://www.cafonline.org/  respectively. Organisations that have already been given grant funding for specific projects should also consider liaising with their funders on whether they can adapt the focus of their project or, if the project is time limited, see if the period in which the grant is used may be extended.

One of Veterans Scotland objectives is Communication, and I would be interested in hearing what our member organisations have done to cope in the current situation, please do get in touch if you feel that you have found novel ways to deliver your services and we will share good examples in the Newsletter.       
 
 

Scotland Cares volunteer campaign


A new ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need, via the Ready Scotland website.

Community Assistance Directory 

If you are an individual or organisation in need of support or able to offer support to others in response to coronavirus, you can find and give help in this new official website which collates offers and requests of support from across the country. 
 

Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub

COVID-19 Pandemic Survey

The Team at Blind Veterans UK with the University Oxford has produced a survey, regarding current status, general health and feelings, which is now being launched to a variety of communities. The purpose of the survey is to explore the experiences of individuals during the current COVID-19 pandemic situation in order to provide informed feedback to the scientific community.

This data will inform knowledge on the status of individuals and communities. The data will be used to develop appropriate responses in support of those communities.

The survey is being made available to a large number of communities in the UK and internationally and are very interested in the armed forces and veteran community as a particular cohort.

Take part in the survey here.

 

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is committed to support the voluntary sector through the coronavirus pandemic.  We have set up this bulletin to share important information with you including funding announcements. 

Help & advice for employees

Citizens Advice Scotland has created a section on their website with lots of useful information for employees who have been impacted by coronavirus, which covers everything from bills to benefits.

Look after your mental wellbeing

It's always important to look after your mental health, but even more so at times like these when we are all faced with uncertainty and isolation. The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) also has a dedicated web page with resources to help people maintain good mental health during the ongoing pandemic, including blogs, guided meditation and a wellbeing assessment tool.

Funding for organisations

Various funds have been announced recently to help organisations deal with the impact of coronavirus on services:
  • Third Sector Resilience Fund - a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations which find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Community Response, Recovery & Resilience Fund - the National Emergencies Trust has set up a Coronavirus Appeal to raise funds for local charities and grassroots organisations that can provide vital support - funds for Scottish organisations will be distributed by Foundation Scotland.
  • Creative Scotland - three funding programmes have been launched to help provide further support to sustain the country’s creative community impacted by coronavirus.
  • CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund - grants of up to £10,000 to help smaller organisations to continue to deliver much needed support. 
Further funding information and links are available on the Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub funding page.

Scotland Cares volunteer campaign

A new ‘Scotland Cares’ campaign has been launched to encourage people to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
While the most important ask for the public remains to stay at home and follow the essential public health guidance, people who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need, via the Ready Scotland website.

Community Assistance Directory 

If you work or volunteer for an organisation in need of support or that is able to offer support to others in response to coronavirus, you can find and give help in this new official website which collates offers and requests of support from across the country. 

Online events & webinars

We have created an events calendar in our guidance & support page in an attempt to capture any online events set up in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Scotland’s third sector.
If your organisation is hosting a webinar, online course or seminar on this topic and would like to promote it, please contact us with details.

What you can do to help

 
 
Funding Support

Covid-19 Response from The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust

In these extraordinary times we’ve been heartened by the responses from the projects that we work with and we’d like to let you know that we’ll do all we can to help the project we’ve funded keep supporting the people who benefit from the grant that we have awarded; and we’ll be launching more programmes to help.

At the Trust, we are responding to the pandemic by ;

  1. Providing support to all of our grant holders to help them continue their work
  • Delivering emergency funding quickly to support veterans who are particularly vulnerable
  • Launching a package of programmes to support the Armed Forces Community with  funding from the Covenant Fund and from HM Treasury ; with special attention on those who have faced hardships as a result of the pandemic; on projects to help isolated people reconnect with wider communities; projects that support improved mental health and encouraging stronger links between Armed Forces Charities.

CAF Coronavirus Emergency Fund

This Fund has seen established to help smaller charitable organisations in the UK affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 are available.

About the fund

In this time of national crisis, CAF has launched this rapid response Fund to help smaller charitable organisations affected by the impact of Covid-19. Grants of up to £10,000 will help them to continue to deliver much needed support to our communities across the UK.

This is intended as a rapid response fund, and they aim to make payments to selected organisations within 14 days of application.

They anticipate high numbers of applicants and unfortunately it is likely that they will not be able to offer a grant to all eligible applicants.

£1 billion Business Support Fund opens

Grants to help businesses with COVID-19 impact.

Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The one-off grants are designed to help protect jobs, prevent business closures and promote economic recovery, and more than 90,000 ratepayers across Scotland will be able to benefit.

The grant support is additional to separate tax relief measures and is part of a package of measures worth £2.2 billion.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

• a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses

• a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Third Sector Resilience Fund

The Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF) is a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund will support organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The primary intention of the fund is to help third sector organisations to stabilise and manage cash flows over this difficult period.

The Fund will be delivered by FirstportSocial Investment Scotland and the Corra Foundation and will provide grants between £5,000-£100,000. In addition there will be up to a further £5m available in fully flexible, 0% interest loans starting at £50,000. The fund will be complemented by specialist business advice from Just Enterprise to help grant recipients maximise the impact of the financial support.

To find out if your organisation could be successful in gaining support from this fund please use the eligibility checker. This will filter you through to the correct route for your organisation to apply.

To be eligible, interested organisations must be:

  • a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation based in Scotland and/or primarily delivering services/activities in Scottish communities;
  • already delivering those products or services prior to March 2020;
  • and needing funding to stabilise cashflows directly as a result of the impact of COVID-19, as opposed to pre-existing financial difficulties

Interested applicants are encouraged to read the fund’s guidance notes and FAQs prior to starting an application.

In order to apply, organisations must complete a short eligibility checker to assess their suitability for the fund. Based on the answers provided, interested applicants will be directed to the correct application form depending on their needs or signposted to other sources of relevant funding/support.

Eligibility checker

BFBS Big Salute Open for 2020 Grant Applications

Forces charities can now apply for project-based grants from BFBS’ annual Big Salute campaign.

Big Salute grants are awarded up to the value of £10k per charity so the funds can make a huge difference to the lives of those in need in the forces community, from service children to veterans.

Recent grants have helped projects such as the RAF Association’s Befriending service, the refurbishment of the Royal Navy’s Drumfork Community Centre in Faslane, and funded more farm animals at The Clervaux Trust, used by families based at Catterick Garrison.

Following last year’s application process, the Big Salute committee has awarded grants to these 15 charities:

  • Dame Agnes Weston’s Royal Charity for The Naval Service;
  • Fares4Free;
  • Felix Fund;
  • FirstLight Trust;
  • Help 4 Homeless Veterans;
  • Home-Start Hampshire;
  • Horseback UK;
  • KartForce;
  • On Course Foundation UK;
  • Royal Caledonian Education Trust;
  • The Not Forgotten Association;
  • The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation;
  • Turn to Starboard;
  • Veterans In Action and
  • Waterloo Uncovered.

Full details about how to apply for the next round of funding is online at www.bigsalute.com where charities can request an application form.

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2020.

Grants available from the Veterans' Foundation




The Veterans’ Foundation provides grants to organisations that are helping serving and retired members of the armed forces, qualifying seafarers, and their dependants, who are in need. Grants up to £30K spread over one to three years are available and the deadline for applications are the end of December, March, May and September.

Further details can be found at www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/grantapplication/.
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.

RAFBF Guide to their services

Charity Governance and Governance Support

A range of information and support is available on the OSCR website for charities who are based in Scotland or operate within Scotland.  We recommend that charities and trusties are familiar with the guidance that has been provided to ensure that they are fully compliant.  Further information is available on the OSCR website here

Resources

Veterans Scotland Information Booklet


The latest copy is available via the link here

Local Authority Guides


Several Local Authorities across Scotland have now produce their own Service Leavers and Veterans Guides.  Copies of the guides are available on the Veterans Assist website under the resources tab or directly from your Local Authority.
 
 
 
 
 
Health & Wellbeing

H & W - Key updates since last week are:

 
  • Cobseo now have a Covid-19 hub on their website and dedicated section in their weekly newsletter. This information can be accessed by anyone (not just Cobseo members) – please feel free to share it via your own networks and newsletters. To request to be added to the Cobseo newsletter distribution list, please email Charlotte: c.fiander@cobseo.org.uk
   
  • Icarus have also been working with WYSA on a mental health app that is available to all free of charge – it can be found in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. WYSA has created free tool packs for dealing with health anxiety (for those potentially diagnosed) and remote wellness (for isolation). They are available immediately without charge across all locations and can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/Wysa_self_care. WYSA are also extending their premium service to frontline healthcare workers for free during this time. If you know anyone this may be useful for, please let them know – the service can be accessed at: https://www.wysa.io/healthcare
 
  • The launch event for the new Scottish Veterans’ Care Network, originally planned for 22 April, has been postponed to Tue 6 October at Stirling Court Hotel. 

venture trust

Be well. Be connected. Be ready

 

Venture Trust offering new support during COVID-19
 
 
To our valued referrers and partners,

We just want to let you know we are still taking referrals.

We have literally turned our services outside – in, moving from group-based personal development in Scotland’s wilderness and outdoors in communities to working with smart technology to reach those who need help most in their own homes.  Our new support service is online, with all Venture Trust support staff providing tailored support by phone or digital platforms. 

We are using our expertise in personal development and coaching to support people through this crisis, offering help from a dedicated worker and access to specialist support available in our 3

Digital Hubs


Active Living Hub 
Offer people personal development to maintain positive relationships, activities to build routine and stay healthy. This will include advice for keeping active and healthy eating. 

Wellbeing Hub 
Offer people counselling support and mental health advice from qualified Venture Trust professionals. This will be a service to all those in need of emotional or psychological support during their experience of isolation. 

Employability Hub 
Offer people core skills development, self-awareness, barrier removal and goal setting with employability support aimed at those looking for further training and progression to employment. Supporting people to be more ready for work or to volunteer in their community. 
 
 
 
How does new support system work?
Essentially the same as it did before.

If you, your team or organisation support:
  • Young people experiencing challenging life circumstances, who want to make positive life changes (involved in the criminal justice system, have been long term unemployment, recovering from addiction, a history of trauma/harm, isolation and homelessness)
  • Men and women in the criminal justice system and on Community Payback Order (and sometimes on other criminal justice orders)
  • Vulnerable women who've been involved in offending or at high risk of offending
  • Military veterans struggling with the transition to civilian life
Then we looking to continue working with you.

You will find details of our Digital Hubs by going direct to our New Support page. Our Venture Trust Outreach Team will be happy to speak with you directly and provide further information.

Please circulate to your teams and partners.

If you want to make a referral or want to know more about how we can work with you and your organisation please get in touch. 

referralseasthub@venturetrust.org.uk
or
easthub@venturetrust.cjsm.net - if you have a secure email

Telephone: 0131 228 7700
 
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.
 

Housing Benefit

You may get help with all or part of your rent. There’s no set amount of Housing Benefit and what you get will depend on whether you rent privately or from a council.

Use a benefits calculator to work out what you could get or check what extra help is available.

Members Updates

Support from The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity


The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity Chief Executive Adrian Bell has shared the following video message for beneficiaries:

Video Link and more on this article Here

The charity have also shared the following message regarding advice available though the COVID-19 pandemic:

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity continue to closely monitor the evolving COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) situation. As a national charity, our number one priority will continue to be the well-being, safety and health of our beneficiaries, staff, volunteers, trustees, office visitors, and the many organisations we work with.

Download the support guide here and click on the appropriate logo below to take you to the charity you think can best support you. There are exceptional organisations and charities are able to provide expert advice and financial support to those in need or distress.

Access the full support guide here.

Unforgotten Forces – Update on Revised Services During Covid-19 Outbreak as at 2nd Apr 20


The following is a summary of revised services available for older veterans via the Unforgotten Forces consortium partners during the current Coronavirus outbreak as at 2nd Apr 20. Obviously, the situation may change at short notice and 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, 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.

Keeping up self-care during COVID-19


Infectious disease outbreaks, like COVID-19 (Coronavirus), can be scary and can impact on our mental health. But there are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during this extraordinary situation.

As experts in mental health, Combat Stress have shared some help and advice to help everyone manage their mental health during this uncertain time. They hope this will help you take care of your mental health at a time when there feels to be so much threat to our physical health.

Access the website and advice here.

Poppyscotland puts its VE Day resources online for pupils

An exciting new digital education resource to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day has been launched that will allow children across the country to learn about and celebrate this important milestone, despite the lockdown.

Poppyscotland’s new interactive resource will be delivered over the charity’s extensive social media channels and Learning website from now until 8 May. The innovative new educational tools have been created by Poppyscotland in partnership with the Scottish Government and Legion Scotland.

The launch of a new 40-page ‘VE Day 75 Schools Pack’ took place at Christie Park Primary School, in Alexandria, earlier this month and was expected to be used in classrooms across the country in the run-up to VE Day on 8 May.

However, with Scotland in the grip of a global pandemic, the Learning team at Poppyscotland has worked tirelessly in recent days to ensure that a host of resources are available online for pupils to use as part of their new home-working regimes – especially as the physical events surrounding VE Day itself have been postponed or cancelled.

The VE Day 75 resources contain an abundance of facts and stories about what was life was like for those living through the Second World War, and includes sections on evacuees, rationing and Churchill’s famous VE Day speech. Pupils are being encouraged to discover more about how the War impacted on their local community and to stage their own ‘virtual’ VE Day Party.

Legion Scotland                                         

Virtual Hang Outs

With the imposed lock-down and social distancing many are more socially isolated than ever just now. One of our members Suzanne Fernando has been hosting face time meet ups online with friends, family and fellow veterans on a Facebook group called VIRTUAL Veteran Hang Outs!

Without this many of our fellow veterans would have had no face to face interaction at all these past few weeks, but now many can enjoy getting together for virtual comradeship.

Virtual hang outs are everyday, if you'd like to join the chat please pm or email Suzanne directly on suzfernando@yahoo.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/groups/349465529333113/

Fares4free   


Dear Passengers and Colleagues

Since Wednesday 11th March Fares4free have been carrying out essential journeys with the exception of journeys relating to gatherings, events, breakfast clubs, activity centres and social isolation in general. These journeys are of course essential but not appropriate at this time. We are now working with partner organisations around the country on the following:

Essential medical appointments.

Delivery of prescriptions.

Delivery of essential supplies of food and hygiene materials.

As always, if there is anything you can think of that we can help with please get in touch.

Fares4free normally work by referrals from partners qualified to assess need. We will during this period take self-referrals that we will assess and with consent signpost to support services.

While some organisations are closed to service users, most are available by phone including charities like Scottish War Blinded Poppyscotland VC at the KCComing Home CentreLothians Veterans Centre

All Fares4free drivers and transport providers are aware of hygiene procedures and will respect the 2-metre rule when delivering anything.

We'd like to thank the drivers and companies continuing to provide support to our service.


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Other News and Updates

Cyber Resilience Notice COVID-19 03/04/2020 

As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams, over the next few months, the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit will share important information from trusted sources with you. We ask that you consider circulating this information through your networks, adapting where you see fit.

We want to amplify the authoritative guidance and information. The National Cyber Security CentrePolice Scotland and Trading Standard Scotland are recognised authorities on cyber security, cyber-crime and scams respectively and we are working with them and others to:

  • identify and disseminate the latest updates on the cyber scams
  • provide advice on how to prevent or mitigate the impact of the scams and associated threats exploiting the COVID-19 situation.

This first issue will point to authoritative sources where you can find further information and guidance.

AUTHORITATIVE SOURCES

National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/

The NCSC is the UK authority on cyber security and supports the most critical organisations in the UK, the wider public sector, industry, SMEs as well as the general public. When incidents do occur the NCSC provide effective incident response to minimise harm to the UK, help with recovery and learn lessons for the future. The NCSC has numerous advice and guidance resources available online and tailored to suit the needs of all sizes of organisations from sole traders to large corporations and also includes advice and guidance to citizens.

NCSC CiSP – COVID-19 Information Sharing Group

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/cyber-security-information-sharing-partnership–cisp-

The CiSP is a joint industry and government initiative set up to exchange cyber threat information in real time in a secure, confidential and dynamic environment. The CiSP is increasing situational awareness and reducing the impact on UK businesses. A COVID-19 Information Sharing Group has been set up to share technical information to enable networks defenders to respond to COVID-19 related threats.

 


Career information, advice and guidance services.

 
We know it’s a very challenging time for everyone right now, with increasing uncertainty about the future.  Therefore, it is important that those who need support and guidance can continue to access services to help.
 
With that in mind, we wanted to let you know that Skills Development Scotland (SDS) are adapting their processes to ensure that the Armed Forces Community across Scotland are able to access support during the COVID-19 outbreak.
 
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s national skills body. They contribute to Scotland’s sustainable economic growth by supporting people and businesses to develop and apply their skills.
 
If you’re leaving the armed forces or have previously served, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is still there to support you and your family. They provide one-to-one career information, advice and guidance services. Including;
       
  • Members of the Armed Forces Community with children at school please be aware that SDS Careers Advisers will continue to proactively contact school pupils to offer them ongoing support during school closure.
  
Please feel free to share this information via your own networks if appropriate.
 
Please also refer to Skills Development Scotland’s website where they will be posting regular updates on our services during this time.

Veterans Factsheet 2020

Document with key facts and data about military veterans in the UK
Documents

Veterans Factsheet 2020

PDF, 2.04MB, 20 pages

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. 

Details

Key facts and data about military veterans in the UK, focussing on:

  • employment
  • health
  • housing
  • the justice system

It also provides sources of further information.


Published 24 March 2020
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