Scottish Government Support for the Veterans and Armed Forces Community 2020
This report highlights the Scottish Government’s continuing support for the Veterans and Armed Forces community in Scotland and provides an update on this year’s achievements and work undertaken to improve support and access to services for our Armed Forces, Veterans and their families.
Scotland pauses to remember The Fallen
The nation paused at 11am on Sunday 8 November to observe the two-minute silence, marking a very different Remembrance Sunday from any that have gone before. The coronavirus pandemic saw the cancellation of traditional remembrance events and parades across the country.
In Edinburgh, a closed national service of remembrance was held at the Scottish National War Memorial within Edinburgh Castle. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen and the people of Scotland by the Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, and the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, respectively. Senior representatives of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force were also amongst the wreath laying party, which totalled only 22 people due to social distancing requirements and the numbers permitted within places of worship.
Around Scotland, thousands of veterans, serving military personnel and members of the public took to their doorsteps to observe the two-minute silence in a moving tribute to the fallen.
Speaking at the national service of remembrance, the First Minister said:
“Remembrance Sunday is an opportunity for all of us to take time to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“It allows us a chance to honour the memory of those who gave their lives in the two World Wars and other conflicts, while also paying tribute to our veterans and those who continue to serve today.
“Commemorations this year have had to be marked differently because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and we understand it will be disappointing to many people that national services will not be open to the public. I am privileged to be able to lay a wreath today on behalf of the people of Scotland.”
Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE, National President of Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland, added:
“We have all been greatly affected by the cancellation of remembrance events around the country and this has been a great disappointment to so many because the act of remembrance is so very important.
“However, it has been heart-warming to see how we have all united in spirit, ensuring that remembrance is observed and that the memories of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice live on.”
2020 is a particularly poignant year as it marks the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. A moving dawn tribute took place on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, where the names of every military unit who suffered losses during the War were read out.
Scottish actor Valerie Edmonds, who led the tribute, said:
“Every single name of those who fell for Scotland in World War Two is listed in the books of the Scottish National War Memorial. We honour those who died in the darkest of times this morning at dawn on Remembrance Sunday as they gifted us light.”
Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland are calling on the public to take to their doorsteps once again on Wednesday 11 November at 11am to observe the two-minute silence for Armistice Day. The charities will also stream a virtual service of remembrance online from 1045 on Wednesday. To view the broadcast visit:
OA Scotland Centenary Bursary Award
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 https://www.oascotland.org.uk/welfare-services/centenary-bursary-award/
For your application to be considered at the June review please submit all documentation by 31 May 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.
Bursary application form
Pandemic 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.
If your organisation is alleviating challenges faced by beneficiaries caused by the pandemic, you may be able to quickly get a grant from the Veterans’ Foundation, through consideration out-of -committee; please follow the usual application process on the Veterans’ Foundation website.
Ordinarily, 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. Their next trustees’ grant-giving virtual meeting will be held at the end of April.
Further details can be found at www.veteransfoundation.org.uk/grant-application/.
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 ;
- Providing support to all of our grantholders 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.
Support to current grantholders
The Trust stayed open; and our small staff team are ready to grant holders in delivering their grants. We’ll make sure that any payments you are due continue to reach you in good time.
We know that the organisations we’ve funded are working hard during this time; and we are ready to support our grantholders by making helping them make the changes to their grants that they might need; either through extending the time to complete their projects, or making changes to their activities. We will write to all of our grantholders to give them information on how they can request changes to their projects easily.
Some of our grantholders have already worked with us to make changes to their grants; enabling the excellent support that they give to veterans to be delivered in a different way.
Emergency funding to support highly vulnerable veterans
The Trust is delighted to announce that we will be launching an emergency programme in April 2020; funded by HM Treasury from the new £10M Veterans Fund announced in the March Budget working with ASDIC; the Association of Veterans’ Drop in Centres, Cobseo, the Confederation of Service Charities and Age UK to support veterans who are vulnerable. By working in this way; we will be able to make grants more quickly, and get funding swiftly to communities where it can provide assistance.
Through the Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Programme we will to enable local drop in centres and breakfast clubs within the ASDIC network; local Age UK branches that already work with veterans and small charities within the Cobseo membership that were providing direct support to veterans in their communities to receive grants of up to £20,000 for projects focused on supporting veterans who are isolated and unable to access services or have limited social contact during the period of self isolation and restrictions relating to the pandemic.
Targeting social isolation and supporting veterans and Armed Forces Families to reconnect with their communities
Over the next few months; we will be launching a range of programmes with a focus on reducing social isolation within the Armed Forces Community; and helping veterans and Armed Forces Families to reconnect with their communities.
This package of support includes:
From the Covenant Fund
- £2.5M for local community projects through our Local Grants Programme
- £5.5M through the Reducing Isolation programme with a particular focus on enhancing the support available to those who may have suffered the most as a result of the pandemic; and supporting the wide reconnection needs where this would help Armed Forces Communities. We are keen to support a range of larger and smaller Armed Forces Charities through this programme; and encourage organisations to work together
- £1.5M to support Local Authorities and Local Covenant Partnerships to strengthen future delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant locally, so that veterans, families and the wider Armed Forces community don’t get overlooked
From funding allocated by HM Treasury in the March 2020 Budget
- The balance of the £10M announced by HM Treasury for projects supporting veterans and their families to have better mental health. We’ll share more information about this programme in May 2020.
If you would like to receive updates on these programmes, including when they will be open for application please subscribe to our newsletter
Message from the Veterans Scotland Executive Chairman
Maj Gen Chris Hughes CBE;
Executive Chairman of Veterans Scotland
All of you have been affected in significant ways by the current situation and have formulated ways to manage your organizations, efforts and vital support to our community of veterans. While we reflect wider society, all of you were already focussed on the most vulnerable and the socially isolated. The contribution that you make in caring for those veterans is highlighted now – not least in relieving the pressure on the NHS and other government services. I believe that our sector’s response has been deeply impressive and will continue to be so as it evolves. That is a credit to all of our members and has been broadly recognised. The Scottish Minister for Veterans described you to me as exemplars in response to the crisis and asked me to thank you on behalf of the Government for all that you are doing.
At Veterans Scotland we want to ensure that we continue to do all we can to help and support our member organisations. Our core functions of encouraging and enabling: Communication, Co-operation, Co-ordination and Collaboration will all become increasingly important at this time. There is a torrent of information, advice and initiatives coming from governments and other bodies as they manage the changed circumstances. We are attempting to gather this and signpost assistance in the most accessible way. The Veterans Newsletter will now be produced weekly and the Veterans Assist website is being continuously updated. We also continue to represent your views and issues to government, direct to ministers and also to their departments. So, please do share your experiences with us and each other.
Finally, there will be many of you, both as organizations and individuals, who are already reaching out to the wider communities where you live, to offer support to other who are in need. I would encourage this and we will do our best to assist those veterans who are able to help others do so in the most effective way.
Thank you again for all that you do.
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.
Scottish Government Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd said:
“During the current outbreak of Covid-19, educational continuity is of paramount importance and we have already seen an incredible response from all corners of the education system. Poppyscotland’s exceptional efforts during this difficult period will allow children throughout Scotland to continue to access these wonderful Second World War educational resources.
“It is vital that current and future generations have the opportunity to learn about the experiences of those who lived and served, both at home and abroad, throughout the Second World War. It is thanks to their efforts and sacrifices that we now have the freedom and relative peace that so many of us take for granted today.”
Gordon Michie, Poppyscotland’s Head of Fundraising and Learning, added:
“The 75th Anniversary of VE Day is an important milestone in our nation’s history and it is vital that young people understand its significance. And, as we navigate our way through lockdown, what better way to be able to do this than for pupils to take part in Facebook Live lessons and ideas for activities at home that we have created.”
“As well as ensuring future generations have an understanding of our past, we hope to stimulate contemporary conversations about the significance of remembrance and its importance to society today. The VE Day 75 resources are the latest way in which we are doing that, and we are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government and Legion Scotland for their input in helping us to develop such an innovative and comprehensive offering.”
Like many others, Second World War veteran Ian Forsyth had been looking forward to taking part in a special VE Day celebration on 8 May until the Covid-19 outbreak forced its postponement. However, Mr Forsyth’s incredible story features as part of the digital resource and he is delighted to see the unveiling.
“While we cannot congregate to celebrate VE Day, it is heartening to know that we have something in place that will allow us to come together as a country and learn about what was an incredibly important moment in our history. I would encourage all youngsters to get online to find out more about what life was like 75 years ago.”
Dr Claire Armstrong, the CEO of Legion Scotland, added:
“We had some very exciting plans for VE Day, including a huge parade and free open-air concert in Edinburgh’s Princes Gardens, which have been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. With more than 100 Second World War veterans planning to attend, not to mention thousands of members of the public, this was unavoidable.
“However, these new digital resources will ensure the learning component of the VE Day commemorations can seamlessly switch from the classroom to family homes. Although we cannot meet face to face for the celebrations as planned, these resources will be a wonderful way for young people to come together and learn about life in World War Two and we can’t wait for them to share their photos, work and ideas on the VE Day 75.”
The new resources will be launched via Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland’s Facebook channels on Monday 30 March 2020. New activities, films and lessons will be published each day thereafter until the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May. For more information visit:
Notes to Editors
- For further information or to speak to arrange an interview, please contact David A. Findlay, PR Manager at Poppyscotland/Legion Scotland, on 079797 35611, or email at email@example.com. David will be among the media contacts present on the day.
- Pictures are free to use. Where appropriate, please credit: Poppyscotland/Mark Owens.
- For further information from the Scottish Government, please contact Christopher Johnson, Communications DFM, Education & Justice – Media Manager, on 0131 244 2939, or 07580 750 033, or at Christopher.Johnson@gov.scot.
- On 7th May 1945, Nazi Germany formally and unconditionally surrendered to the Allied Forces, bringing to an end six years of War. The following day was declared VE (Victory in Europe) Day and millions of people celebrated, marking the victory with street parties, dancing and singing. The Scottish Government has moved the May Bank holiday to 8th May to coincide with the VE Day anniversary.
- Poppyscotland provides life-changing support to the Armed Forces community. Money raised from the Scottish Poppy Appeal and Poppyscotland’s year-round fundraising enables them to deliver support to members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland by providing tailored funding and assistance. The charity also funds services in advice, employment, housing, mental health, mobility and respite. Please note that we are known as “Poppyscotland”, and not “PoppyScotland” or “Poppy Scotland”. For more information, please visit us at: www.poppyscotland.org.uk.
- The Royal British Legion Scotland (Legion Scotland), is the largest ex-Service membership charity in Scotland working at the heart of the community, supporting veterans of all ages and from all conflicts. With more than 140 branches, 61 clubs and 23,000 members, Legion Scotland, working in partnership with other organisations, provides veterans in the community with three key services covering remembrance, comradeship and befriending whilst supporting the welfare services and fundraising initiatives of Poppyscotland. Contact Legion Scotland at New Haig House, Logie Green Road, Edinburgh, EH7 4HQ, or telephone 0131 322 1076. For more information on Legion Scotland’s work, please visit: www.legionscotland.org.uk.
An update from Scottish Veterans Residences
An update from Scottish Veterans Residences has been shared:
Our Residences will remain open and continue to provide accommodation, catering and support for Veterans in need.
We will continue to take referrals for support for homeless Veterans through the normal referral pathways, unless we have reached our normal capacity.
We will mitigate the risk of continuing to take referrals by asking the individual Veteran about their health and observing them for relevant symptoms.
If we consider an individual may have been exposed, we are likely to offer accommodation on provision that the individual self-isolates in their room for the first 14 days.
Rosendael and Whitefoord House applicants may also be provided with initial accommodation at Bellrock Close, dependent on the applicant’s individual circumstances.
Full guidance on staying at home and away from others
The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
Coronavirus in Scotland – Scottish Government Update
Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in December 2019.
The first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Scotland was confirmed in March 2020.
Scottish test numbers: 22 March 2020
A total of 8679 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:
- 8263 tests were confirmed negative
- 416 tests were positive
- 10 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died
|Health board||Positive cases|
|Ayrshire and Arran
|Dumfries and Galloway
|Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Last updated on 22 March 2020. The latest numbers will publish at 2pm each day.
The Department of Health and Social Care publishes UK figures on behalf of all UK Chief Medical Officers. Test results from Scotland are included in the overall UK figure.
Coronavirus symptoms and health advice
Common symptoms of coronavirus include:
- high temperature or fever
- shortness of breath
Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.
A free helpline has been set up for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general advice: 0800 028 2816.
Overseas visitors to Scotland, regardless of their residency status, are exempt from NHS charges for both the diagnosis and treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Information for professionals and organisations
The latest information and advice for professionals and organisations is on the Health Protection Scotland website.
Read the gov.uk guidance for British people travelling and living overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Travel advice and country specific information can be found at: FitForTravel.
Our approach is guided by the Chief Medical Officer, and we continue to monitor the situation closely and to work with the WHO and international community.
We are working with the Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, and the UK Government to respond to the ongoing outbreak.
Volunteers needed to support the Royal Air Forces Association!
We’re the charity that supports the RAF family
The Association exists in the recognition that RAF personnel and their immediate families dedicate their lives to their country, and to ensure that such a sacrifice does not result in suffering, poverty or loneliness.
Whether it’s an injured airman fighting to get back on his feet, a young child missing their parent away on overseas operations, or a World War II veteran needing a shoulder to lean on, we are here to help all generations of RAF Service personnel and their families.
A significant proportion of our work is undertaken by those who volunteer for the charity. Volunteers provide visits to members of the RAF family to help combat loneliness, and to provide information, assistance and welfare support in times of hardship.
We currently have a wide range of volunteering opportunities across the whole of Scotland! If you would like to get involved we would be delighted to welcome you to the team. To find out more, please get in touch, or visit rafa.org.uk/volunteering.
Key points our volunteers benefit from:
Uniquely, the RAF Association’s welfare volunteer training is accredited through AIM Awards
Helping those who have given so much
Helping your local community
Improved research skills
Ongoing personal development
Developed relationship building skills
Volunteering with the RAF Association is something to feel proud of and is an opportunity to play a key role in helping us deliver valuable support to members of the RAF Family.
To get involved please contact the Volunteering Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 018 2361
Case study – Read about how one of the RAF Associations volunteers made a real difference to a couple who found themselves in a seemingly impossible situation.
SMRC, Long Circuit Karts & Armed Forces Day 2020
Sunday 5th April, 2020
Let’s go racing! It’s go, go, go for the start of the 2020 Scottish Championship car racing season organised by the SMRC with their superb range of racing classes and super-slick racing format, featuring the return of Long Circuit Karts. With up to 18 races to entertain you during an action-packed day with qualifying from 8.30am and racing from about 11 am though until around 5.30pm (check the website for exact timings nearer the event).
It’s also our 5th Armed Forces Appreciation Day with all serving and veterans gaining free entry with any accompanying family members enjoying the concessionary entry price.
Find Out More Here
Cyber Resilience and Cyber Essentials Grants
With the support of the Scottish Government, SCVO are providing a small grants scheme to enable third sector organisations to achieve Cyber Essentials accreditation.
The threat of cyber crime has never been greater – regardless of size of business or amount of personal data you handle, your organisation could become a target for cyber criminals who are looking to make money and cause disruption to you, your staff and volunteers. Putting resilient measures in place to protect and strengthen your network is vital.
Cyber Essentials is like an MOT test for your car – it confirms that your IT systems have passed a key set of standards. If you can show that your organisation is meeting the security standards in Cyber Essentials, you can be confident that you have some protection against the most common types of cyber attack.
Our new round of grant funding provides up to £1000 towards the cost of obtaining Cyber Essentials accreditation. This fund is available to all third sector organisations and is open for new applications from 4th November 2019. Please be aware that while the fund will be open until 31st March 2020, we will be awarding throughout the open period, so don’t wait too long! Further details on the Cyber Essentials scheme itself are available on the NCSC website.
Find Out More Here
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – information & guidance
Your Organisation and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Following the confirmation of cases of COVID-19 in Scotland, we have pulled together some information & resources to help you, your organisations and your communities stay safe and healthy.
This information is intended to help you decide what steps you and your organisation may need to take in response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We have included links to valuable resources on Coronavirus and Covid-19 from a range of organisations which cover the following:
SCVO will be working alongside the Scottish Government and the NHS on how best to support the voluntary sector in Scotland and people in our communities. We’ll keep SCVO members and the wider voluntary sector updated with the latest information on this.
*This page was last updated on 9 March 2020.*
Read More Here