SERVICE FOR VETERANS RECEIVES £20,000 BOOST FROM MILITARY CHARITY
A service that has helped almost 16,000 members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland over the past decade has received a funding boost of £20,000 from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The Armed Service Advice Project (ASAP) has helped 15,900 clients since 2010, putting a total of £17.6 million into their pockets through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other funding sources.
The service is run by Citizens Advice Scotland and funded by a coalition of military charities, led by Poppyscotland. It offers specialist advice and support to veterans, and to people who are currently serving in the Forces, and their families. Now, as ASAP enters its second decade, it has received the welcome boost of £20,000 from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
Air Commodore Paul Hughesdon, Director of Welfare & Policy at the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, said: “Part of the RAF Benevolent Fund’s work looking after the RAF family is ensuring projects like this which support veterans continue. I am delighted that our support to this project has ensured 2,074 RAF beneficiaries received vital support, thanks to a total of £295,000 granted to ASAP since 2010.
“We believe this grant will result in many positive outcomes for our RAF family, including improved financial means, improved mental wellbeing, a reduction in loneliness and social isolation, and an increase in mobility and the ability for our clients to live at home for longer.”
One veteran who has been helped by the service is John Fuller, from Fife. John served in both the RAF and the Army, but was compelled to leave due to injury and issues with depression and anxiety. He has since been diagnosed with PTSD. John recently encountered problems with a reduction to his welfare benefits when his care situation changed, so, through no fault of his own, he was the victim of a loophole in the system.
He explains: “It’s a complicated bureaucratic mess, but the bottom line is that my income has been cut substantially, and I believe wrongly. ASAP agrees with me and they are helping me to get things changed. I will continue to fight this, but the help I have received from ASAP has been great. It’s really good to know you have people in your corner.”
Citizens Advice Scotland Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said: “The Scottish Citizens Advice network is there to offer advice and advocacy on behalf of everyone in Scotland, and we are proud that for a decade now we have run the specialist Armed Services Advice Project.
“This additional funding from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund will help the service continue to support members of our Armed Forces community with specialist advice. Members of the Forces and their families make tremendous sacrifices for their communities and their country. The least we can do is play our part in ensuring they get the advice and support they need.”
Gary Gray, the Head of Welfare Services at Poppyscotland, said: “When Poppyscotland, in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland, first established ASAP in 2010 it was a smaller service. Today it has an extended footprint and members of the Armed Forces community can access the vital support provided by its expert advisers, wherever they are based.
“Collaboration and partnership working lies at the heart of everything we do and the coalition of funders working together with Citizens Advice Scotland has brought about remarkable results. Poppyscotland is proud to be the lead funder for the ASAP project, but we could not do it without the many other organisations that contribute, including the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.”
Mr Gray added: “For every £1 invested by the funders, ASAP has generated £4.43 of client financial gain. That delivers an outstanding impact to those who have been supported. Our message today to all military personnel, veterans and their families is that ASAP is here to help you too with any problem you have.”
Scottish Veterans Fund Opens
The £200,000 Scottish Veterans Fund is now open for bids from projects that improve the lives of former service personnel. The 2021/22 fund, supported by the Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen, also funds groups who help the families of veterans. This year the criteria has been extended to include projects which address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the veterans community.
Additional support will also be available to bidders if desired. Evaluation Support Scotland will be providing a session on defining project outcomes on Monday 12 October from 0930 to 1230.
Additionally, the Scottish Government will be running a one hour session providing overview of the scheme, application form and hold a Q&A session the following day. If you are interested in attending one or both of these sessions, please let Ally Forrester know at Allyson.Forrester@gov.scot
Copies of the grant application form and application guidance document are available via the links below. Please note these have been updated from previous years forms and guidance.
Grant application Form
Application Guidance Document
Troops and veterans one step closer to stronger legal protection
Stronger legal protections for service personnel and veterans facing the threat of repeated investigations and potential prosecution will be one step closer as the Overseas Operations Bill is debated in Parliament on Wednesday 23 September.
The Bill delivers on the Government’s manifesto commitment to tackle vexatious claims and end the cycle of reinvestigations against our brave Armed Forces. The legislation will introduce a range of measures to reduce uncertainty arising from historical allegations and create a better legal framework to deal with claims from future overseas conflicts.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“This Government made a promise to the nation to protect service personnel and veterans from vexatious claims and endless investigations. We have not shied away from the challenge and today are one step closer to fulfilling that commitment.
“We all remember Phil Shiner, and the scores of allegations that have amounted to nothing over the years.
“Our Armed Forces risk their lives to protect us and it is vital we continue to progress this legislation, providing certainty for the troops who find themselves on the front line in the future.”
The Overseas Operations Bill was introduced in March after operations in Iraq and Afghanistan gave rise to an unprecedented number of legal claims. The Iraq war in particular saw a claims industry spring up where unscrupulous lawyers promised individuals they would be financially rewarded if they made allegations of wrongdoing against service personnel.
This contributed to nearly 1000 compensation claims against the MoD for unlawful detention, injury and death, as well as 1400 judicial review claims seeking investigations and compensation for human rights violations. While legitimate claims were rightly investigated, and always will be, this series of drawn-out investigations and litigation has cast a shadow over the lives of innocent personnel and veterans living with such uncertainty.
Around 70% of allegations received by the independent Iraq Historic Allegations Team were dismissed as there was no case to answer.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said:
“This legislation is not about providing an amnesty or putting troops above the law but protecting them from lawyers intent on rewriting history to line their own pockets.
“It will put an end to lawfare and make sure personnel and veterans are not repeatedly and indefinitely called upon to give evidence about events that happened years ago.
“Today we are one step closer to making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.”
The Bill reduces the uncertainty faced by service personnel and veterans in relation to allegations arising from historical overseas operations by introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution. This means it will be exceptional for them to be prosecuted five years or more after an incident. When coming to a prosecution decision, the independent prosecutor must weigh up the adverse impact of overseas operations on service personnel and – where there has been a previous investigation and no compelling new evidence – the public interest in cases coming to a timely conclusion. If their decision is to go forward to prosecution, they will have to seek the consent of the Attorney General to do so.
The Bill also delivers a significant amendment to the Human Rights Act (HRA) in law, by helping to put an end to the industrial scale of litigation by limiting the time in which claims for human rights violations can be brought.
Legislation will restrict the court’s discretion to allow claims to be brought after the normal time limits and make sure civil claims for personal injury and death and claims for HRA violations are brought within six years. Approximately half of the claims by Iraqi nationals were brought more than six years after the alleged incident and would have been caught by these longstops.
Crucially, these changes will not prevent personnel and veterans bringing claims against the MoD. The vast majority of these claims are already brought within six years and the time limit for certain conditions, such as PTSD, will start from the date of knowledge of the condition.
Finally, the Bill will ensure that all future governments are compelled to consider derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to significant overseas military operations. All overseas operations will continue to be governed by international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions.
The Government will introduce separate legislation to address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland in a way that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of reinvestigations into the Troubles in NI that has failed victims and veterans alike. We remain committed to moving this forward as quickly as possible.
Notes to editors:
1) The measures in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill will help to reduce the uncertainty faced by service personnel and veterans, in relation to overseas operations, by introducing the following measures:
- We are introducing a statutory presumption against prosecution of current or former service personnel for alleged offences committed on operations outside the UK more than five years ago. The statutory presumption raises the threshold to be applied by prosecutors when deciding whether a service person or veteran should be prosecuted in such cases, so that it will be “exceptional” to prosecute. When making a decision, the prosecutor must give particular weight to the public interest in finality where there has been a previous investigation and no compelling new evidence has become available. There is also a requirement for the prosecutor to obtain the consent of the Attorney General before a prosecution can proceed.
- We are restricting the court’s discretion to extend the normal time limit (of three years) for bringing civil claims for personal injury and/or death in relation to military operations outside the UK. We are introducing a limitation longstop of six years. We are also setting out further factors for consideration by the court (which reflect the unique context of overseas operations) when deciding whether to extend the primary limitation period of three years.
- We are also restricting the court’s discretion to extend the normal time limit (of one year) for bringing HRA claims in relation to military operations outside the UK. We are introducing a limitation longstop of six years. We are also setting out factors for consideration by the court (which reflect the unique context of overseas operations) when deciding whether to extend the primary limitation period of one year.
- We are placing a duty for future governments to consider derogating from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in relation to significant overseas operations. This provision will introduce a requirement for the Secretary of State for Defence to consider, and to keep under review, whether it is appropriate to derogate in light of the situation at the time.
2) Of the 1,130 compensation claims brought by Iraqi nationals (under both tort law and the Human Rights Act), at least 583 were brought more than six years after the alleged incident and would have been caught by the longstops. The limitation longstops will provide a clear time period during which claims can be brought and should ensure claims are brought promptly. This will enable them to be assessed in a fair and proportionate manner, and make sure lessons are learned and applied.
3) An analysis of available figures indicates around 94% of claims brought by current and former service personnel in relation to incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan were brought within six years.
4) While the legislation will provide further protections for UK forces, the military will continue to operate to strict high standards, complying with both UK and international law, including the Geneva Conventions. Any allegations of wrongdoing will continue to be investigated and, where appropriate prosecuted. Armed Forces personnel who break the law can still be held to account.
Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust awards Combat Stress £250k to deliver remote support to veterans
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) has awarded veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress £250,000 through the Covid-19 Impact Programme, a programme set up to ensure that the Armed Forces community can keep accessing important services, despite resources for these services impacted by the pandemic.
The AFCFT, comprising of the Ministry of Defence, the Cabinet Office and Cobseo representatives, awarded Combat Stress the grant to specifically fund the charity’s new digital platform for veterans.
The service aims to ensure inclusivity for veterans who are unable to access the charity’s crucial support in person due to the ongoing social distancing measures.
The platform will include self-help psychoeducation materials, aimed at keeping veterans in good mental and physical shape, and intensive psychological rehabilitation programmes delivered remotely, such as live group-based webinars and workshops, and 1:1 assessments and treatment. This will enable Combat Stress to support more veterans with complex mental health problems.
Originally due to launch over a nine-month period, the delivery of the project is being fast-tracked to help meet the urgent need for the charity to provide an in-depth and clinical service in a remote format. With veterans unable to receive the usual in-person treatment and support they need, they face uncertain and anxious times, which can put further strain on their mental health.
Dr Felix Davies, Director of Operations at Combat Stress, said: “We knew digital services would play an important role in the future of Combat Stress; the benefits and demand for an inclusive service for veterans who cannot access support are clear.
“The need for such a service has become urgent during Covid-19, so we are extremely grateful that the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust recognised the importance of the digital aspect of our work with veterans. Their grant has enabled us to accelerate the delivery of our Digital Veterans’ Mental Health Service.”
For more information please contact Conor Walsh, Press Office Assistant, on 01372 587162 or at Conor.Walsh@combatstress.org.uk,
Emergency Funding available for Frontline Armed Forces Charities working with Armed Forces communities
The Government has announced £6M in funding for Armed Forces charities and Community Interest Companies (CICs) who are delivering services to veterans, Armed Forces families and others from the Armed Forces community.
Grants of up to £60,000 are available for a six-month period. In exceptional circumstances, such as providing support to people who are particularly vulnerable, or if your organisation has seen an increase in demand for the services you’re offering due to Covid-19, then grants of up to £125,000 or more are available over a six-month period.
The Trust is pleased to be managing this programme; however, decisions will be made by a panel including representatives from the MOD, the Cabinet Office and Cobseo.
Who can apply?
To apply for funding, organisations need to:
· be able to show a strong history of work with people from Armed Forces communities; and your organisation must have at least one year’s worth of published accounts
· have fewer resources coming into your organisation, due to Covid-19
· have the same, or increased, demand for the services that you deliver to people from Armed Forces communities.
The services you offer should be in one of nine key areas.
· Support to the elderly (including care homes)
· Mental and physical health
· Domestic violence
· Criminal Justice System
· Service families (including childcare)
Advice for those wanting to apply
Melloney Poole, the Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has some advice for applicants.
“This funding programme will offer help to organisations that need additional resources to help them keep well-used and valuable services up and running for those who need them; particularly if there has been an increase in the support that you are having to give due to Covid-19.
Do read our programme guidance carefully, and make sure you tell us about the people that your work supports and why you need additional resources to support this as a result of Covid-19. Please don’t wait until the last minute to apply.”
Find out more
The closing date for the programme is 29 May 2020, but applicants can apply at any time through our online grants portal.
Before applying, we strongly recommend you read the full guidance available on our dedicated programme page.
New review reveals that more needs to be done to address mental health problems in the Armed Forces community
UK serving and ex-Service personnel experiencing mental health problems such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, depression and anxiety disorders, and alcohol misuse need earlier identification and better support, according to a new review commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen).
The study offers new insights into the prevalence of mental health problems, the experiences of serving and ex-Service personnel and their family members, and the effectiveness of current interventions. It brings together a review of 190 research studies and interviews with stakeholders from the Ministry of Defence, NHS England, military charities and academic institutions.
The findings reveal that deployment and combat are strong predictors of mental health problems, with common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression the most prevalent conditions for both serving and ex-Service personnel. For serving personnel, work culture, workload, and peer or leadership support are important determinants of mental health. For ex-Service personnel, the transition into civilian life can come with challenges such as isolation, feeling misunderstood and relationship problems.
Barriers to help-seeking for serving personnel include stigma and the fear of adverse impacts on their military career. Barriers for ex-Service personnel include not always being aware of the different treatment options available, and trying to cope with mental health challenges alone.
To better support the mental health of the Armed Forces community, the report recommends that there should be:
- Earlier identification of ‘at risk individuals’ and early intervention to prevent escalation of mental health problems
- Improved awareness amongst healthcare professionals of the needs of ex-Service personnel and their entitlement to priority support.
- Greater connectivity between Armed Forces and civilian services, to manage the transition to civilian life and ensure ex-Service personnel do not slip through the net.
- Increased education on mental health and stigma for military personnel and their families, to support help seeking and address concerns around career impacts.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive at Forces in Mind Trust, says:
“While just a small minority of serving and ex-Service personnel struggle with mental health challenges, our goal is for all ex-Service personnel and their families to be able to access good quality health and social care where and when they need it. This review brings together evidence to support FiMT’s wider Health Programme by collating existing research to provide us with an evidence base on the mental health needs of serving and ex-Service personnel that can be used by the whole sector to better support them.
“As we move forward, it is important that policy makers and service providers take account of the impact of Covid-19 too. This is already affecting the mental health of many in society, including serving and ex-Service personnel, some of whom are working on the frontline. This is an issue we will be looking at as we continue to develop our Health Programme.”
FIMT’s Policy Statement on Health, also published today, is available to read in full here.
Daniel Phillips, Head of Evaluation at The National Centre for Social Research, says:
“This review offers important new insights into the mental health needs of military personnel and families. Deployment and combat are strong predictors of later mental health problems, while difficulties in the transition to civilian life also impact on the mental health of veterans and their close relations.
“While effective interventions are available, barriers such as perceived stigma can prevent personnel and their families from seeking help. More could also be done to ensure military personnel and their families are aware of the support available to them and feel confident about using it. We hope the recommendations in this research will help shape more proactive identification, intervention and support for serving and ex-Service personnel and their families.”
Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive at the Centre for Mental Health says: “This important study provides valuable insights into the mental health needs of Service and ex-Service personnel. It identifies not just the types of mental health difficulty people may experience during their transition to civilian life but also the groups with the highest risks. It also points out significant gaps in research that need to be addressed. We hope that this report will help to put resources where they are needed most and inform the next generation of research on this crucial topic.”
Link to Reports Page
Veterans in pictures ahead of VE Day celebrations
With VE Day edging closer, leading Armed Forces charities Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland have commissioned a series of stunning portraits of Second World War veterans as part of the national celebration of this important milestone.
The exhibition helps to tell the stories of 15 incredible Second World War veterans, and include images from their wartime service together with a series of stunning photographs taken over the past two years. Plans had been in place for these to form a key part of this week’s formal VE Day 75th anniversary events in Edinburgh.
Now, following their postponement due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the portraits and stories are being provided to media outlets and shared online as part of the revised programme of “virtual” VE Day activities. The Second World War veterans were photographed on a Graflex Super D large format film camera made in the USA in the 1940s – and all have their own personal story to tell about that history day on 8 May 1945.
Dr Claire Armstrong, the CEO at Legion Scotland, said:
“These images are nothing short of breathtaking – and are only matched by the stories of bravery that go alongside them. They will serve as a poignant reminder to the generations that follow, and we are grateful to have such a wonderful resource.
“As the custodians of Remembrance in Scotland, our involvement in VE Day so important. They allow our communities to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, or who returned from battles in foreign lands with life-changing injuries. We will remember them and, even during this unprecedented pandemic, our enduring message of comradeship comes very much to the fore.
“And what better way to pay tribute to those still with us through this stunning collection of poignant images. I believe it is important for people to know that even in lockdown we are able to create an alternative way to mark this special occasion and to pay our respects as we bring people together virtually on 8 May to commemorate VE Day. Our virtual service and concert on Friday will provide us with a special way to thank those who gave so much in service of our country.”
More than 15 veterans have been captured, both male and female and across the services. All have an important story to tell. Among them, is the oldest-living Desert Rat, Jimmy Sinclair, who is 107 years old. Jimmy, from Kirkcaldy, fought against Rommel in the north African desert. He served as a gunner with the elite Chestnut Troop, 1st Regiment Horse Artillery, of the 7th Armoured Division. On this wartime experiences, he says:
“It’s a pity it all happened. We didn’t treat the Germans as enemies; they were combatants in battle. Most of them didn’t want to be there either.”
The photographer responsible for the images is Wattie Cheung, 52, from Glasgow. Mr Cheung, who has been photographing the Second World War generation for almost two years, said: “My job as a press photographer is to tell stories and I’ve always been impressed by the veterans I have photographed at the annual Remembrance Day ceremonies over the past 25 years.
“I have noticed in the past few years that there have been fewer veterans coming back to the ceremonies and always had in the back of mind that I should do something for a project. So when I got hold of the vintage Graflex camera with a view to do a project of portraits it seemed a perfect match to use a camera built in the 1940s to photograph the Second World War veterans.
“It has been a pleasure and honour to photograph these amazing people. I always think photography is like a time machine – it captures a moment forever that you can go back to, to relive and observe another time. The veterans are a link to the past and they won’t be around forever to tell their stories. Listening to their recollections of the war has been enlightening, humorous and educational. They are a special breed of people that I doubt we will ever see again and I hope the portraits do them justice.”
The exhibition is also available to view at the Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland Facebook pages at www.facebook.com/LegionScotland and www.facebook.com/Poppyscotland respectively. A virtual Service of Remembrance and virtual Tribute concert will be broadcast at 1100 and 1200 on Friday 8 May from these Facebook pages also.
Notes to Editors
- For further information and all media enquiries, please contact David A. Findlay, PR Manager at Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland, on 079797 35611, or email at email@example.com.
- On 7 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
VE DAY 75th Commemoration
The 8th May 2020 marks 75 years since the guns fell silent and the Second World War in Europe came to an end. Legion Scotland, in partnership with Poppyscotland and the Scottish Government, had extensive plans in place to mark the important milestone with a series of spectacular events in Edinburgh.
More than 100 Second World War veterans were set to take centre stage as the Nation paused to remember the generation that sacrificed so much. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic had forced us to postpone these events. Nevertheless, we are committed to bringing he country together and ensuring that VE Day 75 is still appropriately marked across the country, despite the lockdown restrictions.
A virtual service of remembrance will be broadcast live from the Legion Scotland Facebook page on Friday 8th May. The service will be conducted by Legion Scotland Padre Rev Dr Karen Campbell and will include a two minute silence at 1100. The service will then be immediately followed by an hour-long VE Day virtual tribute concert. The programme will include performances, reading and messages from a host of celebrities and performers.
We are then encouraging Legion members and the wider public to hold their own virtual VE Day party sometime later in the day. Our partners Poppyscotland have put together a series of resources to help you get started, including games and activities, recipe ideas and even a WW2 music and dance playlist. It is hoped that thousands of people will connect with family and friends by popular video chat apps such as FaceTime, Zoom or Houseparty to mark this important milestone. We also encourage you to host your virtual VE Day party in aid of Poppyscotland and help them raise the vital funds they need to support the Armed Forces community in Scotland, at a time when it is needed more than ever. For more information click here.
Poppyscotland’s extensive digital learning resource is an excellent way for you to engage young people in VE Day. Produced in collaboration with Legion Scotland and the Scottish Government, the comprehensive VE Day learning packs that were issued to every school in Scotland just before the lockdown commenced have since been adapted. Initially developed for use in the classroom these resources have become a popular part of home schooling for many young people. You can find out more about these by clicking here.
Finally, we want to hear about your plans for marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Please share your stories, pictures and video either via our Facebook page or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please continue to observe Scottish Government guidelines. Stay at home and when you do have to leave for essential trips, please observe social distancing and remember the importance of hand hygiene.
ANZACS AND GALLIPOLI TO BE REMEMBERED AT TOUCHING ONLINE SERVICE
With the country in lockdown due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, Armed Forces charity Legion Scotland will broadcast a ‘virtual’ service online to commemorate ANZAC and Gallipoli Day, on Saturday, April 25th.
The event usually takes place at the Scottish National War Memorial, at Edinburgh Castle, and provides a touching show of comradeship and remembrance to all those who fought at Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
Observed on the 25th of April each year, ANZAC Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). It now represents a day when Antipodeans remember the sacrifices made in all conflicts. It is also an important day for Turkey as they remember those they lost in the conflict.
Due to lockdown restrictions, Legion Scotland has taken the decision to record footage of the CEO and Head of Events at Legion Scotland and the National Padre laying wreaths and poppy crosses at Comely Bank Cemetery, in Edinburgh. The virtual service will also feature contributions from Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross; Sir Alistair Irwin, the National Chairman of Legion Scotland; various Service chiefs; and the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish Consulates; as well as music from Legion Scotland singing sensation Amy Hawthorn. The service will be conducted by Rev Dr Karen Campbell. Legion Scotland branches have also been asked to send in video footage of their Standard Bearers paying their respects so these can be incorporated in the footage.
ANZAC Day services normally commence at dawn, coinciding with the moment ANZAC forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915. Saturday’s broadcast will begin at 5:42am via the Legion Scotland’s Facebook and Twitter channels, and will be available for the public to view again at any time thereafter. The Australian and New Zealand Consulates will be sending out their own content to complement what Legion Scotland has done.
Dr Claire Armstrong, the CEO at Legion Scotland, said: “I believe it is important for people to know that even in lockdown we are able to create an alternative way to pay our respects and to bring people together virtually on the 25th April to commemorate ANZAC Day. I would like to thank all who are participating in the virtual service and to those that have provided footage for us to use.”
Dr Armstrong added: “As the custodians of Remembrance in Scotland, our involvement in services of commemoration like these is so important and allows all members of our communities to join together to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, or who returned from battles in foreign lands with life-changing injuries. We will remember them and, even during this unprecedented pandemic, our enduring message of comradeship comes very much to the fore.”
Unforgotten Forces – Update on Revised Services During Covid-19 Outbreak as at 22nd 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 22nd 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.
Cyber Resilience Notice COVID-19 23/04/2020
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. We aim to share these updates weekly. We ask that you consider circulating this information through your networks, adapting where you see fit. Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources.
This weeks’ notice will be showing examples of COVID-19 scam emails that have been observed in Scotland and steps you can take to spot them.
National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
NCSC have launched the new Cyber Aware campaign promoting behaviours to mitigate cyber threat. The cross-governmental ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign, offers actionable advice for people to protect passwords, accounts and devices. You can find out more about what NCSC have launched recently here. This includes new guidance for individuals and organisations using online video conferencing.
Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Programme (VSNBF)
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT) has announced the launch of a £3M emergency programme – the Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Programme (VSNBF) – as part of their Covid-19 response. All Members should have received an email announcing this on Tuesday 7 April from Caroline Wood, Head of Membership & Finance.
The programme is funded by HM Treasury from the new £10M Veterans Fund announced in the March Budget, and the AFCFT website carries some further details (including current and future funding programmes) at: https://www.covenantfund.org.uk/covid-19-response/
Cobseo has been appointed as one of three trusted partners in the delivery of the VSNBF emergency programme, which has been targeted specifically at small / local organisations providing direct support to vulnerable veterans in their local area (larger organisations will not be eligible to apply to this particular programme).
In summary, grants will be issued for up to £20,000 for a six-month project 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. Eligible Cobseo Members who deliver local support projects to beneficiaries, and who have seen an increase in demand for services, or small organisations who are working to move current services provided online as an example, are encouraged to consider applying to the programme. We would be grateful if larger members who are not eligible for the funding could alert any smaller Members who deliver services locally and would be eligible to the programme details. Additional information can be downloaded using the following links:
Applications will have to be submitted by 30 April and grants will be awarded by the end of May. We would like to provide as much help as we can to anyone who is thinking of applying – especially as so many of our Members have so much additional work at the moment – so if you think you could qualify for this funding, please get in touch with our Positive Pathways Programme Coordinator, Rachel Price here, or Natalie Chambers here, who will be able to guide through the application process. Whilst the final decision on funding will be made by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, we want to help as many Members to apply as we can so please get in touch for dedicated help from Rachel for your application.
V1P Resilience Guide
V1P Lothian has developed this Resilience guide to help you navigate through this very difficult time. Our world is ever-changing at the moment. It would be hard not to worry about COVID-19 and how it could affect your life, and those you love. Worry, anxiety and difficulties with our mood are common problems at the best of times, and now this might feel overwhelming.
A PDF Copy of the guide is available here
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