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POPPYSCOTLAND INVERNESS CELEBRATES ITS FIFTH BIRTHDAY

Poppyscotland’s pioneering welfare centre in Inverness today celebrated its fifth birthday with the positive news that it has dealt with more than 3,000 enquiries since 2013 and taken up nearly 400 separate welfare cases.

 

With an estimated Armed Forces community of 100,000 in the north of Scotland, Poppyscotland identified a need for the creation of a welfare centre where veterans and their families could drop in at any point to receive help and advice. And drop in they have at a rate of nearly a dozen a week.

The Centre’s manager, Nina Semple, said: “Given the thousands of people that have come through our door since 2013, it is clear that Poppyscotland’s Inverness Welfare Centre has become an integral part of the area in terms of the help and advice that we are giving to members of the Armed Forces community each and every day.

“We know that Armed Forces veterans sometimes find it difficult to ask for assistance in the first place. A person-centred and holistic approach allows beneficiaries to take ownership of their issues. With support from expert staff, they can develop a better understanding of what has caused the issues, decide how it can best be resolved and, most importantly, take the steps necessary to ensure that it does not arise again.”

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YOUR VETERANS NEED YOU! LEGION SCOTLAND CALLS FOR VOLUNTEERS

Scotland’s largest membership charity for veterans is on the lookout for volunteers to help tackle isolation and loneliness among the Armed Forces community.

Legion Scotland’s recruitment drive for its Veterans Community Support Service, which was launched last year, is asking people to spare a few hours in order to improve support for veterans and their families in the community.

Kevin Gray MM, Chief Executive Officer of Legion Scotland, said: “We have experienced a huge increase in demand for our unique service since it was launched in July 2017. In this time, we have helped nearly 300 veterans get back on their feet and feel confident with their surroundings, and this is all down to our fabulous volunteers who give their time freely to help others. There is more to be done and we need your help to do more for those who have served the nation.

“The ethos of military life and the importance of comradeship that is achieved through that bond of friendship found during service can never be underestimated. It’s hard to imagine that any veteran could be suffering from isolation and loneliness and struggle to settle into a community – but it happens, and it’s a genuine problem that is increasing. We must tackle it now, but we need your free time. It only takes an hour or two a week to make a difference to someone’s life.”

The incredible value of the service was highlighted when a veteran that was struggling badly with loneliness was referred earlier this year. He was visibly distressed and spoke of desperation and isolation. The veteran explained that he only had the birds that he feeds in his garden as company and that he’d seen very few people between Christmas and spring.

Legion Scotland took the initiative and followed up to put his mind at ease. Recently, the 90-year-old Royal Horse Artillery veteran spoke positively, and loneliness was not discussed. He talked about the difference in his life since his new Legion Scotland volunteer started visiting. He said he looks forward to her visits and that they always have plenty to talk about.

For more information on volunteering with the service, which runs in tandem with the Unforgotten Forces project, please email support@legionscotland.org.uk, or call the support team on 0131 550 1560

  

SCOTLAND STAR HELPING VETERANS BOUNCE BACK

 

Scotland and Edinburgh Rugby star Hamish Watson hopped to it yesterday to help launch a brand new family fundraiser in aid of leading Armed Forces charity Poppyscotland.

The Big Poppy Bounce will see supporters of all ages descend upon BT Murrayfield to climb aboard space hoppers and race 100 metres – for 100 years – to help our veterans bounce back into civilian life in the process.

The Big Poppy Bounce will take place over the back pitches at the iconic home of Scottish Rugby on Sunday, 19th August, and it is hoped the fun day out will raise in excess of £10,000 to support Poppyscotland’s life-changing work for the Armed Forces community living in Scotland.

Speaking at the launch, flanker Watson said: “This is a really great new event and one for an important cause. It has been a long time since I jumped on board a space hopper and I don’t remember it being so tough on the legs! I think the kids are definitely going to have the upper hand in the races.

“It is all for an incredibly worthwhile cause and I think it’s even more important in this centenary year that we got the extra mile to remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to help veterans who urgently need Poppyscotland’s support today.”

There will be a range of hopper races throughout the afternoon for all ages, including a family relay, along with fun family activities to suit the young and young-at-heart. There will be music and entertainment, cheerleading workshops, ice-cream, a selfie station, face painting and even a poppy quiz. It all starts at 11:30am on Sunday, 19th August.

Poppyscotland’s Head of Fundraising, Gordon Michie, said: “We have an ever-growing number of fundraising activities outwith the traditional Poppy Appeal period in November. Our Armed Forces community cannot wait until November for us to help, so it’s really important that we continue to introduce new events like this. This is the first event we’ve launched specifically targeted at families, and we hope they hop down to BT Murrayfield in their hundreds.”

Entry is £10 for adults and over-16s; £5 for those aged five-to-16; and free for the under-fives. Anyone who raises more that £50 in sponsorship will be able to take their specially branded Poppy Space Hopper home. For more information and to register, please visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/bounce.

 

Veterans in Scotland struggling with life after the military are urged to join a unique Peer Support Service

Former servicemen and women in Scotland who are struggling to cope with life outside of the military are being urged to sign up to a Peer Support Service, delivered by veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.

Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The Peer Support Service, funded by The Royal British Legion, helps those veterans whose mental health has been affected by their time in the Armed Forces, and who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation after leaving the military.

For many former servicemen and women, the adjustment to civilian life can be confusing and distressing, leaving them struggling with changes to their identity and feeling that few people around them truly understand what they’re experiencing. This can be even more isolating if the veteran develops symptoms of mental health conditions.

The Peer Support Service offers former servicemen and women a chance to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others who have had similar experiences.

So far Combat Stress has established groups in Dunfermline, Glasgow, Greenock, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Moray and Stirling.

The service is co-ordinated by Robert Lappin, a retired Royal Engineer. During his 21 years in the Army, serving initially in the ranks and then as an officer, he served on operations in Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Gulf. Robert overcame his own challenges following his transition to civilian life and has worked for Combat Stress since 2010. He has a solid understanding of the challenges faced by veterans in Scotland.

Robert said: “Mental health problems can make even the simplest things seem hard to do but this service is a way for veterans to easily access support and advice. Veterans have the chance to come along to small group meetings or to meet me individually.” 

Carol Smith, Director Client Services at Combat Stress, said: “I’d like to thank The Royal British Legion for funding the Peer Support Service.

“Research has suggested that social support has a positive impact on mental health and the effects of trauma. Peer support aims to help by increasing social interaction amongst individuals who may otherwise feel isolated or stigmatised.”

Veterans can call the Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619 to be referred to the Peer Support Service.

 

Combat Stress’ Peer Support co-ordinator for Scotland finishes first in Nightrider Glasgow

Combat Stress’ Peer Support co-ordinator for Scotland, Robert Lappin, was first to complete the 100k course in Nightrider Glasgow cycle ride.

The inaugural event started at 10.30pm on Saturday 19 May, with Robert crossing the finishing line ahead of everyone else less than five hours later.

The route passed many famous sights including the Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Science Centre, BBC Scotland, Glasgow Cathedral and Celtic Park. Along the way, Robert had to contend with dodging midnight revellers and cycling on a full stomach after eating too much pizza at the 2.30am pit stop.

Robert was joined by four other cyclists in Team Combat Stress and together they raised more than £2,000 for the veterans’ mental health charity. 

Robert served in the Royal Engineers for more than 20 years, during which time he was deployed to Northern Ireland, the Balkans and the Gulf. He said:

“Taking part in Nightrider, even as an experienced cyclist, was a very unusual experience. The most memorable part was passing through the city centre between 0100 and 0200. Crowds of revellers shouted encouragement (of sorts) and we left the traffic in our wake.

“I took part in Nightrider to raise money but also to help further awareness of Combat Stress' work which truly does change lives of those with mental health conditions.

“Completing Nightrider was hugely satisfying. It felt far further than the 100km due to the focus required to ride at night and follow the hundreds of arrows around Glasgow.”

 

Veterans to retain military ID, allowing easier access to services

Personnel leaving the armed forces will now be able to keep their military ID, Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood has announced.

The move will allow veterans to maintain their emotional connection with the armed forces, allowing them to keep the card they have carried on them throughout their career. Retaining their ID card, known as the MOD Form 90, will also allow service leavers to be identified as veterans quickly and easily, aiding their transition into civilian life.

Charities, Veterans UK, which manages armed forces pensions and compensation payments, local authorities and GPs will all benefit from the change, as they will not have to conduct time-consuming checks to identify individual veterans.

The Prime Minister last year also announced plans to provide the 2.5 million former armed forces personnel cards which identify them as veterans, in recognition of their service to the nation.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

Our armed forces give their all to keep this country safe and leaving the military can be an emotional time.

That’s why I’m delighted that people leaving the armed forces will be able to retain that emotional connection with their service by keeping their ID card. Retaining their ID card will also make it easier for veterans to access the many public services which prioritise veterans under the Armed Forces Covenant.

So this is a small change that I know will make a big difference.

Handing back the Service ID card has regularly been identified as something that members of the armed forces would like to change.

Instead of handing back their card to be destroyed on the day of discharge, the corners will now be cut off to show the card is no longer valid. This will ensure that security is maintained at bases and other sensitive sites.

Chief of Defence People Lieutenant General Richard Nugee said:

Time and time again, I have heard from service leavers that handing back their ID card is one of the hardest things to do as they leave the forces.

Leaving the military is an emotionally charged moment and I hope that this change will ease some of those feelings by reinforcing the message to our veterans that they remain a valued member of the armed forces community.

The MOD is conducting a major cross-government review of veterans policy and provision, which will inform a new veterans strategy and will be released in the autumn.

Part of this involves ensuring greater recognition of veterans so they can efficiently access government and third sector support and allowing retention of the MOD Form 90 ID is the beginning of this. The Ministry of Defence is reviewing a range of other identification options and will make a further announcement later this year.

Service leaver Col David Madden said:

My ID card is more than just a piece of plastic with my photo on, it signifies my service and marks my time in the Armed Forces. Whilst it might seem like something small, keeping my card will make a practical difference by allowing me to verify my service to my GP surgery and local authority.

Follow this link to the Gov.uk website.

 

 

Glen Art, now known as BRAVEHOUND. 

Bravehound’s Show Garden at the Gardening Scotland Show was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal.

The “All the Fields and Vales Along “ garden, inspired by Scottish poet of the First World War Charles Hamilton Sorley’s poem was designed and created by veterans and volunteers, and schoolchildren from Broxburn Academy.

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D-Day veterans invited to register for 75th Anniversary

On the 74th anniversary of the Normandy Landings veterans of D-Day are invited to register to take part in commemorations planned for June 2019.

The sailors, marines, soldiers and airmen who helped pave the way for the liberation of Europe have been honoured on the 74th anniversary of the Normandy Landings.

Services of remembrance were held in Bayeux, France to mark 74 years since Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy on 6th June 1944, paving the way for the liberation of France and the end of the Second World War.

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RAF veteran creates Lord Trenchard gin to celebrate RAF centenary

Award winning premium spirits producer HDC (Heroes Drinks Company) have partnered with the RAF Benevolent Fund to create a limited-edition gin to commemorate 100 years of the RAF (Royal Air Force).

Lord Trenchard Gin has been created by military veteran and HDC Managing Director Chris Gillan, who founded HDC after a training injury ended his RAF career. Chris struggled with the transition to civilian life after he was left facing homelessness following a flood which destroyed his property. He turned to the RAF Benevolent Fund for help and their support enabled Chris to turn his life around and inspired him to dedicate his career to giving back to military charities and helping other members of Britain’s Armed Forces community.

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SSAFA PERTH AND KINROSS RECOGNISED WITH THE QUEEN’S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE 2018

 

A voluntary group from Perth and Kinross, who work with Armed Forces veterans in the community, has been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the MBE for voluntary groups in the UK.

SSAFA PERTH AND KINROSS is one of 250 volunteer-led groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of awarded groups has increased again this year, demonstrating the continuous expansion and value of the voluntary sector in today’s society.

This is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK to recognise exceptional service within their communities. The recipients of the award are announced each year on 2 June - the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.  This year there were 250 awardees of The Queen’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK. More information on the winners can be found at the London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/

 

SSAFA PERTH AND KINROSS will receive the award from the Lord Lieutenant, Brigadier Mel Jameson CBE, later this summer. He will present the Branch with a certificate, signed by The Queen, and a commemorative crystal at a local ceremony. They will be entitled, as of now, to use The Queen's Award emblem on their website, stationery and other printed material.

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society, said:

“Everyone who has received this award should be incredibly proud. Their service, commitment and care has a profoundly positive impact on communities throughout the country, and I am delighted they have been recognised with this prestigious award. The record number of recipients this year is testament to the strength of the voluntary sector and I am sure this trend will continue into the future. If you know any organisations that deserve to be recognised, make your voice heard and nominate them for next year.”

Nominations for the 2019 awards close on 14 September 2018 and should be made online via https://qavs.direct.gov.uk/ 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service Independent Committee Chair, former broadcast journalist Sir Martyn Lewis, said:

"This year’s record number of Queen’s Award awardees are a powerful testimony to the remarkable achievements and innovative ideas which characterise volunteering in the UK. They prove that, more than ever, volunteers beavering away at grassroots level are the active lifeblood of our communities, identifying all kinds of problems and issues and tackling them with enthusiasm, talent and a high degree of success.

“The recipients of the Queen’s Award are at the very top of a formidable volunteering movement in the UK involving millions of our citizens, and going from strength to strength.”

Perth and Kinross Lord Lieutenant, Brigadier Mel Jameson said:

“I could not be more proud of the local SSAFA team, and I send them

all my very sincere congratulations and very warm thanks for all they do. As an ex Serviceman myself, I know full well what challenges the leaving serviceman and his family face once discharged , especially for many, sadly, on the mental health side. I know too the wonderful work the Branch does in the 2 Prisons in our area, and commend them for that. Well done one and all. This is truly a wonderful day for the team. I know too our Provost will be equally thrilled. It reflects well on the whole of Perth and Kinross that we have such people as these volunteers in our Community, prepared to go the extra mile for clients and their families.

Previous Branch Chairman Andy Middlemiss said:

“We could not be more proud, honoured and thrilled to be recognised by Her Majesty in this way- for our small team of volunteers, this is a very well deserved reward for their hundreds of hours of work with veterans in our Community. It is very humbling indeed. We love doing what we do, and ask for no reward of course, but to get Royal recognition is amazing. We’d like to pay tribute to the other 91 SSAFA Braches in UK- from North to South, West to East, for their work, and for the work of our full time staff in London, who give us the necessary back up to do what we do. Our Royal President Prince Michael of Kent is a tireless supporter, but Her Majesty, with her close services connections, is a Patron for us to be incredibly proud of and grateful to – how could she do more for this country? SSAFA-QAVS…it sounds wonderful! ”

 

Almost a century of support for the RAF Family

As the RAF marks its centenary year, its leading welfare charity the RAF Benevolent Fund celebrates 99 years standing side by side RAF personnel, past and present.

Supporting our brave airmen and airwomen is the core purpose of the charity set up just a year after the RAF’s foundation, by the same visionary Hugh Trenchard, the first Viscount of Trenchard. As the first Chief of the Air Staff, Lord Trenchard recognised the need to look after the RAF Family and it’s something the RAF Benevolent Fund has been proud to do for almost a century.

  

 

Helping beneficiaries like Duncan Slater, a sergeant in the RAF Regiment, who lost both legs in a bomb blast. 

It seemed natural for Duncan to join the RAF – his father and grandfather had both served in the RAF, the latter during the Second World War. Duncan, who hails from the north of Scotland, had served for 13 years when in 2009 he was posted to Afghanistan, a tour which would change his life forever.

Duncan was on routine patrol with the RAF Regiment when an IED exploded, throwing him more than 30ft in the air and leaving virtually every bone in his body broken.

The only unbroken part was his right arm. Duncan spent five months in hospital, four months of which he had to lie flat to avoid paralysis. He eventually made the decision in 2010 to amputate both legs so he could walk without pain.

While getting used to his prosthetic limbs, Duncan needed financial help to extend his home and adapt the bathroom and the Fund was there to help.

Duncan said: "Life would be very different if the RAF Benevolent Fund wasn't there for me and my family. I can't thank them enough."

Despite his injuries Duncan has gone on to complete some incredible feats including the Marathon des Sables and cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and other military charities. Having benefitted himself from their support, Duncan was keen to given something back to the forces community. 

Senior Aircraftman Kevin Ogilvie, originally from Fife, was similarly inspired when the RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in to help him and his family. Like Duncan, Kevin suffered life-changing injuries in an IED explosion in Afghanistan.

In 2012, Kevin was just 22 when he was on a patrol in Helmand province during his second tour of Afghanistan with 51 Squadron, RAF Regiment when his armoured Jackal vehicle drove over an IED. As the driver Kevin sustained the worst injuries, including seven broken vertebrae, and spent four months recovering in hospital.

During this traumatic time the RAF Benevolent Fund supported the family, paying for Kevin's wife Amie and their daughter Grace, who was just six months old at the time, to stay close by to the spinal unit, where Kevin spent more than three months in rehabilitation.

The Fund also assisted Kevin’s parents, Phillip and Rhona, who lived in Forfar to make regular trips to visit him.

Kevin says: "When I was in hospital I had no idea how badly I was injured, I was knocked out for two weeks but it was a real comfort to have Amie and my family close by.

"Amie was having to make a 40-minute journey back and forth to the hospital every day with our baby until the RAF Benevolent Fund stepped in. Without their support my parents wouldn't have been able to see me every other weekend."

But despite being paralysed from the chest down, with Kevin's ironclad determination coupled with tremendous support from his family, and assistance from the RAF Benevolent Fund, Kevin is looking to the future. In 2015 he and Amie embarked on an ambitious challenge to raise £10,000 for the charity which had stood side by side with him. He did just that with a series of events, including a skydive! His amazing dedication to give something back to the RAF Family won him many accolades, chief among them being named as the winners of the RAF Benevolent Fund Above and Beyond Award that same year.

Airplay is the RAF Benevolent Fund’s flagship youth support programme for RAF families, providing a huge range of facilities, equipment and activities for children and young people.

The scheme was developed in consultation with the RAF after a survey found that keeping young people safely occupied was a big concern for RAF families.

Young people in RAF families face unique challenges – long periods separated from at least one parent, moving around the country to new stations (often in isolated, rural locations with minimal facilities), and having to start at new schools and make new friends on a regular basis.

Airplay is designed to address these issues by giving RAF children access to brand new facilities and a safe, stimulating programme of activities.

Also, by rolling out at all main RAF stations, children and young people will have some much-needed continuity if and when their family relocates.

By giving RAF children and young people the facilities and activities they deserve, the Fund believes Airplay will take some of the strain off RAF personnel and their partners, whether at home or on the front line.

At RAF Lossiemouth, the RAF Benevolent Fund has recently funded the creation of a soft play area, Ben’s Den – named after the Fund’s mascot Ben Elephant. As well as providing funding for the station’s youth workers, the Fund has also provided Parenting classes.

Chloe’s daughters, Florence, five, and Olivia, seven, both attend the Fund’s Youth Club at RAF Lossiemouth. She said: “It is nice that they get to mix with other kids who they see at school and who live in the patch and who they have that common bond with. They have lots of fun! It’s great and the staff are aware of the challenges the kids face. 

“My daughter absolutely loves it. She comes back and talks about it all evening.” 

Five-year-old Florence adds: “I like Ben Club because I like seeing everybody.” 

Lucy, 18, is completing her Duke of Edinburgh Award and volunteers at Airplay as part of the scheme. She said: “I liked coming to Airplay because I could spend time with my friends and it is somewhere to go with my friends where my parents were not. 

“Now as a volunteer I just love getting to know the kids and their personalities. It is really fun and I love all the arts and crafts. It is nice to know there is somewhere they can come and they know everything they say here is confidential.” 

 

Veterans Scotland Newsletter

Read the latest issue and past issues of the veterans Scotland Newsletters  here

 

Cobseo Newsletter

A link to the recent Cobseo Newsletter is available here.

 

 Latest News RMRMC

RAF 100

EVENTS IN SCOTLAND

Details of all the RAF100 events across the country can be found on the RAF100 website, check HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED? at the back of this leaflet. Details of a selection of the events that are planned in Scotland are listed in this leaflet.

Link here

Army&You – Summer Edition

The perfect work-life balance may seem impossible to achieve in Army life but times are changing. In this edition’s main feature, we hear about the Army’s plans for Flexible Service and meet the families who are fitting work around unpredictable schedules and long spells of separation.

Heading overseas, we hear from the Army families who have continued their education and training, maintained their professional registration and even diversified from their original careers.

We shine the spotlight on Cyprus, London and Kinloss and there’s an inspirational story from Everest Base Camp.

The younger generation contribute lots to Army life too. We hear from performers in Paderborn, Little Troopers and our book club reviewers.

Don’t forget, you have to be in it to win it! Enter our reader giveaways and you could be heading off on a narrowboat holiday this summer.

Follow this link for the online version.

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