Debate: A Strategy for our Veterans – taking it forward in Scotland

Yesterday the Scottish Parliament held a debate on the Strategy for our Veterans, and for those who were unable to view the live debate a link to the Scottish Parliament video archive for this debate is available below.

This was a very positive and well supported debate and we welcomed the cross party support that was given to it.

That the Parliament welcomes the work undertaken by the partners across all four UK nations in developing the Veterans Strategy; recognises that the Scottish…


Dunfermline today celebrated the news that it has raised more than £50,000 for this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal. Christine Evans, the Poppyscotland Area Organiser for Dunfermline, revealed the sum to be handed over to the leading Armed Forces charity, with the proceeds going directly to help veterans and their families across the country.

In addition to the £50,680.14 raised through donations and fundraising, £46,733 worth of Poppyscotland merchandise was sold in the area, too, with a percentage of that going to the charity. And not even the theft of two poppy tins from Dunfermline Abbey could dampen spirits, especially when the minister set up a ‘Go Fund Me page’ which raised £470.

Christine said: “This year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal was even busier than usual and there was added interest given that 2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. As ever, the public were incredibly supportive and dug deep for Poppyscotland, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their generosity.

“What’s more, none of this would have been possible without my fabulous army of volunteers and the support of the business community. More than £2,000 was raised from sponsoring our Poppy Trees and poppy windows in the town centre. I’d also like to mention the contribution made by Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust.”

Gordon Michie, Head of Fundraising at Poppyscotland, said: “We are blessed to have so many special volunteers across the country; epitomised by the likes of Christine Evans and her wonderful team. The fundraising efforts in Dunfermline were nothing short of remarkable, which is evident by the breathtaking total raised. This money will allow Poppyscotland to continue to provide its life-changing work in helping Scotland’s Armed Forces community.”



 A local man’s fantastic fundraising drive has smashed its original target and raised more than £2,700 for Poppyscotland. Simon Bennett organised a series of activities over the course of the past year as part of The 1918 Poppy Pledge aimed at raising vital funds for the leading Armed Forces charity. 

The 1918 Poppy Pledge, which could take any fundraising form the participants saw fit, was created to provide a lasting tribute to those who fell in the First World War in this poignant centenary year. Importantly, it will now allow Poppyscotland to make a step change in the scale of support it is able to provide those in the Armed Forces community who rely on the charity’s support today.

To complete their ‘Pledge’, those taking part were tasked with raising £1,918 in whatever way they could. But Simon, who has lived in East Kilbride for 25 years, surpassed that target and was today able to hand over a cheque for an incredible £2,727.

To raise the money, Simon, 55, organised a race night, held at the Calderwood Inn earlier this year, and, together with a raffle, company dress down days and personal donations, the funds poured in. He said: “I originally thought that anything more than £1,500 raised would be a good result and while I hoped this might get up towards the target of £1,918, I have been humbled by the generosity of so many people who have supported me.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of the local businesses, restaurants and individuals who have contributed, and to the Calderwood Inn which kindly hosted the sell-out race night in May. It was a memorable night for everyone who came.”

Simon, a General Manager with a hydraulic products business, continued: “My Dad was in the Army when I was growing up and when he left he spent a further 30 years with the Army Cadets, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel with the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment. I was an Army Cadet myself and while I didn’t follow him with a career in the Forces, the majority of my friends did, so Poppyscotland is a cause that is very close to my heart.

“They do really important work to support the Armed Forces community so it has been great to raise such a large amount, which I know will be very well spent helping those who deserve it the most.”

Simon today returned to the Calderwood Inn to present the cheque to Poppyscotland’s Events Fundraising Manager, Katriona Harding. Katriona said: “We wanted to say a massive ‘thank you’ to Simon and everyone else that helped to raise this incredible total.

“The 1918 Poppy Pledge really captured people’s imaginations in this centenary year and we are hopeful it will have raised more than £300,000 in total. This means Poppyscotland will be able to support those who have served, those still serving and their families in many more ways in the future. This simply wouldn’t be possible without the tireless support of people like Simon.”


Unforgotten Forces project - Autumn Newsletter

Please find below a link to the Autumn 2018 Newsletter of the Unforgotten Forces project which supports older military veterans in Scotland age 65 and over.

I hope that you may find this interesting and please feel free to forward it to any individuals or organisations you think it may be relevant for – particularly those that might refer older veterans to us for the sorts of support we can provide. Further information re referrals and contact details etc. are included throughout and on the final page. 

Read More Here


Helping disabled people into employment

Social Security Scotland will learn from Scotland-India partnership

A Scotland-India partnership to help disabled people into sustainable jobs has been welcomed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

The partnership sees Glasgow Kelvin College and Lemon Tree Hotels India link up to share techniques for accommodating people with additional support needs, including downs syndrome and autism, in the workforce.

Lemon Tree Hotels is renowned as a global leader in providing training and employment for people with additional support needs.

Social Security Scotland will now work with Glasgow Kelvin College to learn from Lemon Tree Hotels and its framework to inform the agency's employment policy.

Together the companies aim to increase the number of people with additional support needs in full-time, sustainable employment in both countries.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney met with employees at Lemon Tree Hotels in Delhi, and said:

"We want to ensure that everybody who can and wants to work has the opportunity to find fulfilling jobs.

"By learning from organisations like Lemon Tree Hotels who have developed a successful working model, we can better understand the challenges faced by people with additional support needs in accessing employment.

"Initiatives like this have an important part to play as we move closer to our aim of at least halving the disability employment gap."

In line with the Scottish Government's Fairer Scotland for disabled people strategy, Glasgow Kelvin College is looking to help implement their model in Scotland.

Read more here



Poppyscotland is set to host an event to recognise and value the important contribution volunteers make to the organisation by helping to improve the quality of life for veterans and their dependents in the North of Scotland.

The event (on Wednesday, 5th December from 1pm-3pm), which coincides with International Volunteer Day, will also see long-term volunteer Jimmy Greig receiving a Volunteer Award for his dedicated service to the much-loved Armed Forces charity.

Jimmy, a veteran himself, said: “I’ve been a volunteer at Poppyscotland’s Inverness Welfare Centre ever since it opened in 2013.Over that time, I’ve met people from every part of our Armed Forces community, from elderly men and women determined to live independently, to younger veterans struggling to cope with the physical and mental effects of conflict.

“I’ve also encountered ex-Servicemen and Servicewomen who can’t find a job and don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet, as well as families that fear they may lose their benefits or even their homes. I’ve welcomed hundreds of different people to the Welfare Centre, and I can tell you they all have one thing in common: they’re still fighting battles, long after their war has ended.”

And Jimmy added: “As a veteran myself, I know exactly how many of them feel. I joined the Royal Navy in 1964 when I was just 15 and saw active service in Singapore. Later, I travelled the world as part of the Merchant Navy. When my final day in the military ended, it was a devastating experience. All of a sudden I felt alone and totally exposed. I wondered how on earth I was going to cope in life – and that’s where Poppyscotland came to the rescue.”

Nina Semple, the Poppyscotland Welfare Services Manager in Inverness, said: “Poppyscotland recognises the huge contribution volunteers make to all that we do as an organisation and next week’s event will be a unique chance to celebrate their efforts, share our mutual values and to promote the incredible work that they do.

“Support from volunteers like Jimmy help us to maximise our fundraising income, which, in turn, allows us to provide even more practical help to ex-Servicemen, Servicewomen and their dependents living in Scotland. Local volunteers are often seen as the Poppyscotland representative in their own community, and this gives us as wide coverage as possible.”

The Inverness Welfare Centre currently has three welfare volunteers’. The trio are ex-Service personnel and are heavily involved in the local Armed Forces community, including with other local organisations. If you are interested in volunteering for Poppyscotland, please visit


Publication of ‘The UK Armed Forces charity sector: a summary of provision’

Today sees the publication of ‘The UK Armed Forces charity sector: a summary of provision’, which has been produced to support the recently published Strategy For our Veterans and Consultation Paper. The report is an evidence-based analysis of the profile of the Armed Forces charity sector, and the services and support offered by the sector to the Armed Forces community. The dissemination of this Summary is intended to help inform those from other organisations and public bodies who offer services for Veterans and their families, but who are unfamiliar with the work of the Armed Forces charity sector. The Summary was written by Meri Mayhew, on behalf of the Cobseo Executive Committee, working on secondment from FiMT in the Ministry of Defence as the Charity Adviser to the Veterans Strategy.

Please find the Summary report here, and the Consultation Paper here.


Informing Scotland Events Update

The last couple of months has seen several events take place as part of the Informing Scotland project, funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), a £35 million funding scheme run by the FiMT using an endowment awarded by the Big Lottery Fund.  Most recently, in Inverness we saw the Highland Gathering take place, with the Armed Forces Champion Cllr Roddy Balfour hosting a group of over 40 individuals representing the Armed Forces Community from organisations such as Highland Council, NHS, DWP, Legion Scotland, Poppyscotland, Citizens Advice Bureau and a number of Veterans Charities from across the region.

The event was an opportunity to share information and increase awareness on the Armed Forces Community, where they are and most importantly what services exist locally to support the small number who may face difficulties after they leave the Armed Forces.

Highland Council took the opportunity to re-sign the Armed Forces Covenant and further commit to supporting those who have left the Services and chosen to settle in the Highlands.

Highland Council Convener, Councillor Bill Lobban who signed the Covenant said: “Historically, the Highlands have a great tradition of supporting the Armed Forces.  Signing this Covenant confirms The Highland Council’s own commitment to its Armed Forces Community.   We have also reinforced our intention to work closely with our partners and the widest community to honour the Highland Armed Forces Community Covenant."

(Left to right) standing: Shaun Cauvin Veterans Scotland; Major Alec Rose, 7 Scots; Jim Wilson, Veterans Scotland; Captain Peter Marshall, PSAO C Company 7 Scots; Roy McLellan, Regional Employment Engagement Director of Highland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association; Major MRM Gibson, Area Section North, Royal Regiment Scotland; and seated (left to right) Highland Council Convener Cllr Bill Lobban; Cllr Roddy Balfour Armed Forces and Veterans’ Champion

Special thanks to Jo Lenihan, Project Officer (Armed Forces Covenant) Highland and Moray, and Dot Ferguson, Highland Council for all of their support and assistance in making this a successful event that it is hoped will become an annual fixture.


Changes to charity accounting requirements


accounting pic 

The Scottish Government have today (12 November 2018) set in progress a change to charity accounting requirements for some Scottish charities.

The changes will affect:

  • larger charities (those with income of £250,000 and more)
  • all charitable companies
  • charities that use the Housing and Higher & Further Education SORPs.

The changes are happening because the Charities Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) that sets out the accounting and reporting rules for these organisations has recently been amended by way of Update Bulletin 2

As a result, the Charities Accounts (Scotland) Regulations 2006 are being amended in order to bring the updates made to the SORP into law. The Regulations will become law on 1 January 2019, providing they pass through the Parliamentary process. 

Read more on these changes here




In April this year, the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board commissioned the development of a Veterans Strategy in time for the Armistice centenary, to ensure that the UK continues to support the Veterans of today and tomorrow.

On Wednesday 14th November, the Strategy for our Veterans will be laid concurrently in the UK, Scottish and Welsh Parliaments, recognising that Veterans are supported by public services and are integrated into communities across the UK. This unprecedented cooperation and collaboration across Governments demonstrates the enduring importance and value of our Veterans to our nation. 

The Strategy builds on existing work across the public, private and charitable sectors to support Veterans. It has been developed collaboratively across the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments, with the Northern Ireland Office contributing in the absence of the Northern Ireland Executive. Thirteen of the most prominent Armed Forces charities provided evidence of the issues currently faced by Veterans.

The Strategy sets an enduring Vision and Principles for support to Veterans. Together, they state the long-term goal against which we will organise services for Veterans throughout the UK. To deliver the Vision and Principles, Outcomes have been set for five Cross-Cutting Factors and six Key Themes to be achieved by 2028. All nations of the UK will work to deliver the Strategy in line with local needs and delivery mechanisms.

To complement the Strategy, the UK Government will also lay a Consultation Paper. This seeks the public’s view on how the Strategy could be implemented, against the background of what provision already exists. This consultation is UK-wide, though Scotland and Wales will consult separately on devolved matters.

On Thursday 15th November, there will be debates in both Houses of Parliament to recognise the launch of the Strategy for our Veterans.

Chris Hughes, Executive Chairman of Veterans Scotland said:

I very much welcome the new Veterans Strategy announced today. Given the devolved nature of the majority of services that affect the veterans community, we are pleased to see that the Scottish Government will be conducting its own consultation on how the Strategy should be implemented in Scotland. Veterans Scotland look forward to being a key part of that consultation and working closely with the Scottish Government to ensure that our knowledge and experience of the veterans sector, and that of our membership,  is fully reflected.


A copy of the strategy is available here 

A copy of the Veterans UK Consultation paper is also available here


Veterans' war memories given life in 'virtual' tour

The memories and voices of war veterans have been brought to life using virtual reality technology.

Poppyscotland has teamed up with games developers at Abertay University on the unusual Remembrance project.

Headsets take users on a simulated tour of the Lady Haig poppy factory in Edinburgh where objects trigger a series of personal stories.

Seven veterans provided the soundtrack, sharing their reasons for signing up, stories of battle and friendship.

Called Their Memory, the innovative project aims to share poignant, humorous and harrowing accounts with new audiences.

Read More



The Veterans’ Foundation Grant Applications


Trustees of the Veterans Foundation will be allocating grants in mid-Oct and the deadline for applications from armed forces’ charities and other organisations carrying out charitable work for serving members of the armed faces, veterans of the armed forces, qualifying merchant seamen, and their dependants is the end of Sep.

The online application form is at and bids are capped at £30K.



Veterans Scotland Newsletter

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


Veterans' Foundation

The Veterans' Foundation Grant Applications

Trustees of the Veterans Foundation allocate grants every three or four months.  They welcome applications from Armed Forces charities and other organisations carrying out charitable work for serving or veteran members of the Armed Forces, qualifying merchant seamen, and their dependants, who are in need. Deadlines for applications are the end of December, March, May and September each year. Further details can be found on the website .

FiMT Reports

The UK Armed Forces Charity Sector: A Summary of Provision
Published: November 2018
Download this report
Veterans Work: Moving On
Published: November 2018
Download this report