Support for veterans has more than doubled this year from £200,000 as the Scottish Government continues to build on its commitment to support the veterans and Armed Forces community.
This year 14 new projects have received funding allowing a range of organisations to be supported including employment support from Walking with the Wounded and outdoor counselling from the Venture Trust. Support for small local projects includes football matches for veterans at Elgin City FC and funding for FirstLight trust to establish a new café hub for veterans and their families in Falkirk.
Veterans Secretary Keith Brown announced the funding on a visit to Networks of Wellbeing in Huntly.
“Scotland has a long and proud military tradition. There are some fantastic organisations supporting our veterans in Scotland and this funding will help them continue their good work. With the extra money we are able to support a wider range of projects including some brilliant local initiatives.
“We are committed to investing in our veterans and helping them overcome disadvantage experienced as a result of service, as well as aiding projects that help veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life.
“I’m also pleased to announce Ms Hamilton as the new Veterans Commissioner, as a veteran of the Royal Navy and with extensive experience working in the third sector helping homeless former military personnel, she is already a great champion for our veterans.
“Scotland has had a Veterans Commissioner since 2014, with a primary role to improve outcomes for veterans in Scotland, by engaging and listening to the experience of former members of the Armed forces.
“The first-hand experience Ms Hamilton will bring to the role is going to ensure our veterans continue to get the best support and representation possible.”
Ms Hamilton said:
“I’m delighted to be appointed as the new Scottish Veterans Commissioner.
“I look forward to building on the work of the previous Commissioners to continue improving support, opportunities and outcomes for Scotland’s veterans community. Through serving in the Royal Navy and working with veterans in the third sector, I know how much veterans and their families have to offer and I will be focused on highlighting the remarkable contribution they make to society.”
Networks of Wellbeing has received £5,860 to provide away days for veterans, Service Manager Fiona Alderson said:
“We care deeply about providing support to the Veterans Community. This project provides an opportunity for Veterans to connect with others with a shared, or similar, life experience and to do so in a safe and welcoming environment. Feedback is very encouraging and shows that we are targeting supports in the right way for those who access our services.”
Ms Hamilton joins from Scottish Veterans Residences, where she worked as Head of External Relations, to provide housing for former members of the UK Armed Forces who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The Commissioner’s remuneration takes the form of a daily fee, set at £306 per day, and is kept under review in accordance with the Public Sector Pay Policy for Senior Appointments. The Commissioner works approximately 110 days per year which roughly equates to 0.5 FTE.
The Scottish Veterans Fund has been running for fourteen years and has provided £2.3m to nearly 200 projects supporting veterans and their families in Scotland.
Of the £500,000 total funding available for 22-23, £136,070 was set aside to continue funding for projects which had been approved for multi-year funding in previous years; leaving £363,930 available for new bids. The independent panel for the SVF, chaired by the then Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Charlie Wallace, recommended that the remaining funding was issued to the following 14 projects:
|Elgin City Football Club||Football matches for Veterans||£3,864|
|Erskine||Hire a dedicated Mental Health Support Worker for Erskine’s Transitional Supported Accommodation||£25,000|
|Scottish Veterans Residencies||Employ an Activities Officer in SVRs largest residence, Whitefoord House||£45,450|
|Forces Children Scotland||Deliver a family support service, titled Mindful Connections, which will explore the lived experiences within a veteran family||£47,500|
|FirstLight Trust||Establish a café hub in Falkirk providing support and activities specifically geared to veterans and their families||£22,539.48|
|Fares4Free||Provide dedicated transport to the Allen Clarke Veterans Craftsmen||£10,000|
|Networks of Wellbeing||Estblish away days for veterans in the Huntly area to help to reduce social isolation and assist with integration into civilian and community life.||£5,860|
|Defence Medical Welfare Service||In partnership with Fares 4 Free, DMWS to provide a trained Welfare officer to accompany difficult or complex service users on a trip to hospital.||£50,000|
|SACRO||Changing Steps will work with veterans serving a custodial sentence for a sexual offence to help them transition back into local communities on leaving prison.||£50,000|
|Veterans Chaplaincy Scotland||Hire 17 new trained volunteers, and maintain current 10 volunteers, tol provide pastoral care to veterans and their families promoting hope, healing and acceptance.||£30,000|
|Walking With the Wounded||Employ trained Employment Adviser to help to build confidence, provide training and offer support to assist veterans into sustainable, meaningful employment.||£50,000|
|The Venture Trust||Offer a range of therapeutic approaches and clinical counselling in local outdoor spaces.||£50,000|
|RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity||Ensure that Early Service Leavers are provided with the support they need in areas including employability, mental health, accommodation and help with debt.||£50,000|
|SSAFA: the Armed Forces Charity||Fund a Regional Casework Managers for SSAFA’s Casework (Welfare Advice & Financial Assistance) service.||£34,480|