New member joins ground-breaking project supporting older veterans

A ground-breaking service that is providing life-changing support to thousands of older Armed Forces veterans in Scotland, and was recently heralded by the Scottish Veterans Minister as “excellent”, has acquired a 16th member to add to its burgeoning ranks.

Led by Poppyscotland, the Unforgotten Forces consortium has now been joined by the Royal Air Forces Association – a charity which prides itself on “supporting the RAF family” via a network of volunteer welfare officers and volunteer caseworkers which last year dealt with more than 100,000 calls and visits.

The Unforgotten Forces consortium delivers a range of new and enhanced services for older veterans. The project, which has delivered 6,000 instances of support for older veterans in the first 18 months of operation, offers assistance in areas including advice, access to healthcare, countering social isolation, respite and transport, along with creative activities and events for those in care settings.

Rory O’Connor, Director of Welfare and Policy at the Royal Air Forces Association, said:

“The Royal Air Forces Association is extremely pleased to be working as part of the Unforgotten Forces consortium to provide support to older members of the RAF family living in Scotland. We have already seen first-hand the benefits of partnership working as part of this consortium and look forward to helping many more people.”

Speaking on behalf of the Unforgotten Forces consortium, Gary Gray, Head of Welfare Services at Poppyscotland, said:

“We are delighted to welcome the Royal Air Forces Association into the fold as the 16th member of the Unforgotten Forces consortium which supports older veterans across Scotland of 65 years and above.

“The addition of the RAF Association’s welfare support services adds even more strength in depth to the capability of the consortium. Working closely with Association branches, members, volunteer caseworkers and befrienders will undoubtedly mean that we will in future be able to refer even more older RAF veterans for the variety of welfare support services that we currently provide.”

The project received praise recently from the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans, Graeme Dey MSP, who said: “This is an excellent project and I congratulate Unforgotten Forces for the support they are providing our older veterans. We must ensure they [our veterans] are able to access the best possible care, support and opportunities.”

Unforgotten Forces was launched in October 2017 after receiving £4 million worth of funding by HM Treasury via the Aged Veterans Fund. The project has also been nominated for a prestigious award; it has been shortlisted for the ‘Forces in Mind Trust Working Together Award’ at the 2019 Soldiering On Awards. The award seeks to recognise a person, team or organisation that has demonstrated an enduring commitment and collaborative approach to supporting those within the Armed Forces community.

Notes to Editors

• For further information and all media enquiries, please contact David A. Findlay, PR Manager at Poppyscotland, on 079797 35611, or email at d.findlay@poppyscotland.org.uk.

• Unforgotten Forces is a partnership between the following organisations: Action on Hearing Loss Scotland; Age Scotland; ILM Highland; Citizens Advice Scotland; Defence Medical Welfare Service; Erskine; Fares4Free; Legion Scotland; Luminate; Music in Hospitals & Care Scotland; Poppyscotland; Royal Air Forces Association; Scottish Older People’s Assembly; Scottish War Blinded; SSAFA; and the University of West of Scotland. Collectively, they have more than 1,000 years of experience in their respective fields. For further information on the Unforgotten Forces programme please visit: www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-help/unforgotten-forces/.

• 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 the charity are known as “Poppyscotland”, and not “PoppyScotland” or “Poppy Scotland”. For more information, please visit: www.poppyscotland.org.uk.

• The Royal Air Forces Association (or RAF Association), is a membership organisation and registered charity that provides welfare support to 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. To contact the RAF Association media team please call 0116 464 5066.

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