Political candidates asked to support #poppypromise

Council candidates across the political spectrum are being asked to sign a pledge to support veterans, military personnel, and their families in their communities.

More than 80 politicians have already signed the #PoppyPromise, a commitment to ensure that current and former servicemen and women are not disadvantaged when accessing local services.

Poppyscotland is urging voters to ask the local candidates in their council area to support the five-point plan in the Scottish Local Elections next week (MAY 5th).

The charity is concerned that many members of the Armed Forces community are struggling when it comes to accessing housing, transport, education, and benefits, due to the unique nature of their military service.

Scottish veterans often face health problems, with a large number affected by long-term illness, disability, or mental health issues. Research suggests that veterans experiencing homelessness are more likely to have multiple, complex problems, while Scottish Government data shows they are more likely to have experienced rough sleeping.

Children from military families can also face challenges such as disrupted education if they move between schools.

David Dickie, who served in Iraq with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, found himself homeless more than a decade after he was discharged. He had been living with his sister in Inverness, but lost his home and his job after her sudden death.

After returning to Kilmarnock, he submitted a homeless application to East Ayrshire Council, but was concerned about staying in a hostel since he suffers from PTSD and finds it difficult being around people he does not know.

Thanks to Poppyscotland’s advocacy, Mr Dickie was offered temporary housing in a one-bedroom flat and was supported to apply for benefits. He now lives in a council house in Kilmarnock and has returned to work as rope access safety supervisor.

Mr Dickie said:

“It can be hard when you come out the Army, and a lot of people find it difficult to settle into civilian life. Councils need to be more aware of some of the issues affecting veterans.”

Mark Collins, Interim Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said:

“Our servicemen and women make extraordinary sacrifices, but we know there are some who struggle to return to civilian life. Many military families also find themselves at a disadvantage due to the unique nature of their careers.

“Local councils play a huge role in helping serving personnel, veterans, and their families, who rely on public services such as housing, education, transport, social care, and benefits. But some members of

our Armed Forces community, such as Mr Dickie, can still find it difficult to access these due to a lack of understanding of their specific needs.

“We believe no one should be disadvantaged after serving their country. With just a few days left before we go to the polls, we’re encouraging voters to ask their local candidates to sign our #PoppyPromise. This demonstrates their commitment to listen to the voices of the Armed Forces community and ensure they are treated fairly when it comes to delivering local services.

“We hope that candidates seeking office will take this opportunity to recognise the service of our Armed Forces community by promising to act decisively to help them lead healthy, successful, and fulfilling lives if elected.”

Find out more and see which council candidates have signed the #PoppyPromise at www.poppyscotland.org.uk/about-us/campaigns-advocacy-policy/poppy-promise

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