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Veterans Minister Learns About Armed Forces Project Success

The Veterans Minister today learned about a ground-breaking service that is providing life-changing support to older Armed Forces veterans in Scotland.

Graeme Dey MSP visited Poppyscotland’s Welfare Centre in Kilmarnock to hear about the work being done by the Unforgotten Forces project – a collaboration of 15 leading organisations delivering a range of services and enhancements for older veterans. Unforgotten Forces assists veterans in areas including advice, access to healthcare, social isolation, respite and transport, along with creative activities and events for those in care settings.

Mark Bibbey, the Chief Executive at Poppyscotland which leads the project, said: “The Unforgotten Forces project is pioneering as it is rare for so many organisations to work together on one initiative to this extent. This means that when a veteran speaks to one member of the consortium, he or she is effectively speaking to us all given how close the collaboration is. A total of 3,155 older veterans were reached, supported or helped in some way during the first year of the project; an achievement that has far exceeded targets.”

Mr Bibbey added: “We believe that the Unforgotten Forces model is one that can and should be repeated across the sector, and, indeed, other sectors. As budgets get squeezed and demand on services increases, it is innovation like this that allows us to overcome these challenges and provide an even better quality of service. It is our belief that those benefitting are among our most deserving in society and it was wonderful that the Veterans Minister was able to take the time to come along today to hear about the work being done.”

Mr Dey also took the opportunity to be shown around Poppyscotland’s Ayrshire Welfare Centre, which opened in October 2017, to see the centre in operation and hear about the impact it has had in the past year-plus. Mr Dey said: “This is an excellent project and I congratulate Unforgotten Forces and the Poppyscotland Ayrshire Welfare Centre for the support they are providing our older veterans. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit today to experience what is being provided for our veterans, who we must ensure 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 just 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 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; Scottish Older People’s Assembly; Scottish War Blinded; SSAFA; and the University of West of Scotland. Collectively, they have nearly 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 we are known as “Poppyscotland”, and not “PoppyScotland” or “Poppy Scotland”. For more information, please visit us at: www.poppyscotland.org.uk.
  • Graeme Dey was appointed Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans in June 2018. He attended Harlaw Academy, in Aberdeen, before embarking on a career in journalism, living in Dundee and Angus. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament for Angus South in 2011 and has been Convener of the Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, and Depute Convenor of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Graeme is married with two grown up children. To contact Mr Dey’s office, please send an email to scottish.ministers@gov.scot.
  • To contact Provost Jim Todd, please get in touch with Secretary to the Provost Susan Knapp on 01563 576036, or at susan.knapp@east-ayrshire.gov.uk.
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