ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is now recruiting for the role of Briefing Liaison Officer (BLO), Scotland, a similar post to seven other positions located throughout the United Kingdom. Ideally, the successful candidate will be able to start by mid-October, for an initial two year fixed term contract. The role includes briefing a wide range of audiences both military and civilian on the work of the Charity, provision of fundraising support to the Regional Office and Events, establishing and maintaining key relationships with Army units (Regular and Reserve) and local contacts, and continual development of our volunteer fundraising.
INJURED AND SICK VETERANS FROM FRINGE
PREMIERE JOIN FORCES WITH POPPYSCOTLAND
Sick and injured veterans from Bravo 22 Company, one of the most remarkable theatre groups at the Fringe, today visited Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, in Edinburgh, to highlight the work of Poppyscotland. All are taking part in Unspoken, a premiere inspired by the stories of 100 ex-Servicemen and ex-Servicewomen which runs from 21-27 August.
Among those present was the unstoppable Luke Delahunty. Paralysed from the chest down, he has nonetheless become a scuba diving instructor, twice competed at the Invictus Games, won the Soldiering On People’s Choice Award and recently completed a charity handcycle ride from London to Paris. And now he is going on stage.
It will be the second time Delahunty has been involved in shows in Edinburgh. Back in 1991, the former RAF serviceman, who lives in Aylesbury, took part in a display of precision marching and rifle drill at the Edinburgh International Tattoo as a member of the Queen’s Colour Squadron.
His life was transformed by a motorbike accident that left him with severe spinal chord injuries and needing lengthy rehabilitation. Nowadays, Delahunty is deeply committed to spreading awareness of the work of organisations like Poppyscotland and Bravo 22 Company (a military arts based recovery programme) – and of all the things that people with severe injuries can achieve.
He said: “When this first happened I thought that the future wouldn’t be very exciting, to say the least. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Coming to the Fringe with Bravo 22 Company proves the point. I’m really looking forward to this brand new experience of doing a series of shows at the world’s biggest arts festival, and in the beautiful city of Edinburgh.”
During their visit to the city, Bravo 22 Company wants to highlight Poppyscotland’s life-changing work in support of the Armed Forces community. They see 2018 as an especially important moment as it marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Today, they met some of the disabled veterans from Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory workforce who make all Scotland’s poppies and wreaths for the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal.
Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Bibbey said: “We were delighted to welcome Bravo 22 Company to the Poppy Factory. It was an opportunity for our incredible team of veterans with disabilities to meet Luke and other cast members, to share stories from their time in the Forces and explore some of the important issues raised in Unspoken.”
All Unspoken’s 15 cast members, who include veterans and spouses, have seen and experienced some of life’s greatest extremes. The play, written by Gary Kitching, is a moving and funny exploration of life in the aftermath of trauma and injury. Unspoken is set in a club where a disparate regiment of soldiers, sailors and airmen have gathered to chat, drink and watch live entertainment.
Kitching said: “Unspoken reflects the experiences of love, loss, loneliness and hope that are the reality for sick and wounded veterans and their families. These aren’t people who want sympathy – they just want to tell their story and be better understood.
“I spoke to people all round the country and have tried to reflect their stories and experiences, characters, culture and the challenges they face. And if ever there was a time to think about how much has been endured by so many, it must be 2018 – the anniversary of the end of the First World War.”
Unspoken will be dedicated to The Royal British Legion’s ‘Thank You’ movement, which aims to thank the whole First World War generation. Unspoken is made possible by The Royal British Legion and The Drive Project, with the support of Newcastle Theatre Royal and actor Ray Winstone, who is The Drive Project and Bravo 22 Company’s ambassador.
The Royal Scots Regimental Trust marks WWI centenary with unique website feature
The Royal Scots Regimental Trust is marking the centenary of the end of the First World War with a new and unique online facility covering all Royal Scots who died in WWI. Descendants of those men and other researchers will be able to access the list, which is believed to be the first to be compiled on a regimental basis, via the Trust’s website.
Among the 11,313 Royal Scots killed during WWI was Lieutenant GM Thompson, the first British officer to die in action in the war. He was killed on 22 August 1914 in West Africa where he was commanding a small group of local soldiers against German forces in Togoland.
The Regiment served in most of the campaigns of the First World War, from the Western Front to Bulgaria. William Paulin was among the last casualties of the war, killed on Armistice Day 1918 in Flanders. The Regiment saw active service into 1919 against the Bolsheviks in Russia. Over 100,000 men served with the Regiment, and with some 40,000 being wounded, the total casualty list exceeded 50%. Six VCs were awarded to members of the Regiment – amazingly, four of the recipients survived the war. (Read More)
Consultation on draft guidance for charities with investments
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is seeking your views on its draft investment guidance.
The guidance aims to help and support trustees of charities that have investments or are considering investing some of the charity’s funds. It has been developed with the assistance of Julie Hutchison of Aberdeen Standard Investments and our reference group of investment managers and charity finance directors.
View the draft here.
This consultation runs from 13 August to 21 September. If you would like to respond please see our open consultations page for details. Your comments can be short and specific to any part of the draft guidance or you can comment on the full document – we are grateful for all feedback whether it is complimentary or highlights where improvements are needed.
OSCR’s Head of Professional Advice and Intelligence, Laura Anderson, said,
‘Charities of all shapes and sizes hold investments which often take different forms and demand differing levels of management and expertise. This guidance has been developed to support charity trustees of charities that hold investments, regardless of the size of the charity and whether the charity has held investments for a long period of time or are just starting out on their investment journey.
'Your feedback is critical in helping us to shape this guidance so that all charities in Scotland that have investments, or may be considering investing, feel well supported in this area of their operations.’
Julie Hutchison has also produced a blog introducing the consultation that you can read here.
- The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is the independent registrar and regulator of Scotland’s 24,400 charities and publishes the Scottish Charity Register at www.oscr.org.uk. Our vision is of charities you can trust and which provide public benefit. More information about our work can be found on our website.
- A detailed explanation of the reference group members can be found in the consultation document.
Hundreds of members of the RAF Family have been supported by a series of new welfare initiatives, launched by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
To date this year, the RAF’s leading welfare charity has received almost 300 enquiries for its Listening, Counselling and Wellbeing Service as well as those wishing to access help via Anxiety UK and Cruse Bereavement Care.
It is thought that one in four people will experience a common mental health illness, such as anxiety or depression, at some stage in their lives. Many do not seek the help they need, with only a quarter of those diagnosed going on to receive treatment.
Research carried out by the Fund in 2015, highlighted the need for more mental wellbeing support for the wider RAF Family, including veterans and dependants of those who serve.
People like Sally, a Reservist in the RAF, who contacted Anxiety UK, for support with depression.
Sally said: “There is still a stigma around mental illness. I knew deep down something was wrong but I did not want to start that first conversation, I had a fear of where to start. I spent a long time in denial. You have to trust your family or a loved one and talk about it. My other half was adamant that things could not be left as they were any longer but I had to be pushed to get help. I thought I was coping but I wasn't.
“Without the therapy sessions I would be in a far worse situation and I would encourage others to please seek help if they feel they are not coping and talk to someone about how they are feeling.”
The Fund’s partnership with Anxiety UK includes therapy provision for those experiencing anxiety and/or depression (only available for non-serving applicants, serving personnel should contact their Station Medical Officer in the first instance) and subsidised annual membership to Anxiety UK.
The RAF Benevolent Fund also works in partnership with Cruse Bereavement Care to offer support for those dealing with the loss of a loved one, including face-to-face and telephone counselling sessions.
RAF veteran Les Campsie says the counselling ‘rescued him from a very dark place’ following the death of his wife of 57 years, Patricia.
The 86-year-old explained: “For me counselling was the first step out of grief, it rescued me from a very dark place. It was hard at first but gradually you can talk about it and it encourages you take the next step. Talking to a third party outside of the immediate family is very helpful because you can talk openly, without fear of giving grief to someone else.
“I found I lost all my confidence when Patricia died, I found decision making very difficult. I just felt inadequate.”
Counselling really helped to give me the courage to get out and about again, to re-join organisations I had given up when Patricia became so ill. Now I’m a regular member of my local Probus club, Masonic Lodge, and I go to the gym three times a week. It’s even given me the confidence to book my first holiday in years.”
As well as this, the Listening, Counselling and Wellbeing Service provides confidential emotional support to help the RAF Family deal with a range of issues from issues from low mood and stress to low self-esteem and loneliness or isolation due to caring. The service includes telephone and face-to-face counselling sessions, home visits are available.
If you need support with your mental wellbeing contact 0300 222 5703 and firstname.lastname@example.org where you will be referred to the service best equipped to support you.
The Veterans’ guide to later life in Scotland
If you are aged 65 or older, live in Scotland and have served in the armed forces, the guide will be most relevant to you. It doesn’t matter how long ago, or for how long, you served: you may have had a military career, a short period of national service, been a reservist, or even supported a military operation with the merchant navy. Veterans under age 65 will find much of the content of value, as will older veterans’ family members.
Later life may bring changes and opportunities to your life, and you may need to know about organisations and services which are unfamiliar to you. Much of the legislation which gives older people in Scotland rights and protections differ from that in the rest of the UK. Within this guide equalities and human rights, and most benefits, are UK-wide, but other rights are set out in specifically Scottish legislation.
This guide has been developed by the Age Scotland Veterans’ Project. We’re grateful for the advice of our Unforgotten Forces partners in developing it.”
– Brian Sloan, Age Scotland Chief Executive
Download the Veterans’ Guide to Later Life in Scotland
Find out more about the Age Scotland Veterans’ Project
Serving To Civilian: Valuing Veterans’ Skills
If you’re looking for advice and guidance to help shape your future career, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has a wealth of information and resources to support those leaving the Forces and veterans…
SDS offer free careers guidance to give you the best chance of success in the civilian job market from their centres nationwide and through My World of Work, Scotland’s careers website.
Alistair Ferrier, Armed Forces Champion at Skills Development Scotland, explained: “We know how challenging the transition to Civvy Street can be, so we want to make sure that Service leavers, veterans and their families have all the information they need to make this process as easy as possible.
“From My World of Work online to our careers centres, we can offer information on employment, apprenticeships, retraining, funding and much more.”
Find out more about Skills Development Scotland’s services at www.myworldofwork.co.uk/veterans or to find out how SDS can support you, contact Alistair at email@example.com
Well-being interventions help ex-Service personnel transitioning back into civilian life
Preventative interventions may have a positive effect on the well-being of ex-Service personnel who are having difficulties making the transition back into civilian life, a new Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) funded-study has revealed.
The systematic review of research literature led by Newcastle University, published in Plos One academic journal, shows the positive impact of well-being interventions such as journaling and relaxation techniques on the lives of ex-Service personnel and their families.
The report highlights four areas to consider in future research and service development:
• What well-being means to ex-Service personnel transitioning back to civilian life
• Acceptability of interventions which may be perceived as treatment
• Further trials of the effectiveness of interventions with diverse groups of participants
• How and when low-wellbeing should be identified in Service personnel
The review looked at nine studies from the United States of America and evaluated the effectiveness of interventions for current and ex-Service personnel. Researchers found the positive effects on well-being was found in those reporting difficulties making the transition back to civilian life and their families.
Evidence from the review suggests a need for future robust trials exploring the effectiveness of well-being interventions for the Armed Forces community as a means to help with the challenges of transitioning back into civilian life.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “What has been revealed, in this systematic review of well-being interventions, is that there may be benefit in making these preventative techniques available to ex-Service personnel experiencing difficulty on the transition pathway. These are popular activities, and it is important that they are evidence based.”
Dr Sarah Wigham, Research Associate at Newcastle University’s Institute of Neuroscience, said: “The review has summarized the evidence base for the effectiveness of well-being interventions for Armed Forces personnel transitioning to civilian life. The review findings will be of interest to those tasked with making decisions about which interventions to fund and develop in the future.’’
You can see the briefing document here and the full review here.
The journal article was published in PLOS ONE, you can read it here.
The Behavioural Insights Team(BIT) were commissioned by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to assess whether empirical insights from social and behavioural sciences can help Service leavers’ families benefit more from services that support transition from the Armed Forces.
The need for this project came from work around families which FiMT has been developing over the last couple of years, when problems with engagement have been highlighted.
This report identifies the cognitive biases and barriers relevant to accessing services and presents ways in which systems can be designed to reduce them, or work with them.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “This is the first project we have funded with BIT. Their innovative and scientific approach has offered a unique insight into how service providers can benefit families by improving engagement, both during their time as a Service family and especially as they approach transition.
“The recommendations included in this report offer a range of changes to how services are delivered – such as tapping into Service leaver and family identity; presenting decisions as mattering for today not tomorrow; connecting with social networks; and making that transition easier, not harder. The second phase of this important work is now well underway.”
You can read the full report here.
Scottish Veterans Commissioner
New appointment to represent veterans community.
A new Scottish Veterans Commissioner has been announced by Veterans Minister Designate Graeme Dey.
Charles (Charlie) Wallace’s appointment will start in the autumn. He is currently Deputy Commander, 51st Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland and has had an exemplary 35 career in the Army. The role of Scottish Veterans Commissioner is unique in the UK and, since its creation in 2014, has been held by Eric Fraser.
It comes as the Minister Designate launched a new guide providing practical information about services available in Scotland to support service personnel and their families.
Speaking ahead of Armed Forces Day, Mr Dey said:
“Scotland has a long and proud military tradition, with more than 500,000 people in our armed forces and ex-service community. I firmly believe they are an asset to Scotland, and I want to ensure they are properly supported.
“The work of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner has led the way across the UK as a voice for veterans within Scotland. Charlie Wallace brings a great deal of experience from his long and distinguished army career and I am confident he will build on the excellent work delivered by Eric Fraser.
“It is also essential service personnel and their families living or moving to Scotland can benefit from everything we have to offer, which the guide I am launching will do.”
Charlie Wallace said:
“I am delighted to be taking up the appointment of the Veterans Commissioner from Eric Fraser, who has done such an excellent job in establishing the role. I am really looking forward to championing the thousands of amazing veterans we have in Scotland and who contribute so much to our society.”
Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Eric Fraser, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that Charlie Wallace has been appointed as the next Veterans Commissioner. Having worked closely with him over the last couple of years I know he will bring enormous enthusiasm, energy and knowledge to the role and will work to ensure our veterans and their families receive the best possible support when needed, but also that they have the opportunity to make the maximum contribution to our communities across Scotland. I wish him every success in his new appointment.”
In his new role, Mr Wallace will work to improve the outcomes for veterans in Scotland and will act as their ambassador. He will also seek to highlight opportunities and inform wider policy for the Armed Forces Community and families in Scotland.
The Welcome to Scotland Guide sets out key practical information about services available in Scotland in areas such as education, healthcare and housing.
2,000 OLDER ARMED FORCES VETERANS HELPED BY £4m COLLABORATIVE PROJECT
A multi-million-pound programme to support older Armed Forces veterans in Scotland has helped around 2,000 people in its first year.
The Unforgotten Forces project is a collaboration of 15 leading organisations, led by Poppyscotland, which is delivering a range of services and enhancements in areas including advice, access to healthcare, social isolation, respite and transport, along with creative activities and events for those in care settings. The consortium was awarded £4m of funding from the Aged Veterans Fund to run the project over three years. Full Story Here