Since ‘Our Commitments’ was published in 2012, there have been big changes in the institutional landscape in Scotland and solid progress on policy and service delivery.
Some achievements include:
- Establishment in 2014 of the first ever Scottish Veterans Commissioner, with operational independence, dedicated funding and a wide remit to improve outcomes for all veterans. To date, the Commissioner has published a strategy, workplan and two reports making recommendations on transition arrangements and housing, as well as extensive regular engagement to promote veterans.
- Establishment of a Scottish Government Armed Forces Advocate, and expansion of a comprehensive Scottish Armed Forces and Veterans Champions network to include senior level representatives in the Scottish Government, all 32 local authorities, NHS Boards, Police Scotland and other bodies, embedding support for the Armed Forces community throughout the public sector.
- Over £1 million in direct support to Scottish projects or organisations working with veterans. Since 2008, over £700,000 has been awarded from the Scottish Veterans Fund, with £120,000 allocated for 2016/17, bringing total investment to over £830,000. The Scottish Government has also provided Veterans Scotland with £200,000 over the past three years, to boost its capacity and increase support to the third sector in Scotland, and funded development of the Veterans Assist website.
- We committed over £3.6 million funding over three years from 2015 for specialist mental health services for veterans resident at the Hollybush House Combat Stress facility in Ayr, in partnership with NHSScotland and Combat Stress.
- We have invested over £1.6 million in Veterans First Point Lothian - an innovative one-stop-shop drop-in centre for veterans and families, confirming a further £200,000 for 2016/17. The strengths of this model has been recognised across the UK, resulting in awards from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund to help roll-out Veterans First Point Scotland.
- Former Service personnel aged 16-24 have been identified as a priority group eligible for support under Scotland’s Employer Recruitment Incentive (SERI). SERI offers employers up to £3,963 over the first 12 months of employment, supplemented by £500 if the employer pays the participant the living wage.
- The Scottish Government confirmed £1.3 million additional funding to create 100 places within the Community Jobs Scotland programme. This includes 50 targeted at Early Service Leavers and is delivered by the Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations, working in partnership with Poppyscotland and others.
- The Scottish Government contributed £2.59 million to the Bellrock Close development, a 51-flat complex in Cranhill, Glasgow. This facility is run by Scottish Veterans Residences and provides 21 affordable rental homes exclusively available for former Armed Forces members and their families, as well as temporary accommodation for veterans in need of dedicated support.
- The Scottish Government provided £1.3 million to the Scottish Veterans Garden City Association (SVGCA) to help build 38 homes across six local authority areas to support physically and psychologically impaired Ex-Service personnel. Twenty of these homes are complete in Carnoustie, Inverness, Motherwell and Wishaw, with a further five homes at Salvesen, Edinburgh on site and due to complete in 2016. SVGCA is also working to secure other development opportunities across the country, with all 38 units expected to completed within the next two years.
- The Scottish Service Children’s Strategic Working Group has developed exemplary partnership working, raising the profile of Service children in the education system, and focusing action to address their particular needs and challenges.
Email: Nadine Milne
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