Update: Wider Support
The Scottish Government continues to engage widely in considering the needs of the Armed Forces and veterans community in Scotland.
Working closely with partners in the private and third sectors and across the public sector, including Local Authorities, remains key to improving the support and services for the Armed Forces community. We also work collaboratively with the Armed Forces through for example the Tri-Service Firm Base Steering Group and participate in cross-Government forums with the UK Government and other Devolved Administrations.
Scottish Veterans Fund
Ten projects were supported through the Scottish Veterans Fund (SVF) in 2018-19 and a further seven in 2019-20 bringing the total funding allocated through the SVF since 2008 to over £1.4 million, supporting over 150 projects across Scotland and benefiting the lives of hundreds of veterans and their families. We have committed to fund the SVF for a further three years from 2020-21 to 2022-23 at its current level of £120,000 per annum. We have also welcomed Standard Life Aberdeen’s continued partnership in the fund. They are providing £80,000 for 2020-21 bringing the total funding for that year to £200,000. The SVF is aimed especially at projects that are attempting to deliver a new or innovative approach to veterans’ issues, or that seek to develop areas and activities not currently funded by either the Scottish Government or the Ministry of Defence. In June 2019 we published “Supporting our Veterans: an Impact report on the Scottish Veterans Fund” which told the stories of those organisations that had received support from the fund during 2017-18 and 2018-19, and the excellent work that they have carried out.
In December 2018 the Scottish Government published “A Connected Scotland” which seeks to ensure everyone in Scotland can build meaningful social relationships regardless of age, stage or circumstance. The strategy recognises that particular groups of people, like Veterans, may be at increased risk of social isolation and loneliness and commits to continuing to work with veterans and veterans organisations, to better identify how to support the Armed Forces community to strengthen social connections.
In April 2019 we published A Fairer Scotland for Older People – A Framework for Action, which highlights the contribution of older people, tackles the barriers they might face and challenges negative attitudes to ageing. The Framework reaffirms our commitment to ensure that older veterans are not disadvantaged due to their Service.
National Records of Scotland propose including a question in the 2021 census to provide robust statistics on the size, location and profile of our veterans population in Scotland. The final census questions are planned to be agreed through the Scottish Parliament by summer 2020.
Scottish Veterans Commissioner
With the role of independent Veterans Commissioner now firmly embedded in Scotland, five years on the second Commissioner has begun his tenure by re-affirming the baseline and using that and the recent Veterans Strategy consultation to inform his priorities for the future. In June 2019 the Commissioner published an independent assessment of progress on how well the Scottish Government is doing against each of his predecessor’s 63 recommendations made over his four in-depth reports.
Issues that affect veterans lives range widely and often straddle different Ministerial portfolios. This calls for coordinated effort and joined-up working across government and with partner organisations. By monitoring and regularly reporting progress by government and partners in this way, the Commissioner aims to maintain focus on the recommendations, aid prioritisation and help drive delivery to ensure our veterans receive the best possible levels of support.
The first analysis tells a positive story of improvement but also highlights specific areas where the Commissioner feels increased effort or corrective action is needed. It is intended that this regular independent analysis will be repeated and reported annually.
Scottish Veterans Fund
Erskine is one of Scotland’s leading veterans’ charities. They provide residential care in four homes and applied to the Scottish Veterans Fund to help pay for the employment of a Dementia Nurse Consultant to improve the quality of care they offer.
This included increasing the knowledge, skills and expertise of their staff by training them to Enhanced and Expert Level on the Promoting Excellence Framework.
“Our Dementia Nurse Consultant, Janice McAlister, has had a major impact since coming to work at Erskine in 2017. Janice is supporting staff across the organisation, making them more confident and competent practitioners, which of course supports us in reaching our ultimate goal of delivering excellence in care for our residents. The invaluable support of the Scottish Veterans Fund has been key to helping us achieve this goal, enabling us to develop our learning and also share that learning within and beyond Erskine. We are hugely grateful for the financial support received – it really has made a difference to the delivery of care services at Erskine and improved the way in which we can support our veterans and their families.” - Derek Barron, Director of Care at Erskine.
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