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Funding boost of £950,000 to support older veterans in Scotland

11 April 2023

A £950,000 investment from the Scottish Government will help improve the health and wellbeing of older veterans in Scotland over the next three years.

The funding was awarded to the Unforgotten Forces partnership of armed forces and civilian charities, who deliver high quality and joined-up support for ex-service men and women over the age of 60 in Scotland, to continue their valuable work until March 2026.

Led and coordinated by the national charity for older people Age Scotland, Unforgotten Forces was set up in 2017 and has been previously funded by the Scottish Government since 2020.

The partnership includes charities such as Poppy Scotland, Combat Stress, Erskine, Luminate, Fighting with Pride, Fares4Free and Legion Scotland.

Graeme Dey MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Veterans said:

“The Scottish Government is wholehearted in our commitment to ensuring that our Armed Forces community receive the best support that we can offer. They are an integral part of our society with a considerable contribution to make.

“I am always impressed by the vital support provided by the veterans’ charitable sector here in Scotland, their hard work and their dedication. I am delighted that we are able to continue to fund the excellent work of the Unforgotten Forces consortium. The success of the consortium illustrates the real value that can be generated from collaboration and the sharing of best practise across the third sector.”

Frank Gribben, Unforgotten Forces co-ordinator for Age Scotland, said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the value of Unforgotten Forces and the needs of the older veteran’s community, and has invested such a large amount in the partnership that supports them.

“This will allow us, over the next three years, to continue providing older members of Scotland’s ex-Armed Forces community with a wide range of social opportunities and activities to improve their health and wellbeing, with tailored and high-quality support where it is needed.

“We are proud that the partnership has asked Age Scotland to continue leading and coordinating Unforgotten Forces and we really welcome the opportunity to do so.”

Working with its partner charities, Unforgotten Forces offers support for ex-servicemen and women which is matched to each person’s individual needs. The following cases studies show how collaborative work benefits the veteran community.

Case studies:

1. Partners Fares4Free and Defence Medical Welfare Services recently joined forces to help 91-year-old Royal Air Force veteran Patrick through a period of medical treatment, with DMWS arranging for Fares4Free to escort Patrick to his appointments.

Fares4Free operations manager Leon Fisher said:

“Our drivers being there to offer support, reassurance and then take him home safely afterwards made the world of difference to Patrick. They built up a great rapport with him.”

Fares4Free also took Patrick to visit his wife who had moved to a care home out-with easy reach. “Patrick takes great solace in visiting his wife which really helped him in his battle to overcome the isolation and loneliness issues that previously affected him,” said Leon.

2. Legion Scotland, Poppyscotland and SSAFA collaborated to support Paul, a disabled and widowed Army veteran who lives alone, is in poor health and has a low income. Poppyscotland put Paul in touch with Legion Scotland as he needed extra support.

“When our Veterans Community Support Officer met him, he was quite distressed,” said Legion Scotland’s Tommy Douglas. “He’d been told SSAFA was arranging a new cooker for him, but he was getting anxious that it might have been a scam, so we got in touch with SSAFA and confirmed everything was in order and the cooker would soon arrive.”

Because of his dyslexia Paul had misunderstood official letters and as a result had his benefits stopped. “We got the situation sorted out and his benefits were reinstated,” said Tommy. Paul has been introduced to a Legion Scotland Unforgotten Forces volunteer, and fellow Queens Own Highlander. “Our volunteer makes regular social visits and can help Paul with reading his mail whenever required,” said Tommy.