A consortium of organisations, led by Poppyscotland, has been awarded £4 million from the Aged Veterans Fund to undertake a three-year programme of support for older veterans and their families in Scotland.
Unforgotten Forces, a collaboration of 14 leading organisations, will deliver a range of new services and enhancements in areas including advice, access to healthcare, social isolation, respite, along with creative activities and events for those in care settings.
The consortium has been awarded the funding to undertake this ambitious programme of work.
The application for funding, which was boosted by input from Standard Life’s Accelerated Development Support Programme, was made to the HM Treasury grant-giving body funded from Libor banking fines. The money will be used over the next three years to improve the coordination of existing provision and introduce new services aimed at supporting aged veterans.
The Poppyscotland portfolio will include services such as advice provision, support for those on the NHS pathway with transport being provided to appointments. Loneliness and isolation will be tackled through befriending, respite breaks and a newly created day centre.
Mark Bibbey, Chief Executive at Poppyscotland, the organisation leading the consortium, said: “We want people to understand that key organisations in the area of support provision have joined forces to provide a more holistic provision for aged veterans. If a veteran is engaged with one organisation, for example, they can immediately be referred to another – or multiple consortium members if required. The essence is strength in numbers and we want the identity of our consortium to reflect this.
“The 2014 Poppyscotland Household Survey numbered Scotland’s Aged Veterans community at approximately 280,000, with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of those aged 65 or over. It highlighted the need to improve the wellbeing of this group in areas such as care, loneliness, social isolation and recreational activity, and to ensure access to advice on a wide range of subjects in order to ensure an improved quality of life.
“Poppyscotland’s strategy has been to build a wide portfolio of complementary activity and to work in partnership with like-minded organisations to provide enhanced and well-defined services. The components of the portfolio partnership are deliberately diverse to cover the range of potential needs identified and to maximise reach and this funding boost will allow us to do just that. Each partner will also have a sound understanding of what others offer and each will effectively be a door to the whole partnership.”
And Defence Minister Mark Lancaster added: “Our veterans have given so much for their country, and the Aged Veterans Fund is a way of us thanking our older veterans and ensuring they are cared for in later life.”