SUPPORT in Mind Scotland has been awarded almost £29,000 from the Scottish Veterans Fund (SVF) to develop the Veterans' Community Cafe at the Stafford Centre over the next two years.

The grant will allow us to working in partnership with the Sadaya veterans charity, run by founder Keith McKenzie, Veterans Liaison Officer for the project.

With the help of SVF funding over the past year, the Cafe has been able to open weekly on Wednesday evenings at the Stafford Centre. Veterans and their families are welcome for hot drinks, hot food and a chat, as well as Tai Chi and meditation if they wish.

Through the hard work of Keith and his team of volunteers and trustees, the Cafe has also provided additional yoga sessions, retreats, sign-posting, and one-to-one support for veterans, and has grown to regularly support around 50 people.

The Veterans Community Cafe is among ten projects across Scotland sharing grant funding of £204,000 which has been newly allocated to encourage employment opportunities for veterans, help them develop key skills when transitioning and improve community support. Six projects which continue from last year will also be given £67,000 in 2018/19.

This funding includes £93,000 from Standard Life Aberdeen, over the next two years, who continue to partner with the Scottish Government to enhance the fund.

Awards made to veterans and ex-services charities across Scotland from the Scottish Veterans Fund (SVF) now total more than £1.3 million.

The Scottish Veterans Fund provides vital funding to projects that promote employment and skills development, as well as creating opportunities for social inclusion

Keith Brown, Scottish Veterans Minister

On a visit to the Whitefoord House Scottish Veterans Residence (SVR) in Edinburgh, which has been awarded £3,268 to provide veterans living in supported accommodation with the skills to prepare nutritious food safely and to manage a budget for a healthy diet, the Scottish Veterans Minister Keith Brown said: “We want to make Scotland the destination of choice for those leaving the Armed Forces, and their families. We want to support veterans, and enable them to realise their potential.

"The Scottish Veterans Fund provides vital funding to projects that promote employment and skills development, as well as creating opportunities for social inclusion.

“I’d like to thank Standard Life Aberdeen for their continued support, which makes it possible for these fantastic projects to make a real, positive difference to the lives of ex-servicemen and women.

Sandy MacDonald, Head of Sustainability at Standard Life Aberdeen, said: “At Standard Life Aberdeen, we’ve seen first-hand the hugely positive impact that armed forces veterans bring to our workplace and community. We’re proud to be continuing our commitment to The Scottish Veterans Fund, and it’s great to see that such fantastic projects are going to be receiving this vital support.”

The Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Eric Fraser said: “I am delighted that the Scottish Government and Standard Life Aberdeen are continuing their support for our veterans community through the Scottish Veterans Fund. There are many innovative and exciting projects this year which will make a real difference and help even more veterans fulfil their potential.”

New Projects in 2018/19

The First Base Agency

Costs for operating a Veterans Walled Garden - portable toilet, electricity for kitchen facilities and transport for veterans visiting the garden.

£1,820

Fares 4 Free

Free transport befriending service - to employ an additional part time role of Operations Coordinator.

£15,000

(£15,000 also committed in 2019/20)

SVR

Providing courses for veterans living in supported accommodation within SVR to gain skills to prepare nutritious food safely and to manage a budget for a healthy diet.

£3,268

Communities and Nature International

To employ a Projects Manager/Gurkha Veterans Support Officer to support veterans in Aberdeen. Giving telephone/online support and organising drop in sessions and home visits.

£9,217

Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI)

Towards the employment of Head of welfare and Occupational therapists, psychologists and vocational assessment. Costs for HR, welfare and project monitoring.

£28,194

(£28,194 also committed in 2019/20)

SACRO

One-to-one peer support employment service for veterans on short term prison sentences.

£29,682

The King's Church

To provide activities and group based sessions for veterans and their families at established drop-in sessions.

£1,500

Support in Mind

To employ a part-time veterans liaison officer to run and develop the Veterans Community Café.

£ 14,483

(£14,483 also committed in 2019/20)

Glen Art

To combat loneliness and isolation and raise wider awareness of veterans' issues, while developing horticultural skills.

£14,812

Veterans Employability & Training Services

To employ a veterans support consultant to improve employment prospects of veterans.

£14,400

(£14,400 also committed in 2019/20)

Projects that continue to be funded

Organisation

Project

Amount given in 2018/19

GHH (Veterans United)

Glasgow’s Veterans United – a programme of fitness training, life coaching, health and nutritional education.

£5,000

Erskine

Employment of a part-time dementia nurse consultant to train nursing / care home staff, and advise on complex care and treatment.

£15,000

New Start Highland

Employability training for veterans, including support to gain qualifications.

£9,000

RFEA

Employment adviser to support veterans to move into employment and to continue to provide support where necessary.

£22,124

LVC

Continued development of pop-up cafes for veterans across the Lothians, improving social   inclusion, employment and health and well-being.

£16,500