A range of projects that support Armed Forces veterans across the country have been given financial support from this year’s Scottish Veterans Fund.

The £200,000 fund, backed by the Scottish Government and financial services firm Abrdn, formerly Standard Life Aberdeen, is supporting 17 projects in 2021-22.

Successful bids include initiatives that support veterans with health and mental welfare issues and help them secure jobs and training when they return to civilian life.

Since the fund’s inception in 2008 more than 180 projects have been supported with funding of more than £1.7 million.

Veterans Secretary Keith Brown announced the funding on a visit to the Veterans’ Community Café in the Stafford Centre in Edinburgh, which provides support and advice to veterans.

He said:

“Our veterans community is an asset to society and deserves the best possible care and support and I am very pleased to announce these new allocations from the Scottish Veterans Fund.

“We are supporting a wide range of projects which provide unique and innovative approaches to aiding our veterans community.

“A great example is the Support in Mind Scotland charity in Edinburgh which I visited to see first-hand the important work they do to support veterans experiencing mental health issues.”

Michele Mason, manager of the Stafford Centre, said:

“We at Support in Mind Scotland are delighted to welcome the Cabinet Secretary to the visit the Veterans’ Service at the Stafford Centre. With the project re-starting with social distancing in place, staff and veterans had the opportunity to meet the Cabinet Secretary in person, and we have all missed the opportunity to connect via face-to-face conversations.”

Joe Sangster, Support in Mind Scotland's Veterans Co-ordinator, said:

“As a veteran with mental health problems myself, the Veterans’ group and the Community Cafe mean a lot to me, as it gives the opportunity to reconnect with other veterans who understand and can identify with each other's problems. The Cabinet Secretary's visit is important, as it gives us the chance to show what veterans need in today's society.”

Jeff Newton, Head of External Affairs at Abrdn, said:

“As a Gold rated Defence Employer Recognition Scheme organisation, we are committed to supporting veterans, reservists, and their families through quality employment and forces-friendly policies, as well as the wider community through charity partnerships. We are delighted to have part-funded the Scottish Veterans Fund since 2017. Since its inception in 2008 the Fund has played an important role in creating opportunities for Scotland’s veterans community. We are proud to support the Fund’s work as it continues to seek diverse and innovative projects that benefit veterans across Scotland.”

About the Scottish Veterans Fund

The Scottish Veterans Fund is aimed at helping the veterans community overcome disadvantage experienced as a result of service, as well as supporting projects that help veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life.

The funding available for 2021/22 totals £200,000 with £120,000 from the Scottish Government and £80,000 from Abrdn.

Support in Mind received £9,123.11 to fund a Veterans Liaison Officer to provide support to veterans with mental health issues through 1-on-1 and group support.

Bids received for the Scottish Veterans Fund are assessed by an independent panel which is selected and chaired by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner