New initiative launched across the Lothians to support Armed Forces veterans

East Lothian Council has joined a commitment made in the East of Scotland to strengthen the public services and support available to the Armed Forces and Veterans community, and to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Lothian Armed Forces and Veterans Project, which has been championed in Edinburgh by the Lord Provost, will see councils across the region work in partnership with NHS Lothian, Veterans Scotland and the local Armed Forces community to support the 41,000+ ex-Service Personnel and 2,000+ Regular and Reserve Armed Forces living in the Lothians.

A Partnership Agreement was signed last night (Wednesday 27 September) by Chief Executives of partner organisations and Armed Forces and Veterans champions.

The new project, which has secured £200,000 of Covenant funding, aims to work with a wide range of stakeholders to:

  • Improve the delivery of the national Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly
  • Create training courses and materials to raise the profile of the significant contribution made by the Armed Forces Community and the unique issues this community may face
  • Promote the employability and skills of Reservists, ex-Forces personnel and their spouses across the public, private and third sectors
  • Build on housing policy to develop additional advice and guidance relating to the provision of stable homes
  • Help improve the coordination of health and wellbeing support given to the Armed Forces Community
  • Support military families within the education system
  • Support three, dedicated job roles over the next two years to deliver the project
  • Improve the coordination of support provided to the armed forces community and veterans across all areas of public service and seek to improve social-economic opportunities for all Veterans who settle in the Lothians

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, Armed Forces Champion for East Lothian Council, said:

“Serving personnel and armed forces veterans, and their families, can require specific support and services to enable them to enjoy a secure and stable integration within local communities. Local authorities are joining with other partners to help both individuals and families to successfully access a range of services to meet their housing, education, health and employment or training needs. I was pleased to represent East Lothian Council at the signing of the Lothian Armed Forces and Veterans Project Partnership Agreement which will provide integrated support to our armed forces personnel.”

Lieutenant Colonel Doug Mackay, Commander Edinburgh Garrison, said:

“I am delighted to be working in partnership with our local authorities in the Lothians, NHS Lothian and Veterans Scotland to help support the delivery of this project, funded from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund. It will build on our well-established Community Covenants and indeed the excellent relationships and networks that have already been established with a range of organisations.

“We are fortunate to have so many people in this region who are working together to help prevent Service Personnel and their families being disadvantaged as a result of their Service. I am therefore very much looking forward to working with the new Project Team and I am committed to helping them deliver the aims of the project.”

NHS Lothian (Veterans First Point) will help supply many of the specialist medical and counselling interventions which are part of the Health provision connected to this project.

Veterans Scotland is a membership organisation representing 70 service charities.

Published: Thursday, 28th September 2017