January and February Round Up

Susie Hamilton alongside a member of the ACVC Hub

Anything But Uniform launch

Cover of the Anything But Uniform Report

It was a busy start to 2024 with the launch of my first thematic report – Community and Relationships: Anything but Uniform.

Reflecting the diversity of the veteran community and focusing on members whose voices are lessfrequently heard, it makes a series of recommendations to the Scottish Government to make support and services more inclusive.

You can read the report in full here: Anything But Uniform Report

 

Policy and research updates

My ongoing engagement work with policy and decision makers has continued, with meetings with the Minister for Veterans and Minister for Mental Wellbeing, the Women Veterans Strategy Advisory Group, the Veterans Advisory Board, and the Office for Veterans Affairs. It’s been really valuable to get updates on the latest challenges and solutions being explored, and to share ways that we can effectively advocate for the veteran community.

I also had a very interesting meeting with the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre about the impact of the research it has commissioned to date, and how this is helping to shape and improve support and services.

 

Showcasing Scotland’s diverse support offeringA picture of UK Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer sitting with veterans and staff from Combat Stress and Veterans First Point

When UK Minister for Veterans Affairs Johnny Mercer decided to pay Scotland a visit, I took the opportunity to showcase some of the exceptional work being done to support the veteran community north of the border.

We visited Lothians Veterans Centre where Mr Mercer met with members including members of the Fijian community, women veterans and veterans from the LGBT+ community , who shared some of the very unique challenges they have faced and the support they have found in their communities.

We also met with veterans and staff from Combat Stress and Veterans First Point, who shared some firsthand insight on accessing mental health support and services as a veteran in Scotland.

 

Listening to lived experienceSusie Hamilton alongside a member of the ACVC Hub

Listening to the lived experiences of the veteran community remains a key priority and I travelled to Glasgow at the end of February to visit some of the city’s support groups and hear what their members had to say.

Veterans who have been supported by Glasgow’s Helping Heroes spoke about the life-changing impact the charity has had on their lives, by providing a range of services including financial, housing and employability advice.

At Community Veterans Support, I heard about the camaraderie and support that the group cultivates through regular initiatives such as wellbeing walks and themed social events. It was clear that the group makes a big difference for many local veterans.

I also paid another visit to the ACVC hub, which encourages veterans to get involved in a wide range of arts and crafts while building bonds over their shared experiences. As always, it was a pleasure to listen to the veterans and see their latest creations.

 

Care and commitment

While it’s vital to hear from members of the veteran community directly, updates from those running the organisations and charities that support the community are equally valuable.

I had meetings with Blesma and Legion Scotland, discussing how they support as many veterans as possible with the most effective approach.

I also had a very interesting meeting with Salute My Job and Troopr, a brand new platform which aims to simplify support for the forces community by offering advice and opportunities related to work, finance, housing, wellbeing and community, all in one place.  

During this early part of the year, I’ve been constantly reminded of the determined commitment of these organisations towards supporting our veterans community and helping it thrive.

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Really encouraging to see high levels of attendance among employers and Service Leavers at the Career Transition Partnership Employment Fair today. It was also a great opportunity to hear an update on changes to the CTP delivery contract. 

It was a pleasure to meet Kat Barrett from Wincanton afterwards, to hear about innovations in employing veterans and ex-offenders.
Really encouraging to see high levels of attendance among employers and Service Leavers at the Career Transition Partnership Employment Fair today. It was also a great opportunity to hear an update on changes to the CTP delivery contract. It was a pleasure to meet Kat Barrett from Wincanton afterwards, to hear about innovations in employing veterans and ex-offenders.
1 day ago
From celebrating #InternationalWomensDay and #CommonwealthDay to recognising the achievements of #veterans in the business world, learn more about my latest activity in my March round-up (link in bio 🔗).
From celebrating #InternationalWomensDay and #CommonwealthDay to recognising the achievements of #veterans in the business world, learn more about my latest activity in my March round-up (link in bio 🔗).
1 week ago
Great to see this new breakfast club set up in Grantown in the Highlands by ex-soldier Mark Strachan has already attracted veterans from surrounding areas. Coming together to share experiences and support each other can have such a positive impact on wellbeing, especially for those in more rural communities.

The breakfast club is available on the third Friday of each month at the Pagoda in Grantown.
Great to see this new breakfast club set up in Grantown in the Highlands by ex-soldier Mark Strachan has already attracted veterans from surrounding areas. Coming together to share experiences and support each other can have such a positive impact on wellbeing, especially for those in more rural communities. The breakfast club is available on the third Friday of each month at the Pagoda in Grantown.
1 week ago
Popped along to St John's Hospital where staff in the Armed Forces Network were sharing a 'NAAFI break'. 

Great to meet veterans in a wide range of NHS Scotland roles from Administration to Engineering and to hear more about their varied paths from the military to our NHS.

#VeteransSupport #VeteransScotland #NAAFIbreak
Popped along to St John's Hospital where staff in the Armed Forces Network were sharing a 'NAAFI break'. Great to meet veterans in a wide range of NHS Scotland roles from Administration to Engineering and to hear more about their varied paths from the military to our NHS. #VeteransSupport #VeteransScotland #NAAFIbreak
2 weeks ago
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