March Round-up

International Women’s DayIWD 2024 graphic with text reading "Supporting International Women's Day"

On International Women’s Day, I was delighted to see the launch of the Female Veterans Transformation Programme, which aims to improve visibility and support for Servicewomen and women veterans by delivering long-term, systemic change within veteran-facing organisations.

This is an important move, aligned with the findings of my Anything But Uniform Report, to address under-representation of women veterans and ensure that their specific needs are embedded in veteran support services. I’ll be following the Programme’s progress with great interest.

You can find more information about the Female Veterans Transformation Programme here.

 

Commonwealth Day

Monday 11 March marked Commonwealth Day – a day to celebrate the Commonwealth Service personnel, veterans, and their families who are crucial to the fabric of the UK military and valued members of our veteran community.

As this report by Anglia Ruskin University’s Veterans and Families Institute highlights, non-UK Service personnel and veterans can face unique challenges in areas such as citizenship and visas, career progression, and cultural belonging.

Year round, we must be conscious of these challenges, and I will continue to drive forward the recommendations in my Anything but Uniform report that the value and needs of this group are better recognised.

 

Mountbatten Festival of MusicStage and audience at the Mountbatten Festival of Music

I enjoyed an outstanding evening at the Mountbatten Festival of Music as a guest of RMA - The Royal Marines Charity. Highlights included the Corps of Drums playing with Iron Maiden's Niko McBain and  hearing from inspiring Royal Marines and Royal Navy veterans who competed in the Invictus Games. Funds raised from these concerts go to the Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, which provide invaluable support for the RM and RN family.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Veterans in the Business CommunityAt the Ex-Forces in Business Awards - Scottish Veterans Commissioner Susie Hamilton with Advocate of the Year, Professor Geri Matthews-Smith

The Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards, recognises the achievements of veterans in the business world as well as those businesses who have committed to recruiting and supporting the veteran community. It was a pleasure to meet and celebrate all of the finalists and winners, including Advocate of the Year, Professor Geri Matthews-Smith, who is Director of the Centre for Military Research, Education and Public Engagement at Edinburgh Napier University.

Earlier in the day, I attended the Joining Forces conference – a stimulating day of collaboration hearing how forces-friendly employers can make the most of the talent pool that is the veteran community. It was a great opportunity for all attendees to share good practice and make valuable connections.

 

Perth and InvernessMilitary Wives Choir workshop day in Pitlochry

It was a pleasure to travel further afield to hear from members of the veteran community in Inverness and Perth and Kinross .

I dropped in at the Military Wives Choir’s workshop day in Pitlochry – an uplifting day bringing together 90 women from the military community, including Servicewomen, veterans and family members. With a warm, friendly atmosphere, inspiring coaching and joyful singing, the positive impact for members is clear.

I also visited SSAFA Perth’s Inside Out exhibition, showcasing art by veterans from Perth and Castle Huntly prisons. The works were being sold in aid of SSAFA, which supports the whole Armed Forces community including veterans in prison and their families outside.

In Inverness, I met with veteran prison officers and prisoners in HMP Inverness to hear about their experiences as part of engagement for my next thematic report – Veterans and the Law - as well as speaking to members of the Highland Armed Forces & Veterans Community Covenant Partnership who shared some of the challenges and initiatives going on in and around the Highland capital.

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I attended the Legion Scotland Annual Conference in Dumfries last week - a  very informative event and I was honoured to be invited to provide an update on my work as SVC. 

It was a pleasure to meet veterans from the length and breadth of Scotland and see them sharing comradeship and supporting each other.
I attended the Legion Scotland Annual Conference in Dumfries last week - a very informative event and I was honoured to be invited to provide an update on my work as SVC. It was a pleasure to meet veterans from the length and breadth of Scotland and see them sharing comradeship and supporting each other.
2 days ago
It's #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, which aims to tackle stigma and encourages people to understand and prioritise mental health. 

While anyone can face challenges with their mental health, self-stigma levels are higher among veterans. To help address this, @seemescotland's The Guard campaign features the real stories and experiences of veterans who have struggled with their mental health to encourage other veterans to seek help more quickly. 

You can learn more about the campaign here: https://www.seemescotland.org/priority-groups/veterans

If you need urgent help, you can find out about available support here: https://www.seemescotland.org/urgent-help
It's #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, which aims to tackle stigma and encourages people to understand and prioritise mental health. While anyone can face challenges with their mental health, self-stigma levels are higher among veterans. To help address this, @seemescotland's The Guard campaign features the real stories and experiences of veterans who have struggled with their mental health to encourage other veterans to seek help more quickly. You can learn more about the campaign here: https://www.seemescotland.org/priority-groups/veterans If you need urgent help, you can find out about available support here: https://www.seemescotland.org/urgent-help
5 days ago
I visited the award-winning Veterans Garden in Dumfries today, a warm, welcoming place where veterans can relax and be themselves, make friends, and access support if they need it. As well as growing flowers and veg, there are chickens, a woodwork shop and a new beehive. I really enjoyed meeting some of the veterans and community members (and their dogs!) over a cup of tea and hearing how much this group means to them.
I visited the award-winning Veterans Garden in Dumfries today, a warm, welcoming place where veterans can relax and be themselves, make friends, and access support if they need it. As well as growing flowers and veg, there are chickens, a woodwork shop and a new beehive. I really enjoyed meeting some of the veterans and community members (and their dogs!) over a cup of tea and hearing how much this group means to them.
6 days ago
From attending the @ctppartnerprogramme Employment Fair and marking the fifth anniversary of Scotland's Bravest Manufacturing Company, to meeting with the Female Veterans Transformation Programme about ensuring the voices of women veterans in Scotland are heard, April was another busy month. 

Read more in my monthly news round-up - Link in bio 🔗
From attending the @ctppartnerprogramme Employment Fair and marking the fifth anniversary of Scotland's Bravest Manufacturing Company, to meeting with the Female Veterans Transformation Programme about ensuring the voices of women veterans in Scotland are heard, April was another busy month. Read more in my monthly news round-up - Link in bio 🔗
1 week ago
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