It estimated that in Orkney there are over 1,000 military veterans and in Scotland as a whole, 220,000.
The Scottish Government have published a strategy for helping to support Scotland’s veterans.
It has identified areas where support could be improved.
Graeme Dey , Minister for Veterans in the Scottish Government said:
“We have already identified some areas where rapid progress can be made, but we will not be complacent in continuing to seek ways we can better support our veterans community to 2028 and beyond.
“My ambition remains to make Scotland the destination of choice for Service leavers and their families, offering high living standards, great job prospects and a society that respects and values their contribution.”
Click on this link to access the documents: Support for veterans: strategy
During the consultation the government heard that military veterans breakfast clubs were popular because they were informal and involved family and friends. Orkney’s military veterans breakfast club meets on the last Saturday of each month. It receives no funding and is an informal get together for military veterans and their partners.
To reduce isolation and break down more barriers the current criterion for the Scottish Veterans Fund is to be widened. Also included is a programme of development for breakfast club volunteers across Scotland to receive formal training on Befriending and Mental Health First Aid.
To support employment opportunities guidance is to be published to inform employers about the qualifications gained in military service and how that skill set can be transferred to civilian jobs. There will also be more support for veterans partners and children in training and education.
Click on this link for educational and training support for veterans: A guide to armed forces’ qualifications and what they mean in Scotland
The Workplace Equality Fund is to be expanded to incorporate the Armed Forces community, including veterans and partners. There is to be more engagement with the veterans community at events such as job fairs.
There are many welfare benefits in Scotland that military veterans choosing to live here may not know about and so there is to be more information about those made available.
Also identified in the consultation was the need for health services to be more aware of the needs of military veterans. Mental health is to be given priority status.
£1.4million per year will be provided until 2021 for the provision of a range of specialist and community based services for Veterans resident in Scotland.
Housing continues to be a concern and £4.5 million has been made available through the affordable housing supply programme to deliver over 100 homes specifically for veterans.
All of Scotland’s Local Authorities have signed The Armed Forces Covenant. Many public bodies and organisations have also signed it. The problems occur in the interpretation of it and dealing with the issues that arise out of the need for local services. This has been made more difficult by the limited data on military veterans. Improving the collection of information on military veterans would mean that their needs could be better met.
All of these strategies and more have been developed through consultation. They are intended to support military veterans to transition to civilian life, to continue to support them and to encourage more to choose Scotland as the nation to settle in.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame