New project helps Scottish veterans adjust to life on Civvy Street

The volunteering charity TimeBank has joined forces with Scotland’s leading veterans’ charity Erskine to support Scottish veterans and their families.

Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine is a two-year volunteer mentoring programme for ex-Service men and women and their families in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It will recruit and train volunteers to provide one to one mentoring support to veterans who are recovering from mental health issues or struggling to adjust to life after the military.

Volunteers will also support veteran’s family members, who often face unique challenges in understanding and dealing with the issues their partners, sons and daughters are going through.

There are around 400,000 veterans living in Scotland. One in five of the Scottish population is a member of the veterans' community, with 8% of veterans in Scotland more likely to have a mental health problem than elsewhere in Great Britain.

In addition, 10% are more likely to become homeless; 5% to have financial problems; 5% more likely to have a criminal record and 3% to be more likely to suffer from alcohol problems than elsewhere in Great Britain*.

Ali Smith of Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine says: “Many Service veterans are in a state of crisis in their lives, with complex problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues including depression, anxiety and panic attacks. TimeBank’s Shoulder to Shoulder projects in London and Birmingham have shown that volunteer mentoring is a powerful tool to support veterans and their families.”

The project is funded by The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Henry Smith Charity. 

To find out more, take a look at www.timebank.org.uk/shoulder-to-shoulder-scotland

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*Source: www.poppyscotland.org.uk/index.php/content/show/about_us/facts_and_statistics

For media enquiries, contact Julia Shipston: julias@timebank.org.uk/tel 0771 3163003.

ERSKINE has been caring for Scotland’s veterans since 1916; re-building shattered lives, restoring dignity and providing first-class care to ex-Service men and women within five care homes across Scotland. In the past year the charity has cared for 1,100 veterans. Erskine’s core role is to provide nursing care for elderly veterans in five specialist homes across Scotland but the charity also offers support, housing and employment opportunities to veterans of all ages. Erskine works closely with Veterans Scotland partner charities and agencies. Erskine relies on the generosity of its supporters to maintain its commitment to care for Scotland’s veterans – without donations, the charity simply cannot continue its work. For more information see: www.erskine.org.uk

TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering. TimeBank believe that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities. TimeBank’s Shoulder to Shoulder volunteer mentoring project was launched in 2010. It recruits and trains volunteer mentors to provide friendship and practical support, enhancing recovery and helping veterans make a successful transition to civilian life. For more information see www.timebank.org.uk/shoulder-to-shoulder