Looking out for each other during lockdown

And so we end the first of three weeks of lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic and all the signs are that we are in for another three weeks.  This Easter weekend will truly highlight the monumental changes we have been asked to endure when we are unable to join our families to celebrate the long weekend. 

As we all continue to adjust to the new way of life and the challenges it presents, the thought of another three weeks is daunting – but it is so important that we carry out the Government’s instructions: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. 

Here is your chance to lead by example and show those in your communities how it is done.  Let them see that some resilience and inner strength goes a long way to dealing with the challenges life presents. 

But for those of us who face unsurmountable challenges and need support and help, remember the charitable sector is still there to support you.  Even though some of them are facing significant challenges themselves, they have done a remarkable job of adjusting to the new circumstances.  Do not be afraid to reach out to them if you or someone you know, needs support.  The Veterans Scotland Newsletter has a wealth of information and contacts which you may find useful – please share with everyone: the more everyone knows about it the better the chance someone in real need will find support.

I hear some fantastic stories of charities and individuals helping ensure food and medicines are delivered to those socially isolating, providing telephone or Skype calls to those who are alone or vulnerable, providing advice and help online and signposting people to other organisations who can help.

There is much else going on too, including for those in transition and I will let you know more about that in my next blog. CTP, Skills Development Scotland and the Defence Transition Services are all working flat out to offer help and guidance for those about to make the change.  Of course, the economic situation is uncertain and opportunities may be far less than they might have been a couple of months ago, but even so – remember, you have great skills and employers will be seeking them once we get over this period. 

For now, it is about preparing ourselves for a further period of time in lockdown and making sure that we are looking out for each other and others in our communities. Remember that help and support is out there, so don’t be afraid to ask, and please – stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

Office for Veterans Affairs announcements and catching up with the community

We seem to be rushing through February when I was reminded this week that I’ve not yet sent out my usual monthly blog!  Last year most blogs were my own thoughts and observations, but this year I am planning to include more guest blogs from a variety of different individuals, all with unique stories to tell of what it’s like living in, and working for, our veterans community.  Watch out for the first of these next month!

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A new year – a renewed drive for change

2020 kicked off on a positive note with fresh clarity and renewed drive for change in Government plans to deliver on the joint ‘Strategy for Our Veterans’. On 21 January the Scottish Government published its plan to implement the Strategy in Scotland. Graeme Dey, the SG Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans, made a statement to the Scottish Parliament, while the UK Government also published its own response to the consultation.  The sort of cross-government ownership we’ve seen with the Strategy can be pretty rare these days and it’s refreshing to see the needs of our veterans put before political differences.  In my response to the Scottish Government’s plan, I refer to the importance of meaningful collaboration in the push required to finally get transition from service to civilian life right.  

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