Do you know a veteran? You may well do, because if you served in HM Armed Forces for more than just one day you are officially considered a ‘veteran’.
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This includes all regulars, reservists, national servicemen and merchant mariners who have supported a British military operation. Some might not think of themselves as veterans – but recognising the special status opens doors to extra opportunities and support, with which Age Scotland can help.
Age Scotland has had a dedicated focus on meeting the needs of older veterans since 2017. The charity understands that many veterans are older people and sometimes veterans’ needs and interests are distinctive from those of civilians.
Age Scotland supports veterans directly, including through the free and confidential helpline – 0800 12 44 222 – as well as providing a range of free veterans’ advice guides which include details of extra rights and entitlements offered to ex-servicemen and women.
The Armed Forces Covenant
In November 2022, the Armed Forces Covenant became law across the UK. This is the nation’s promise to its veterans that no one who has served in HM Armed Forces should be disadvantaged in civilian life because of their service and there is special consideration for veterans who have sacrificed most.
All public bodies are now legally obliged to apply the Armed Forces Covenant in health, housing and education services. These new obligations are outlined in Age Scotland’s updated Veterans Guide to Later Life, which is available online or printed copies can be sent out by post.
Age Scotland fighting loneliness and isolation in veterans with Comradeship Circles and Unforgotten Forces
For some veterans, later life can bring increasing loneliness and isolation. Age Scotland’s Comradeship Circles offer regular group camaraderie by telephone. The service began during the Covid lockdown to help older veterans feel less alone, particularly those who didn’t use online technology to connect with others.
Since those early days, Comradeship Circles have gone from strength and strength, and continue now because Circle members enjoy taking part and say they look forward to their phone-based get togethers. Age Scotland recently celebrated the 600th Circle event. To find out more about how to join, call the Age Scotland helpline.
Age Scotland also leads and co-ordinates Unforgotten Forces, Scotland’s charity partnership to improve the health and wellbeing of veterans aged over 60. Working alongside Armed Forces charities including Poppy Scotland and Combat Stress, and civilian charities such as the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association, Age Scotland has been able to draw on the strengths and specialisms of each charity to provide more older veterans with high quality camaraderie opportunities and support tailored to their individual needs.
A free Unforgotten Forces magazine is published three times a year to keep older veterans in Scotland informed about what’s available for them. To receive a copy of the magazine call the Age Scotland helpline.
Find out more about Age Scotland’s work with older veterans, download any of the veterans’ guides or to sign up to the email newsletter. Or call the the free and confidential helpline: 0800 12 44 222.