Scotland’s older military veterans are to benefit from a £4 million boost from the HM Treasury grant-giving body funded from Libor banking fines.
Unforgotten Forces, a collaboration of 14 organisations led by Poppyscotland, will tackle issues such as social isolation through befriending and will provide transport to hospital appointments and respite care, a newly created day centre, as well as creative activities for those in care.
The three-year project is being funded from fines imposed on banks following an international investigation into banking Libor interest rates which revealed a widespread plot by multiple banks to manipulate Libor rates for profit as far back as 2003.
Regulators in the UK, the United States and the European Union have fined banks £7.5 billion for rigging Libor, which underpins trillions of pounds worth of loans worldwide.
Poppyscotland’s 2014 Household Survey showed the aged veterans community totalled approximately 280,000, with almost two-thirds (64 per cent) aged 65 or over.
It also highlighted the need to improve their wellbeing in areas such as care, loneliness, social isolation and recreational activity, and to ensure access to advice on a wide range of subjects ranging from housing to benefits.
Mark Bibbey, chief executive at Poppyscotland, said Unforgotten Forces meant veterans and their families would benefit from the “strength in numbers” concept rather than facing difficulties on their own.
“We want people to understand that key organisations in the area of support provision have joined forces to provide a more holistic provision for aged veterans,” he said.
“If a veteran is engaged with one organisation, for example, they can immediately be referred to another – or multiple consortium members if required. The essence is strength in numbers and we want the identity of our consortium to reflect this.
“Our strategy has been to build a wide portfolio of complementary activity and to work in partnership with like-minded organisations to provide enhanced and well-defined services. The components of the portfolio partnership are deliberately diverse to cover the range of potential needs identified and to maximise reach and this funding boost will allow us to do just that. Each partner will also have a sound understanding of what others offer and each will effectively be a door to the whole partnership.”
Defence minister Mark Lancaster said: “Our veterans have given so much for their country, and the Aged Veterans Fund is a way of us thanking our older veterans and ensuring they are cared for in later life.”