National Lottery Funding to Support Armed Forces Veterans in Scotland

Published on
May 11, 2022
May 26, 2022
Written by
Alan Mairs
Written by
Sacro
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Sacro has received funding to continue delivering its Veterans Mentoring Service (VMS) throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians for a further three years. The award from The National Lottery Community Fund, made possible by National Lottery players, comes at a time of increased demand for the service. 

The Veterans Mentoring Service supports ex-military veterans who are involved in the criminal justice system. These can be veterans who are presently in prison, have been released from prison, or who have completed any of the various orders used as an alternative to imprisonment. VMS is also a preventative service for those veterans on the periphery of the criminal justice system and used as a means of early intervention.

Sacro’s Community Justice Manager, Shirley Findlay, welcomed the funding announcement saying:

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, a backlog in court cases, increased mental health challenges from social isolation and a cost-of-living crisis have continued to pile pressure on people, already struggling with adjusting to civilian life after their time served in the armed forces. Sacro’s Veterans Mentoring Service is a lifeline for many of them and this award will help us continue to support those who have served their country in this way.”

Veterans are linked with a Sacro mentor who has lived military experience and experience of the military community. Mentors are encouraged to use this shared experience and knowledge to build relationships with the mentees. Through the development of a supportive relationship, they work together to promote desistance from offending and increasing the veteran’s self-esteem, confidence, and wellbeing.

“Debt – mental health – employability? VMS dealt with all those issues 100% from the moment I walked in the door”.

Veteran and service user of Sacro VMS

The VMS is an intensive one-to-one peer mentoring support service that is focussed on supporting the mentees at a time of significant challenge in their lives. It assists mentees to recognise and develop their life skills including accessing education and employment training, sustaining their tenancies and accommodation, and building the confidence to make critical changes in their lives. These critical changes include addressing their offending behaviour, understanding the effects of this on their lives and the lives of their families and friends, as well as those who live in the local communities. The service also assists in supporting veterans with addressing alcohol and substance use issues, mental health problems, and social isolation. 

The National Lottery Community Fund, Scotland Chair, Kate Still, said:

“National Lottery funding can make amazing things happen in local communities across the country. This project delivered by Sacro, is a great example of community activity in action, showing just what can be achieved when people come together for a common cause or to help others. National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is helping to support this vital work and to help communities thrive.”

To find out more about Sacro’s Veterans Mentoring Service, call us on 0131 624 7270 or email info@sacro.org.uk

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