Scottish volunteer mentoring project receives national award

Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine, a unique volunteer mentoring project which supports Scottish ex-service men, women and families who are struggling to adjust to civilian life, has been recognised with national award.

The project, run by volunteering charity TimeBank in partnership with the Scottish veterans’ charity Erskine, has received the prestigious Approved Provider Standard (APS) award, the NCVO’s national quality standard for mentoring and befriending projects.

Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine (S2SE) was the first project to be funded in Scotland by the Forces in Mind Trust, which aims to promote the successful transition of Armed Forces personnel and their families into civilian life. Since it started in 2014, S2SE volunteers have been matched with 94 ex-service men and women and helped reduce their risk of social and economic isolation. Many have complex problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues. Without support, they can end up on the streets or in prison.

Volunteer mentors help them through the many barriers they face, including developing coping mechanisms, help with IT, social and conversational skills, numeracy and literacy, support with anger issues, being in crowds and noise, using public transport and improving their physical and mental health.

The project has seen some great successes with many veterans moving into work or volunteering and reporting increased self-esteem, social skills, overall mental wellbeing and resilience.

Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine project co-ordinator Ali Smith (picture attached below) said: “I’m thrilled to receive this award, which demonstrates the value of volunteer mentoring to support ex-service personnel and provide focus and direction in their day to day lives. It’s a tribute to our wonderful volunteers who are providing such a valued addition to services that support Scottish veterans.”

Ends

For media enquiries: please contact: Julia Shipston, TimeBank Communications Manager: julias@timebank.org.uk or telephone 0771 3163003.

Notes to editors:

·         The Armed Forces community in Scotland numbers half a million - 10% of the population - of whom 230,000 suffer from long-term illness or disability. Adult members of the ex-service community in Scotland are more likely to live alone than other adults; 15% are affected by social isolation; 10% have long-term mental health problems and 20% have employment-related problems.

·         TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering. Our extensive volunteer-led project offering language training to UK residents with little or no knowledge of English has also become a core part of our work.

·         TimeBank believes that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities.

 

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