Banking on volunteer mentors to support Scottish service veterans

There are around 400,000 ex-service veterans living in Scotland, and one in five of the Scottish population is a member of the veterans' community.

Many of these ex-service men and women find it difficult to adjust to civilian life after active service - while their families often face unique challenges in understanding the issues their partners, sons and daughters are going through.

Now a local project has been set up to help them. Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine is a partnership between the volunteering charity TimeBank and Scotland’s leading care organisation for ex-Service men and women in Scotland, Erskine. Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine recruits and trains volunteers to provide one to one mentoring support to veterans and their families in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The project has already recruited and trained a number of local volunteers and is now looking to match them with veterans and service families who would like one-to-one support, assistance or guidance.

Ali Smith of Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine says: “Many service veterans are in a state of crisis in their lives, with complex problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues including depression, anxiety and panic attacks. Mentoring can really help – whether you want someone to talk to on the phone or meet for a chat, or need support to set goals and move on. ”

Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine is funded by The Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and the Henry Smith Charity. To find out more, take a look at,  call Ali on 0141 814 4510 or 07437 437 867 or email her at


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ERSKINE has been caring for Scotland’s veterans since 1916; re-building shattered lives, restoring dignity and providing first-class care to ex-Service men and women within five care homes across Scotland. In the past year the charity has cared for 1,100 veterans. Erskine’s core role is to provide nursing care for elderly veterans in five specialist homes across Scotland but the charity also offers support, housing and employment opportunities to veterans of all ages. Erskine works closely with Veterans Scotland partner charities and agencies. Erskine relies on the generosity of its supporters to maintain its commitment to care for Scotland’s veterans – without donations, the charity simply cannot continue its work. For more information see:

TimeBank is a national volunteering charity, started in 2000. It recruits and trains volunteers to deliver mentoring projects to tackle complex social problems and also works with businesses to engage their staff in volunteering. TimeBank believes that great volunteering can transform the lives of both volunteers and beneficiaries by building stronger, happier and more inclusive communities. TimeBank’s Shoulder to Shoulder volunteer mentoring project was launched in 2010. It recruits and trains volunteer mentors to provide friendship and practical support, enhancing recovery and helping veterans make a successful transition to civilian life. For more information see