Legion Scotland has announced five grants totalling £83,400
A new fund to help ex-servicemen and women struggling to make ends meet has been launched by a veterans’ charity.
Legion Scotland launched the Legion Veterans Fund after it saw a rise of 32% in enquiries for financial assistance over the last year.
Among the biggest problems faced by former servicemen and women it said was not being able to afford rent or mortgage payments.
The fund is one of five new grant programmes, worth £83,400 in total, made available by Legion Scotland, which is the trading name of the Royal British Legion Scotland’s charity, to give something back to veterans.
Payments of up to £500 are available on a first come first served basis to members of Legion Scotland who have served in HM Armed Forces and have an immediate financial need.
I didn’t know what help was available from charities. Legion Scotland helped me get the assistance I needed
One of its first applicants Neil McPhee, 35, from Greenock requested help after his house was broken into two months ago.
He left the army in 2000 having served for five years, has two children and his partner is seven months pregnant.
He has struggled for work and suffers from blackouts which stopped his career in the construction industry.
“They stole a few things including my laptop and damaged all our white goods and even took a hammer to our bed frames,” McPhee said.
“I was so angry at the time but I had to keep it together for my family’s sake.
“I didn’t know what help was available from charities. Legion Scotland helped me get the assistance I needed.
“I think there should be more help like this for veterans. There’s not enough support out there to help you get back on your feet when you leave military life and you are trying to get work.”
The other grants include the TravelAid Fund, which is open to any close relative of injured or seriously ill service personnel to help with costs to visit them, and the War Graves Visit Fund which will provide a contribution to the cost of Scots visiting graves of loved ones killed in the First or Second World Wars.
Travel Aid applications should not exceed £500. War Graves Visit fund applications can be up to £400.
Communities are also being offered financial assistance to start a new Legion Scotland branch and for innovative projects to commemorate the centenary of WW1.
Stephen Baird, national wellbeing coordinator for Legion Scotland, said: “We have found an increase in the number of ex-servicemen and women coming to us for financial support.
“Whether it’s paying their rent or travelling to visit a loved one who is injured or going to pay respects at the grave of a loved one overseas we hope these new grants will help meet the needs of veterans and their families around Scotland.”
Further information on all the grants is available by contacting Stephen Baird on 0131 550 1560 or email [email protected].