Asap has helped almost 16,000 members of the armed forces community since 2010
A service that has helped almost 16,000 members of the armed forces community in Scotland over the past decade has received a £20,000 funding boost from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
The Armed Service Advice Project (Asap) has supported 15,900 clients since 2010, putting a total of £17.6 million into their pockets through welfare benefits, charitable grants and other funding sources.
Run by Citizens Advice Scotland and funded by a coalition of military charities led by Poppyscotland, Asap offers specialist advice and support to veterans, people who are currently serving in the Forces, and their families.
Air commodore Paul Hughesdon, director of welfare and policy at the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “We believe this grant will result in many positive outcomes for our RAF family, including improved financial means, improved mental wellbeing, a reduction in loneliness and social isolation, and an increase in mobility and the ability for our clients to live at home for longer.”
One veteran who has been helped by the service is John Fuller, from Fife. John served in both the RAF and the army, but was compelled to leave due to injury and issues with depression and anxiety. He has since been diagnosed with PTSD. John recently encountered problems with a reduction to his welfare benefits when his care situation changed, so, through no fault of his own, he was the victim of a loophole in the system.
He said: “It’s a complicated bureaucratic mess, but the bottom line is that my income has been cut substantially, and I believe wrongly. Asap agrees with me and they are helping me to get things changed. I will continue to fight this, but the help I have received from Asap has been great. It’s really good to know you have people in your corner.”
Welcoming the award, Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “This additional funding from the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund will help the service continue to support members of our Armed Forces community with specialist advice. Members of the Forces and their families make tremendous sacrifices for their communities and their country. The least we can do is play our part in ensuring they get the advice and support they need.”
Gary Gray, Poppyscotland head of welfare services, added: “When Poppyscotland, in partnership with Citizens Advice Scotland, first established Asap in 2010 it was a smaller service. Today it has an extended footprint and members of the armed forces community can access the vital support provided by its expert advisers, wherever they are based.
“For every £1 invested by the funders, Asap has generated £4.43 of client financial gain. That delivers an outstanding impact to those who have been supported. Our message today to all military personnel, veterans and their families is that Asap is here to help you too with any problem you have.”