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Saturday, 27 February 2021

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TimeBank to partner with SSAFA to integrate veterans’ mentoring projects

VOLUNTEERING charity TimeBank has received a grant of £21,283 from the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to work with SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, with a view to integrating their mentoring projects supporting service leavers’ transition from military to civilian life.

TimeBank has delivered mentoring for ex-Servicemen, women and families in Scotland for more than six years as part of its Shoulder to Shoulder project, recruiting 250 volunteers to support those who are struggling to adjust to civilian life and reducing their social and economic isolation.

For the last 18 months, funding from FiMT has enabled TimeBank to pilot an online mentoring programme to veterans and families living across Scotland. An external evaluation found it helped veterans establish stability and routine and achieve positive change in their lives. Online mentoring had significant value as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic when it was vital in reducing isolation when much face-to-face support was unavailable.

Now TimeBank plans to work with SSAFA to explore how its learning and practice from the Shoulder to Shoulder project can be incorporated into the SSAFA mentoring programme, which works alongside the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army, the Royal Air Force and other key partners.

TimeBank chief executive Phil Pyatt said: 

“This is what TimeBank is all about – trying out new ideas about volunteering and developing them into successful projects. The huge success of Shoulder to Shoulder has demonstrated the tremendous contribution that volunteers can make. Now it’s time to share our learning and expertise to take it to the next level and consolidate it into wider veterans’ support services in Scotland.”

Gary Williams, Head of Specialist Services at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charitysaid:

“We are looking forward to working with TimeBank to learn as much as we can to further develop our mentoring service. Learning from the experiences of TimeBank will help us ensure that any online or virtual service we offer is the best it can be and safe for those that us it. Our service is well established in helping those who have recently left the forces, and their families, understand and prosper during the transition to civilian life.”

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of FiMT, said: 

“We are delighted to be supporting this important project. We know that TimeBank’s mentoring programmes have a positive impact on the wellbeing of ex-Service personnel. Now, TimeBank and SSAFA can work in collaboration to ensure that Service leavers have access to effective mentoring to support them through the transition process. It’s through supporting projects like this that we can work towards FiMT’s vision of all ex-Service personnel and their families living fulfilled civilian lives.”

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