supporting ex-service men and women who are recovering from mental health issues or having difficulty adjusting to civilian life.
Shoulder to Shoulder Online mentoring project in Scotland supports ex-service men and women who are recovering from mental health issues or having difficulty adjusting to civilian life. Many veterans have complex problems including financial hardship, homelessness, alcohol dependency and health issues.
TimeBank has run Shoulder to Shoulder since 2014 alongside leading Scottish veterans’ charity Erskine. Volunteers are trained as mentors to encourage beneficiaries to manage their finances, use public transport, take exercise and write CVs, access local support services and sort out housing issues.
We’re now developing a new on-line mentoring platform for ex-service personnel in Scotland who have been affected by mental health and wellbeing problems.
During the first six months we’ll pilot the online platform, developed for us by Odro, a leader in video-based technology. In the second stage, 30 beneficiaries will be matched with an on-line volunteer mentor for six months.
We are very excited to be able to reach out to many more veterans through this new online volunteering model.
- After mentoring, 80% of veterans reported increased mental wellbeing, trust and hope.
TimeBank’s Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine project has successfully been delivered within the central belt of Scotland over the past five years; matching trained volunteer mentors with veterans and family members who help guide, support and assist them to take part in goal setting and action planning in order to make positive live changes.
UPDATE FROM ALI SMITH – SENIOR PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR – JANUARY 2020
Over the past year, TimeBank has worked with Forces in Mind Trust to develop Shoulder to Shoulder Online, which aims to engage the most hardest to reach veterans and family members living in Scotland, who are socially isolated; providing support to improve positive mental health, encourage veterans to engage with support agencies and take part in activities out with the home. Delivered, in partnership with The Erskine Home, Research Consultants The Lines Between and ODRO who developed the online technology, the project still recruits and trains volunteers to provide one to one goals based mentor support, however, will mostly be delivered via an online video platform.
We have developed how best to move forward by testing out the video platform, recruiting and training volunteers as mentors, networking with key agencies and conducting trials with the video platform.
The good news is that the project is now live and we are taking referrals!
What support will veterans receive
Shoulder to Shoulder Online aims to engage most hardest to reach veterans and family members who are socially isolated, provide support to improve positive mental health, encourage veterans to engage with support agencies and take part in activities out with the home.
How to refer a veteran or family member on to the project
If you would like to refer a veteran or family member, you can call to discuss further, and or email some background information including name, age, area where they stay, military service, any life changes they would like to make if known and if they are receiving support from other agencies. We have found in the past that if your client is happy for you to pass on their contact details, we will give them a call, as some find it difficult to make the first move.
How will it work?
We will contact the veteran or family (mentee) member to discuss the project further. If they would like to proceed, a mentor will be chosen for them and we will send them a pre-set tablet. We will introduce the video platform and who they will be matched with, and ensure they are up and running, as they will need to connect their home wifi to the tablet. A mentor will then meet with them online once or twice per week over the course of three to six months. This will be monitored through a wellbeing questionnaire, mentor feedback case notes, outcome star, goal plans.
What we have found so far
• All veterans and family members who would like support will be provided with a tablet already pre-set for easy usage. This breaks down barriers to mentees not being able to have the support especially if:
They do not having a device to work from or they have difficulty ensuring a device is compatible.
• Veterans who have little knowledge of using a tablet or laptop are able to use the video platform due to the easy one click video link
• Agencies based out with the central belt have also stated an interest in online support as another method of support for veterans
• The video platform has been tested and works also in northern rural areas within Scotland
• Veterans and family members who are currently receiving online support range from the age of 25 to 84 years
You can find out more here: https://timebank.org.uk/volunteer-projects/shoulder-to-shoulder/
Senior Project Co-ordinator
Shoulder to Shoulder Online