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Scottish Men’s Sheds join veterans’ support consortium

Published on 30 April 2021 10:25 AM

New charity alliance will boost links for ex-service community.

Unforgotten Forces, the ground-breaking consortium of armed forces and civilian charities working to boost the health and wellbeing of older Armed Forces veterans in Scotland, has welcomed the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association (SMSA) as its newest member.

The move will enable more of Scotland’s older ex-servicemen to enjoy the proven wellbeing benefits of being part of a Men’s Shed. It will also introduce Shedders who are veterans to the wealth of extra opportunities and support available to them because of their past service.

Men’s Sheds offer a friendly, welcoming, and healthy environment for men aged 18 and over to socialise, work on personal and Shed projects, and take part in activities together with a purpose. There are more than 190 Men’s Sheds groups across Scotland.

Extra support available to older veterans through Unforgotten Forces, whose co-ordinating partner is national charity for older people Age Scotland, includes specialist advice, practical and health support, opportunities for comradeship with other veterans, and arts experiences.

Doug Anthoney, Unforgotten Forces Co-ordinator, said:

“A large majority of Scotland’s 220,000 veterans are older men, so they are a group disproportionately affected by later life’s challenges including loneliness and loss of purpose. Men’s Sheds can be a tonic for them, enabling them to rediscover the camaraderie and teamwork many enjoyed in the Forces.”

Jason Schroeder, SMSA Executive Officer, said:

“The SMSA is delighted to join Unforgotten Forces. We look forward to working with consortium partners towards a common goal -
extending our reach to collectively meet the needs of the armed forces and veterans’ community - to offer the right support to improve health and wellbeing and reduce social isolation and loneliness."

Graham Reece, an RAF veteran, and member of the Forth Valley Men’s Shed, said:

“You will never have friends in civvy street like you had in the Forces, but breaking that barrier down is Men’s Sheds. The friends you meet in the Shed are very much like your friends in the Forces. You’re all really in the same boat, whether retired, a widower, or stuck at home on your own.”

-- Ends --

Notes to editors:

  • Online information about the Unforgotten Forces consortium is available at www.age.scot/unforgottenforces 
  • Online information about the Scottish Men’s Sheds Association is available at https://scottishmsa.org.uk/ 
  • Members of the Unforgotten Forces consortium are: Age Scotland (Lead partner); Armed Services Advice Project; Combat Stress; Defence Medical Welfare Services; Erskine; Fares4Free; ILM Highland; Legion Scotland; Luminate; Music in Hospitals & Care; Poppyscotland; RAF Association; Scottish Older People’s Assembly; Scottish Men’s Sheds Association; Sight Scotland Veterans
  • In 2017 there were an estimated 220,000 UK Armed Forces veterans in Scotland, amounting to 9% of veterans in Great Britain and 5% of all household residents in Scotland.  It was also estimated that more than half (129,000; 58%) of the veterans residing in Scotland were aged 65 and over. [The Strategy for our Veterans: Taking the strategy forward in Scotland: Scottish Government January 2020]

Contact Age Scotland's media team:

Age Scotland provides a seven day a week response service to media enquiries through a dedicated telephone line and email.

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