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On-line mentoring platform for ex-Service personnel struggling with social isolation to be trialled

TimeBank, a national volunteering charity, has been awarded funds of £143,281 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), to develop, pilot and evaluate an on-line mentoring platform for ex-Service personnel who have been affected by mental health and wellbeing problems in Scotland.

The 18-month project will be divided into two stages. The first six months will be a revision and refinement of training materials and a pilot of the online platform. In the second stage, 30 beneficiaries will be matched with an on-line volunteer mentor, with an average of six months’ support provided.

Mentoring will take place through an on-line video platform developed by Odro, a leader in video-based technology, which allows beneficiaries to have conversations with their mentors in real time as well as being able to exchange files and messages.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive, Forces in Mind Trust, said: “FiMT previously funded TimeBank to deliver a face-to-face mentoring project in Glasgow and Edinburgh between 2014 and 2016, which resulted in the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine’ report. The report included a recommendation to make the mentoring service more widely available across Scotland, and this innovative application of modern communication technology is the result. The funding awarded today reflects that recommendation, and also the success of the mentoring scheme for ex-Service personnel in those two cities in Scotland.

“We look forward to the development of the on-line mentoring platform and the subsequent evaluation. The results of this 18-month project will influence how support can be better provided to ex-Service personnel and their family members dealing with mental health problems.”

Phil Pyatt, Chief Executive, TimeBank, said: “We are delighted to be working with FiMT once more to support Scottish veterans and their families, many of whom have complex problems including mental health issues. We will also be able to continue to show, through our partnership with leading veterans’ charity Erskine, that volunteer mentoring is a powerful tool to alleviate their stress and isolation and help them transition to sustainable, healthy and productive civilian lives. We are very excited to be able to reach out to many more veterans through this new online volunteering model.”

Research Consultancy, The Lines Between, will test the viability of the technology, and assess the impact online mentoring has made to the ex-Service personnel and their families struggling to maintain a successful transition to civilian life.

This new project draws on TimeBank’s extensive experience of delivering volunteer mentoring projects that support vulnerable people through difficult transitions in their lives.

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