Our Veteran Community Support team have been working tirelessly over the last year to ensure that our veterans’ families and friends are supported during these difficult isolating times. Even through lockdown the team have been inundated with enquiries around support across Scotland, over the last year they have handled over 3,300 enquiries and contacts whether asking for immediate support or some advice. They have supported over 147 referrals from organisations, individuals, or support staff across Scotland. These figures of support led work shows the efforts that throughout lockdown our team will endeavour to provide that key support and comradeship by any means.

Elliot, our Veterans Community Support Coordinator was very keen to show just his experience in his area through lockdown and the ways in which support was provided.

“It has been a very strange year as COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges for both people and society. We have seen that it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable and many who were lonely and isolated already, have felt the pressure grow. This has been highlighted throughout in the media, but we hear little of the fantastic work carried out by our Army of Volunteers. I have been humbled by the inspiring ideas and innovation of our Support Volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to bring some cheer to our Veterans, and their families. There have also been many reports of random neighbourly acts of kindness, which has had an extremely positive effect on lots of Veterans.

As the vaccine rolls out, our older Veterans are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and are making plans what they would like to do when we return to normal, or at least the new normal.

Sharon was a self-referral at the end of 2017 and I initially supported her and signposted her to RAFA, SSAFA, and on several occasions Fares4free. We had established a great rapport, but Sharon craved female company, so I then matched her with Tracey, and they hit it off immediately. Due to Sharon’s limited mobility, she could not get out and about very often, but Tracey helped to change that. She visited very often, and they would travel to many places they wanted to visit, normally finishing the day in an eatery. Sharon has found the lockdown very testing and has struggled with the isolation and has obviously felt very lonely at times. They have both benefited from the many phone calls and video chats they have had, even cooking together, and swapping tips. They are now planning what they are going to do when safe to do so.  This is obviously having a very positive impact on both, as they plan where they want to visit, and where they want to eat, but top of their list is a simple meeting over a cuppa, and I should imagine a very long chat.

Harry was referred to me by DMWS in 2018, and we struck up a good friendship immediately. I would visit often, and we would recall tall tales about our Military Service and laugh about most of them. He had some marvellous stories about his time in the Royal Navy during WWII, I could have listened to him all day. During lockdown I would call him often and we would pick up where we had left off, but he always ended the phone call saying he looked forward to my next visit, as he was not a huge fan of the telephone. I always wanted to take Harry out, but he wanted to sit and chat, and was comfortable with that. His family have been in touch on several occasions and have said the visits and chats have been enormously positive for Harry as he talks about them and looks forward to the next. It is amazing the impact a cuppa and a wee chat can have. “

Know someone who might benefit from our team of support volunteers? Interested in volunteering yourself? Get in touch!


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