North-east project to support veterans

Dave Thomson, left, with Alistair Black, chairman of Banchory branch of Legion Scotland
Dave Thomson, left, with Alistair Black, chairman of Banchory branch of Legion Scotland

A highly positive and inspirational social inclusion project, AberdeenshireSALUTES, (Supporting and Linking up to Ex-Services), is being developed in the North-east.

Its overall aim is to provide all, past and present ex-services veterans, including family members, with a single contact point for support, promoting comradeship, community, welfare and well-being, within their community.

What we are trying to do is create an environment for them to feel comfortable enough to seek support

Dave Thomson Project Development Officer

The project is a key part of Aberdeenshire Council’s commitment to the Military Community Covenant.

Project development officer Dave Thomson’s vision, initiated last October, has become the plan and been adopted, with support from the council’s Community Planning Partnership. The aim is for a ‘One-Stop-Shop’ for veterans and early service leavers throughout Aberdeenshire.

AberdeenshireSALUTES is working with, among others, Legion Scotland and Deeside Veterans Breakfast Club, to engage and link up with ex-service men and women.

Mr Thomson said: “There are thousands of ex-service veterans out there who might not necessarily need support. What we are trying to do is create an environment for them to feel comfortable enough to seek support, if and when necessary, also to create a space for them to share their stories with others, who understand.”

A key aspect is to set up Veteran’s Outreach Support Hubs (VOSH), in areas where need is identified, allowing access to local support or information on a wide range of subjects.

Mr Thomson added: “At the moment we have been doing a lot of positive work in the Marr area, so we are going to pilot aspects of the full VOSH in Banchory, plus, canvas interest and develop ways to engage with the local ex-service community.

“We are looking at using existing facilities within the community itself, to deliver this support and to utilise local support providers, who are already experts within the community.”

Mr Thomson and representatives of the Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP), will provide specific assistance to veterans and family members in Legion Scotland’s Ravenswood building in Banchory, on Tuesday, August 16, from 2-5pm - intended to be a regular Tuesday support provision.

More information on AberdeenshireSALUTES, on its Facebook page, and for a short survey for ex-services personnel visit https://surveymonkey.co.uk/s/FSS8GPJ