North Lanarkshire is the first area in Scotland to have a local guide highlighting social opportunities and support to combat isolation among older veterans.
The information guide was launched on the third anniversary of Veterans’ Café at Kings Church (VC@KC) in Motherwell, a drop-in café that welcomes 35-40 veterans and their families every Friday.
Veteran and VC@KC regular Thomas McLeish said: “The reason I come to the VC at the KC is for the friendship and the banter.
“We also get to know other people from different services. I get a feeling of being wanted and part of a group.”
The guide was produced by the national charity for older people, Age Scotland.
The new North Lanarkshire Community Connecting guide flags groups and services offering an especially warm welcome to older veterans.
Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said: “Often people who served in one of our armed services do not consider themselves veterans.
“However, if they have served at least one day of service in the British Armed Service – they are a veteran and may be entitled to bespoke services and support that cater to them.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this new service to older veterans in North Lanarkshire; made possible by our Veterans’ Project and the Unforgotten Forces partnership to which it belongs.
“Our Veterans Warm Welcome scheme is a way for older veterans to identify which organisations provide bespoke support, advice and friendships best suited for their needs.
“If you’re an older veteran who would like to be in touch with groups that offer an especially warm welcome to veterans, call Age Scotland’s free and confidential helpline on 0800 12 44 222.”
Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows and MSP Clare Adamson joined VC@KC veterans, Age Scotland and local organisations at the launch.
Ms Adamson aid: “Groups like the Veterans Café are so important for our local veterans, it’s good to know that advice and support are available through Age Scotland’s veteran guide and its Community Connecting project.”
Cumbernauld charity CACE also supports the Veterans Warm Welcome partnership.
Group coordinator Joan Paterson said: “CACE is very happy to work in partnership with Age Scotland and feels privileged to support the Veterans Warm Welcome initiative to raise awareness about veterans.
“This has resulted in a few of our members receiving extra help, both financial and social. They were unaware of their entitlement for this as they did not realise they were classed as veterans.”