Aged Veterans Fund Supports Erskine Veterans

Erskine has been awarded a grant of £250,000 from the Aged Veterans Fund towards the cost of refurbishing the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre (ERMAC) on the grounds of the Erskine Estate in Bishopton.  The Centre was established in 2018 as part of our collaboration with the Unforgotten Forces consortium, with the aim of enhancing the quality of life and wellbeing of Veterans living in our local communities, by providing opportunities to engage with people who have shared experiences and history, learn new skills, explore a number of interests, and access support services.  We now have over 120 members attending on a regular basis, representing all branches of the Armed Forces.  The grant will allow us to upgrade the Centre, ensuring the existing building is fully modernised and accessible for wheelchair users, members with mobility problems, sensory issues, or other disabilities. It will also allow us to increase the number of Veterans we can accommodate daily, through the development of underutilised space in the building.  We anticipate work will begin in Autumn 2019 and look forward to developing future plans for the Centre with our beneficiaries.

The Unforgotten Forces consortium is a collaborative partnership between 16 charities providing a variety of new and enhanced services to Veterans aged 65 and over across Scotland, including Erskine, SSAFA, Age Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss, Music In Hospitals & Care, Fares4Free and many others – coordinated by Poppyscotland utilising a grant of £4 million from the Aged Veterans Fund (funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds). The consortium delivers a wide range of services for older Veterans and their families in areas such as support in the NHS pathway, countering social isolation, advice, holiday breaks, creative activities, and much more besides.  Since commencement in June 2017 there have been more than 7,300 instances of support for older Veterans living in Scotland provided through the Unforgotten Forces consortium.

Welcoming the donation, Erskine Chief Executive Ian Cumming said:  “We are extremely grateful to everyone involved with the Aged Veterans Fund for this substantial grant. This will enable extensive refurbishment works at the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre, making it a real flagship for life-changing Veteran support, which we intend to replicate in other regions across Scotland. The Reid Macewen Centre has proved hugely effective in tackling social isolation and loneliness amongst Veterans in our local communities. This grant will enable us to sustain a safe, accessible and comfortable environment for our members. It will also increase the Centre’s capacity, so that even more Veterans may access a variety of purposeful activities, experiences and support services, in the company of fellow Veterans – just as all Erskine Home residents do.”

Gary Gray, Head of Welfare Services at Poppyscotland, commented: “We are delighted to have Erskine as members of the Unforgotten Forces consortium.  This Aged Veterans Fund grant towards the cost of refurbishing the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre will significantly enhance the facility giving those who use the Centre an even more enjoyable experience. Over the last year whilst working closely with Erskine, the Unforgotten Forces partners have seen the Centre quickly flourish to become a very impressive and highly successful asset for its older Veteran members, providing them with meaningful and worthwhile activities as well as the joy of friendship, fun and enjoyable social engagement to enhance the quality of their lives.  We look forward to these improvements coming to fruition and to seeing the Centre’s commendable and enhanced services provided to even more older Veterans in future.“

To find out more about ERMAC and how Veterans can benefit from the services on offer, please visit https://www.erskine.org.uk/getsupport/reid-mcewan-activity-centre-2/

To find out more about the Unforgotten Forces consortium and the broad range of services available for older Veterans and their families, please visit https://www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-help/unforgotten-forces/about-unforgotten-forces/

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