Help for Heroes is returning to in-person support as the charity returns from lockdown
A charity is restarting its face-to-face services this week.
Wounded veterans across Scotland will be visited by specialist Help for Heroes staff this week (14-18 June) to support their recovery as the charity expands its community activities.
More than 20 face-to-face assessments are planned around Aberdeen, Dundee, Perth, Fife, Edinburgh and Glasgow combining home visits and meetings, in line with local guidance.
Wounded, injured or sick veterans in Scotland have been supported virtually throughout the pandemic by Help for Heroes via video calls and its extensive online resources - but this is the first time they will be reunited with welfare case manager John Kelso and veterans’ clinical advisor Duane Fletcher, known as Fletch, in person again.
John served for 17 years across the world with the Queens Own Highlanders and 15 years with the Black Watch 3 Scots. He said: “We are so excited to be seeing people in person again, we know how vital our virtual support has been during the pandemic but nothing beats seeing someone face-to-face. We will be able to get a get a real idea of the everyday battles our veterans face and how we can best support them.”
Fletch, who spent 39 years serving in the military as a registered nurse and nursing officer working throughout the world in both peacetime posts and in war zones, added: “Visting our veterans gives us a better understanding of their long-term physical health conditions.
“We can help them navigate the complex care pathways of the NHS, provide support based on military medical experience and assist if required to access specialist veterans’ clinics, whether this be orthopaedic, occupational therapy, physiotherapy or pain management.”
Veteran Paul Fearnley, of Dundee, said: "It was so great to put faces to the names of the people at Help for Heroes who actioned support for me. I had been receiving lots of emails from the charity inviting me to do various online meetings and activities but I didn't have the confidence to take part. Meeting John and Fletch face to face has been a massive boost for me and I look forward to many more happy meetings together."
Help for Heroes is also reintroducing a range of face to face recovery activities and events in Scotland, in line with local guidance, alongside the virtual and remote support they have offered to veterans and their loved ones throughout the pandemic. These currently include group walks, mountain biking, virtual meet-ups and other online activities, ranging from quizzes and scavenger hunts to crafts and cooking, with more being added as lockdown eases further.