The Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Susie Hamilton, who recently visited Sight Scotland Veterans’ Hawkhead Centre in Paisley, has praised the charity for its outstanding work supporting veterans with sight loss across the country.
The Veterans Commissioner is an ambassador for the veterans community in Scotland, who gives advice and provides scrutiny to both the government and other public sector organisations. Susie, who was appointed in August 2022, met many of the veterans who attend the centre during her visit and discussed the issues they have and what support they require.
Susie Hamilton said: “I very much enjoyed my visit to the Hawkhead Centre, and it was a privilege to meet and chat with many of the veterans who attend. Sight Scotland Veterans’ does an outstanding job supporting veterans with vision impairment and makes a huge difference to their lives. The work the charity does is vital, in terms of fighting isolation and loneliness, boosting confidence and improving mental health. Hearing the chatter and laughter during many of the centre’s activity sessions is just so uplifting and inspiring.
“As a society we need to look after our vulnerable veterans. We know the Covid 19 pandemic had a profound impact on social isolation, and many of our older veterans across Scotland are still struggling with seclusion and loneliness. This is why it is so good to see veterans back in safe spaces where they can socialise again.
“Sight Scotland Veterans play such an important role in improving our veteran’s mental health. It is not just in its centres, but also its Independent Living Team through home visits, community activity groups and via its helpline; all these services play such a vital role in supporting our veterans to maintain their independence and wellbeing.”
Susie adds: “During my visit to Hawkhead I managed to have chats with many of the veterans, and better access to healthcare is something they are concerned about. Ophthalmology waiting times can be long, and our older veterans with a treatable vision impairment just don’t have the time to wait.”
Craig Spalding, Chief Executive of Sight Scotland and Sight Scotland Veterans, comments: “We were delighted with the visit of the Scottish Veterans Commissioner. We are so grateful for her interest in the work of Sight Scotland Veterans and hope to work together in the coming months to champion issues experienced by veterans with sight loss across Scotland.”
Sight Scotland Veterans provides support to all veterans in Scotland who are experiencing changes to their sight. The Hawkhead Centre in Renfrewshire is an activity hub for ex-servicemen and women with sight loss.
For more information on Sight Scotland Veterans please visit www.sightscotlandveterans.org.uk or call their support line on 0800 035 6409.
Headline photo: Group photo during a recent visit to Sight Scotland Veterans’ Hawkhead Centre in Paisley by Scottish Veterans Commissioner Susie Hamilton