Often the hardest part of getting help and support is making that initial call, especially when your professional training has instilled resourcefulness and a problem-solving mindset. But for current and former members of the armed forces who reach out to Poppyscotland, that first call can be truly life-changing.
The Poppyscotland welfare services team are there to answer that call and offer support to service personnel and their families, whether it’s financial worries, finding housing, adapting homes to suit additional needs and much, much more.
Making the call to Poppyscotland
Nina Semple, a welfare services manager, explained that callers will not face judgement or a barrage of questions.
She said: “A coordinator will take some information to allow us to get a basic picture of the situation the caller is in.
“They will try and find out if the need is based around finance, housing, wellbeing, health, employment or something else and then that caller will be assigned to the welfare services team.”
Nina added: “We take a holistic approach to the support we give to the people who call us – we don’t just look for a quick fix, instead we look at everything around the presenting issue to see if there’s more we can do to help.”
For example, if a caller is experiencing difficulties with paying bills, the welfare services team won’t simply look to clear the debt, they might also assess their employment situation to see if they can help find a suitable a job .
She continued: “Our aim is to get our veterans and their families to a place of sustained independence.”
Welfare services staff have knowledge and experience
Lorna McConnell, herself a veteran and a forces spouse which she says gives her understanding and perspective in those areas, is a Welfare Services Manager in the north of Scotland. She explained how she handles calls that come to her.
“I introduce myself and then I let them talk. The call is treated as a friendly conversation and while the person is telling me the problems they are experiencing I am trying to assess what we can offer to support them.
“I go at their pace and I make sure that nobody feels ‘fobbed off’ or not listened to. Even when we recommend one of our partner organisations, we will stay with them every step of the way.”
Supporting the Armed Forces community without limits
One thing both Nina and Lorna agree on is that the help they can give, or that they can facilitate through another organisation, doesn’t have a time limit or a cap.
If you need help, all you need to do is make that initial first step of getting in touch and the Welfare Services staff will go through the process with you, even when you are pointed in the direction of another group or agency.
Nina said: “As long as the person is ready to work with us, we will help. We can’t force our services on people, but when they are ready we are here.”
If you feel that you, or one of your loved ones, could be helped by the Poppyscotland welfare team or you would like to find out more information, please call the Get Help line on 0131 550 1557 or email GetHelp@poppyscotland.org.uk. You can also get more information at the Poppyscotland website.