POPPYSCOTLAND has launched a new service to transform the support available for the Armed Forces community in Scotland.

And the Scottish Borders is one of the areas where the new, enhanced service will be available.

The Welfare Support Service is open to the Armed Forces community across the country, but, crucially, it will have a strong local focus and will be tailored to the needs of each individual.

Looking after the Borders area is Welfare Support Officer Fiona Deacon.

Fiona, who served for almost 20 years in the Royal Military Police and became the first woman to cast Colours during Selkirk Common Riding, told us: “As an Armed Forces veteran myself, I feel very privileged to be part of this new community-based beneficiary-focused service.

"I look forward to working in partnership with other service providers and charitable organisations to achieve the best possible results for our Armed Forces veterans and their families.”

The Welfare Support Service team will be made up of four Welfare Support Officers and two Independent Living Advisers, each working within a designated geographical area.

The Welfare Support Officer will provide support to vulnerable veterans and to those identified as having complex needs.

These could range from mental or physical health to problems with money and housing.

As well as acting as the personal point of contact for Poppyscotland’s clients, members of the new team will work alongside a wide network of agencies, professionals and volunteers to ensure that veterans in the Borders who require support get the help needed.

Independent Living Adviser Mary Spence covers Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Ayrshire, Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde, Argyle & Bute, Renfrewshire & Inverclyde, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders.

She said: “I am delighted to be joining Poppyscotland in my capacity as an Independent Living Adviser, working alongside our partners to deliver person-centred services to our beneficiaries and their families.

“In this, the 75th year since D-Day, it has never been more important or relevant to remember the sacrifices made every day by our Armed Forces and, as importantly, their families, and the debt we owe them. We are already busy with referrals and have been able to provide advice, support and financial assistance to the Armed Forces Community across Scotland.”

To find out more information about Poppyscotland’s new Welfare Support Service visit www.poppyscotland.org.uk/get-help/.