Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla
It was a great honour to be invited to join several thousand veterans and NHS workers at a special viewing spot to take in key moments from the Coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla. From outside Buckingham Palace, we enjoyed the processions, the appearance of the Royal Family on the balcony, and the Armed Forces fly past. The exciting atmosphere reflected the momentous occasion, and I felt hugely proud watching the great spectacle of the Armed Forces procession. The coronation of a new Commander-in-Chief is a significant occasion for the Armed Forces and veterans communities, and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to celebrate in such joyful and memorable surroundings.
I had a very insightful visit to Combat Stress’ new Edinburgh Hub, where veterans in Scotland can access a range of specialist mental health services as residents or as outpatients. My thanks go to the Combat Stress team for the vital work they do, and for the veterans who were so open about their mental health and how Combat Stress has supported them to get well and stay well.
Veterans Sport Stirling
I was invited to attend Veterans Sport Stirling’s end of year engagement evening, where I had a lovely time chatting with the group members about their experiences and hearing more about the programmes on offer. The initiative brings together the local veterans community through sport and physical activity, providing health and wellbeing benefits plus an opportunity to socialise.
Lanarkshire Firm Base
Lanarkshire Firm Base was created in partnership with North and South Lanarkshire Council to lead on delivery of the key commitments contained in both councils’ Armed Forces Community Covenants. I attended their latest meeting for an update and found it very encouraging to hear about Local Authority Veterans Champions, NHS Veterans Champions, a representative from children’s services and a range of third sector organisations all working together to support veterans. I appreciated the chance to speak with the Chief Executive for South Lanarkshire Council, Cleland Sneddon, to learn more about the Councils’ joint approach to meeting the Covenant duties.
There was also an excellent brief from Gary Jamieson of RBLI about its Lifeworks service - a free employment support programme which helps veterans and family members of those currently serving to find meaningful employment. I look forward to engaging with Lifeworks later this year.