There are some 220,000 veterans living in Scotland - around 4% of the population. More than half of them are aged 65 or over. It has been suggested that Scottish veterans with mental health conditions are at a greater risk of deprivation than those from elsewhere in the UK. Veterans in Scotland faced particularly high levels of deprivation in income and employment, and 50% of veterans were found to reside in the most deprived three deciles of the population.
The Royal Caledonian Ball has supported military and veterans charities since its inception. Shown to the right are some of the more recent examples of the Trust's beneficiaries.
Erskine provides unrivalled support to veterans in Scotland through care homes and a Veterans Village, comprising of 44 cottages, an Activities Centre, five Assisted Living Apartments and 24 Transitional Supported Apartments. In total, the charity cares for nearly 1,000 residents each year, providing veterans with the companionship of like-minded people.
For veterans who need help to begin the next chapter of their lives, Erskine also offers social, recreation and training facilities at its Activity Centre and employment opportunities in partnership with Scotland Bravest Manufacturing Co., all within a Veterans Village setting supporting Veterans of all ages. Erskine not only care for their veterans – they care about them; and the Royal Caledonian Charities Trust have been proud to support them in this work over the years.
The Gordon Highlanders Regimental Association
The Gordon Highlanders Regimental Association was instituted in 1930 and aims to foster esprit de corps and keep alive reunions and meetings of comradeship between officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and the men of the erstwhile Gordon Highlanders Regiment. The Association’s primary concern is with the men’s welfare, offering assistance to members of the Regiment who have fallen on hard times as well as supporting their widows and children. In 2022, the Gordon Highlanders Welfare Fund supported 23 welfare cases and paid out £10,488 in total—20% of which was met by funds raised by the Royal Caledonian Charities Trust.
Funds provided support to veterans attending training courses to enable them to return to employment; assistance with the purchase of orthopaedic chairs, beds and bedding, wet rooms, and white and brown goods to help veterans furnish Council flats; and help with food and funeral costs, Council tax and gas and electricity arrears, and energy bills to avoid eviction. The Association also works closely with SSAFA, the ABF and Poppy Scotland in order to bolster support where a specific need cannot be met.
Scottish Veterans Residences
Two Seaforth Highlanders – Charles Pelham Burn and Chilton Lind Addison Smith – saw the squalor veterans in Edinburgh were existing in and decided something had to be done to help. They set up a fundraising campaign that led them to leasing Whitefoord House in the city’s Royal Mile to house and support veterans. Veterans who come to Whitefoord House today will find a very different residence to the first arrivals in 1911 but the ethos and spirit of SVR are just the same. Nowadays, the dormitories are long gone and SVR can offer 127 en-suite rooms, 30 supported flats, and 46 independent affordable rental flats across Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. The Royal Caledonian Charities Trust has supported SVR and its activities through several grants over the last decade.