0131 550 1561 office@veteransscotland.org.uk

Introducing Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service

Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Service will have national capability with staff who have undergone significant training and are equipped to reach out to beneficiaries with multiple and complex needs. We consider that the service will prove transformational to how we deliver our Welfare Services.

The addition of four Welfare Support Officers and two Independent Living Advisers will offer Poppyscotland a unique opportunity to provide support in a holistic manner, using a person-centric approach to those who experience significant challenges or where there are limitations to service accessibility.

The development of the Welfare Support Service will offer a significant opportunity to further embed our partnership approach to working in order that timely and joined up support is available to those who need it most, thereby future-proofing our support to the Armed Forces community in Scotland.

Sharon Higgins, Deputy Head of Welfare Services (Welfare Support) 

Sharon is responsible for all aspects of the delivery of the Welfare Support Service. In the early days of her role, Sharon has been responsible for the development and implementation of the new Service, recruitment of the team, mapping out services, processes and procedures and working to existing policies.

Welfare Support Officers

Poppyscotland’s Welfare Support Officers provide individuals within the Armed Forces community with appropriate welfare support and advice in an integrated and seamless way, taking a person-centred approach based on a thorough analysis of circumstances and needs. They provide support and advocacy to vulnerable beneficiaries and/or those identified as having multiple and complex needs. They will develop and manage Individual Support Plans, acting as point of contact for clients whilst working in collaboration with partner organisations to draw on inputs from a wide network of professionals, agencies and volunteers.

Laura Gavin

Region 1: Highlands, Islands, Moray & Grampian

  • Shetland
  • Orkney
  • Highland
  • Western Isles
  • Moray
  • Aberdeen

Laura is originally from Glasgow but has lived in Argyll, the Highlands and is now settled in the Moray Coast area with her partner who is a veteran. Laura has been working as a Housing Officer for over eleven years supporting tenants and applicants in securing and sustaining housing in the Moray and Aberdeenshire areas for a Housing Association. Prior to being a Housing Officer Laura worked as a support worker, supporting adults with learning disabilities in the local community and adults with drug and alcohol dependency issues. Laura enjoys travelling, reading and cinema.

Kami Provan

Region 2: East of Scotland

  • Perth & Kinross
  • Dundee & Angus
  • Fife
  • Edinburgh & Lothians

Kami lives in Fife and initially started his career in Sports Coaching taking sessions in socially excluded areas for all ages and thereafter moved on to supporting mainstream homeless with a housing association and then with a local authority Housing Department dealing with all the difficult issues involved in these circumstances. With experience of supporting and managing high risk offenders Kami is adept to the challenges that working with this client group presents and has laterally worked in residential care setting to support young people to leave the care environment with enough skills and knowledge to sustain their own tenancy. Kami enjoys live music and runs a music website, reviewing music, live gigs and interviewing bands regularly from around the world.

Fiona Deacon

Region 3: South West Scotland & Borders

  • Renfrewshire & Inverclyde
  • Dunbartonshire
  • Ayrshire
  • Argyle & Bute
  • Dumfries & Galloway
  • Scottish Borders

Fiona served for 18 ½ years in the Royal Military Police leaving in November 2006. Fiona has been operating in the role of Criminal Justice Officer for 6.5 years in the Scottish Borders carrying out numerous and varied tasks within the Criminal Justice System. Fiona has been involved with Poppyscotland as a Volunteer Area Organizer for a number of years. Fiona is married to David and has two of a family, Callum 21 and Rhian 14.

Des Gale

Region 4: Central Scotland

  • Forth Valley
  • Lanarkshire
  • Glasgow

Des served in the army for 22 years (10 years with the Army Welfare Service), and for 15 years worked in a welfare capacity for the Scottish Police Service, Social Services, and a couple of third sector organisations. Originally from Wiltshire, Des now lives in Perthshire and has 2 adult children and a 3-year-old granddaughter. Des enjoys walking, cycling, the cinema and theatre, and the taste of very nice wine, especially New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Independent Living Adviser

Poppyscotland’s Independent Living Advisers provide advice, support and advocacy for members of the Armed Forces community who are living with, or caring for, someone living with long term illness, continuing care or disabilities. The Advisers help them to access statutory support services, where appropriate and develop and manage Individual Support Plans. They also act as point of contact for clients whilst working in collaboration with partner organisations to draw on inputs from a wide network of professionals, agencies and volunteers.

Sue McKay

Region 1

  • Shetland
  • Orkney
  • Highland
  • Western Isles
  • Moray
  • Aberdeen
  • Perth & Kinross
  • Dundee & Angus
  • Fife
  • Edinburgh & Lothians

Sue is married with 5 children, all of whom have now left home, and now lives in Auchtermuchty in Fife having recently moved to Scotland from Northamptonshire England. Sue has 3 dogs and spends a lot of spare time walking them in the beautiful countryside around her home. Sue started her career in Social Services as a social worker for adults with disabilities and for the last 15 years has worked for housing associations, assisting vulnerable residents improve their life choices. Whether that be by maximising income through benefits, helping them into training or making their home suitable to their needs through aids or adaptations.

Mary Spence

Region 2

  • Renfrewshire & Inverclyde
  • Dunbartonshire
  • Ayrshire
  • Argyle & Bute
  • Dumfries & Galloway
  • Scottish Borders
  • Renfrewshire & Inverclyde
  • Forth Valley
  • Lanarkshire
  • Glasgow

Mary has many years experience working in the welfare and mental health arenas and has spent more than 20 years delivering holistic welfare support across the West of Scotland to Veterans, their dependants and to those bereaved due to service. Working in partnership with many organisations and charities who provide such wonderful support to Armed Forces community and so the connection to Poppyscotland goes back a few years. Mary enjoys travel and has visited many beautiful and exciting destinations, enjoys swimming (especially in hot locations) and is an enthusiastic ( if not particularly skilled) cook and still developing skills as a wine taster. The proud mother of three wonderful girls, Mary enjoys the extended family that this brings also.

For more information on Poppyscotland, please visit the website here.