AN EX-military support group in Dumfries has received a generous donation — which will help fund the construction of a workshop for its members.
The Dumfries Veterans Garden, located in the grounds of the Crichton, is maintained by former service personnel who gain new skills and receive emotional support through the organisation.
It has been handed £1000 by paint company AkzoNobel, which selected the Garden as a recipient of its ‘True Colours’ community fund.
The money will now be used to construct a new roof on a workship which will in time be used by the veterans for future projects.
The group was selected by AkzoNobel’s Scotland west account manager for Dulux Decorator Centre, Colin Carlyle, who spent seven years in the Royal Navy and successfully applied to company’s £50,000 fund.
Colin first heard about the Veterans Garden when he was a volunteer caseworker for an armed forces charity.
He explained: “When I heard about the fund I immediately thought of the Veterans Garden.
“I’ve worked for a number of firms and there’s nothing else like this out there. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a store manager or a part-time van driver – they look at each application on a case by case basis and it’s fantastic.”
The Veterans Garden project is run by Mark Harper, who knows from first-hand experience how important support is for veterans.
Following 18 years of service in the Irish Guards, he has suffered the long-term, debilitating effects of PTSD which has prevented him from working.
Mark said: “Supporting service personnel and their families is so important. Whether you’re a veteran or Joe Bloggs on the street, trauma is something that can affect everyone.
“By working with outside agencies including the NHS, the local council and community groups we can provide therapy and services for those who need it most.”
“All the work replacing the roof was carried out by veterans. Our ambition is for the workshop to be a hub where service personnel can pick up new skills that will help them return to the workforce.”