Welfare Support Service

Our Welfare Support Service provides one-to-one support to veterans, and their families, on a local level across the whole of Scotland.

The service is delivered by four Welfare Support Officers and two Independent Living Advisers who work with individuals and their families to provide quick, efficient and professional services, addressing the complex nature of needs experienced within the Armed Forces community. 

Covid-19 Related Changes

The Welfare Support Service is operating a telephone appointment service at present to ensure that we are operating within Government guidelines.

Referrals can be sent via e-mail to GetHelp@poppyscotland.org.uk or 0131 550 1557

Meet our Welfare Support Officers and Independent Living Advisers

Laura Gavin, Welfare Support Officer - Highlands, Islands, Moray & Grampian

“Being in a position to offer welfare support to people who have served or are still serving gives me great pride.”

About Laura: Laura is originally from Glasgow but has lived in Argyll, the Highlands and is now settled in the Moray Coast area. She lives 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.

Contact Laura via email: l.gavin@poppyscotland.org.uk


Des Gale, Welfare Support Office - East Scotland

In the short time we have been operating, I have already seen that we can help individuals make positive changes.

About Des: 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 granddaughter. He enjoys walking, cycling, going to the cinema and theatre, and the taste of very nice wine, especially New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Contact Des via email: d.gale@poppyscotland.org.uk


Cameron Harris, Welfare Support Officer - Central Scotland

“I hope my knowledge and experience working as a mental health nurse in both the RAF and the NHS will help veterans in all the challenges they make.”

About Cameron: Cameron served in the Royal Air Force from 1985 until 1988 as a Mental Health Nurse, dealing with clients who were being diagnosed with PTSD and other psychiatric conditions. He moved on to the NHS as a mental health Nurse where he worked from 1988 until 2019. Cameron is also a SSAFA caseworker in Lanarkshire, a role which he has been doing since 2016.

Cameron’s experience is invaluable when it comes to his current post as he understands how to help clients with chaotic lifestyles. He is able to help them manage life whilst living with the social or mental health issues they face.

Contact Cameron via email: c.harris@poppyscotland.org.uk


Fiona Deacon, Welfare Support Officer - South West Scotland & Borders

“As an Armed Forces veteran myself, I feel very privileged to be part of this community-based, beneficiary-led service.”

About Fiona: Fiona served for 18.5 years in the Royal Military Police, leaving in November 2006. She then became a Criminal Justice Officer for 6.5 years in the Scottish Borders carrying out numerous and varied tasks within the Criminal Justice System. Before joining the Welfare Support Service, Fiona already had a connection with Poppyscotland as a Volunteer Area Organiser. Fiona is married to David and has two children, Callum and Rhian.

Contact Fiona via email: f.deacon@poppyscotland.org.uk


Sue McKay, Independent Living Adviser - North & East


“I hope that my knowledge and expertise will help beneficiaries in leading as independent a life as possible.”

About Sue: Sue is married with five 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 three dogs who she enjoys walking 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.

Contact Sue via email: s.mckay@poppyscotland.org.uk


Independent Living Adviser - South & West Scotland


Independent Living advice and support is available to members of the Armed Forces community living in South and West Scotland. Please get in touch for more information.

Contact us: Telephone 0131 550 1557 or email GetHelp@poppyscotland.org.uk


Need help now?

Call us at 0131 550 1557 or email gethelp@poppyscotland.org.uk
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