Military charity continues to make Christmas a little brighter for veterans in Dunbartonshire

Remembrance Sunday has passed, the Poppy wreaths are already windswept, and the veterans of UK Armed Forces – so recently cheered and applauded – have seemingly disappeared from the collective consciousness.

But the veterans – as well as serving personnel and their families – are still here, still with memories, still with struggles they often keep inside, including the cost-of-living crisis that is affecting many people.

Those in the Armed Forces community are not immune to record inflation and high food and fuel prices, and though these rises bite all year round, it is worse at Christmas.

Volunteers from the Dunbartonshire branch of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity are again wanting to do their best to make Christmas a little less bleak for veterans, serving personnel, and their families – and sometimes it is simple things that make the most difference.

Take the poignant story of former Lucy*, late of the Women’s Royal Naval Service popularly known as the Wrens.


Lucy served in the Royal Navy until 1982 but has had a tough time of it over recent years. Since then, she he has experienced some physical challenges and also problems with her housing, all of which led her to become trapped in her own home.

She was helped by SSAFA Dunbartonshire last Christmas, after which its Branch Treasurer, Kenny, received a thank-you note from her. Nothing unusual in that, but Lucy’s was just a bit different; in fact, it was special and it made a significant impact upon everyone who read it.

Kenny takes up the story, saying:

SSAFA Dunbartonshire gave store gift cards to a number of our clients in December, in the hope that each would in some way improve the quality of Christmas for them. It’s safe to say they did.

Lucy wrote that the gift card meant she was able to buy a new pair of trainers to replace a battered old pair, adding ‘I was totally blown away by the gift and it has made such a difference to me.’

Lucy also wrote that she used the gift card to buy

“… a few tasty treats, and I splashed out on a magazine!

Go me! I haven’t had a new magazine for years.

Kenny said:

Being able to buy and enjoy a magazine – as Lucy was able to – seems almost trivial, but there’s often nothing bigger than the small things, the things many of us do and take for granted. It’s heart-melting stuff.

If we ever needed proof that what SSAFA Dunbartonshire does every year in giving out these gift cards is worth it, effective, and appreciated, then surely this has to be it.”

Donations to SSAFA, the UK’s oldest tri-Service charity, are needed all year round to allow its volunteers to give the help veterans, serving personnel, and their families need when, where, and how they need it.

For more information, including how to access support, donate, or volunteer, visit

*Not her real name.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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