A huge congratulations and thank you to the two finalists in our Unforgotten Forces volunteer award. The winner, Thomas Saveall, and runner-up, Graham Ealey, make a huge difference to the lives of older veterans in their communities through their volunteer work at their local Citizens Advice Bureaux. Both veterans themselves, they work closely with Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) staff in Motherwell and Nairn to provide support to veterans aged 65 and over through the Unforgotten Forces project.
‘Without Thomas quite simply our bureau would not have been able to support as many Veterans over the years.’
Thomas is a driver and home visit volunteer in Motherwell & Wishaw, now in his 8th year with the bureau. As well as acting as chauffeur to the Unforgotten Forces Adviser, driving her ‘faithfully and reliably’ to home visits across Lanarkshire, he accompanies her on home visits, has represented the bureau at more than 40 veterans’ events, has supported over 300 home visits, and has delivered food parcels to 15 people outwith working hours in times of crisis. On top of that, the local adviser described how his ‘personality and humour’ helped them deal with some challenging situations. His story also featured in the local newspaper.
‘Graham’s commitment to the work of the bureau, desire to help clients and in particular to older veterans in the armed forces community, is second to none.’
Graham is a volunteer adviser in Nairn and has supported the bureau for almost 3 years. He provides face-to-face advice for veterans and their families, particularly around energy issues, and colleagues praise his ‘flexibility and commitment’, highlighting that he will see a job through to the end regardless of how late he has to stay. Graham often undertakes additional training at home too. An early advocate of the Unforgotten Forces partnership, Graham uses his fantastic knowledge to put older veterans in touch with other partners who can help them such as Action on Hearing Loss and Poppyscotland. He is also kept busy with events and home visits, where clients describe how his military background means he ‘talks the same language’ as them and ‘understands what they have experienced’.