Jim has managed Sight Scotland Veterans’ Linburn Centre in Wilkieston, West Lothian since he joined the charity in December 2014.
A qualified remedial gymnast (physiotherapist) with over 30 years’ experience in social care services, Jim has previously worked for Capability Scotland and Leonard Cheshire Disability, covering a number of different roles including day services, community development and residential support.
In the last few years as the Linburn Centre’s manager, Jim has seen his team grow to meet the constantly changing needs of the veterans we support.
He said: “The provision of such a wide range of activities within the centre makes it such a unique setting to work in. It has been very encouraging to see the service grow in size in line with the wider organisation, allowing us to provide more opportunities to more visually impaired veterans throughout east and central Scotland and those who visit us from across the country.
“For me, every day provides the opportunity for a new high. Seeing veterans come into the service and telling me, ‘I can’t do that as I’m blind, you know,’ and then within six months they are doing things like flying in a glider or making garden furniture, and they have made new friends and are socialising with others – that takes some beating in anyone’s book.”
Jim has also had the opportunity to accompany groups of our members, including some of the World War Two veterans we support, on annual trips to battlefield sites in the UK and abroad. He has found this to be a privilege.
Jim said: “Spending this time with members who have experienced conflict provides a unique insight into what really happened, and this was especially the case when we visited the World War Two battlefields. Supporting one of our members to visit his best friend’s grave and supporting another to return to Pegasus Bridge is an experience I will never forget. To see the respect offered by the younger veterans and people of France to our World War Two veterans was very humbling.
“To be able to provide support to our veterans cannot be quantified.”