To mark the sterling work of volunteers and staff of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity in Scotland, the Regional Recognition Award (RRA) has been established and the first recipients named.
The aim of the RRA is to formally acknowledge extra endeavour, and the award takes the form of a specially commissioned SSAFA Scotland Region engraved plaque. It will be announced quarterly in February, May, August, and November.
Among those in the first cohort is Stephen Harman, Branch Treasurer of the Dumfriesshire & Stewartry Branch of SSAFA.
Stephen, 40, is a partner at Carson & Trotter, a firm of chartered accountants based predominantly in Dumfries & Galloway. He joined his local SSAFA branch in 2014, later becoming the Treasurer of SSAFA’s Scottish Resources Committee.
On leaving school, he joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), but after a couple of years’ service was medically discharged.
Stephen takes up his story, saying: “Not knowing what I would do, I returned to college and then university before becoming a Chartered Accountant with ICAS [The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland], and in a roundabout way, this is how I became connected with SSAFA.
“The previous branch treasurer had been a partner of the accountancy practice I’m with. He approached the firm to see if anyone would be interested in taking it on and with my history – and with my brother-in-law in the Household Cavalry – I thought that this was something I should put my skills towards and so jumped at the chance.”
He continues: “Being given this award means a lot in that it is recognition that my contribution to SSAFA, a charity that has helped to improve so many lives, has been of use, however much behind the scenes.”
Graham Meacher, SSAFA’s Scotland Regional Chair, said: “This new Regional Recognition Award acknowledges those who have added significant value specifically to the Scottish Region, their branches, SSAFA in general, and most importantly to the clients that they have helped directly or indirectly.
“The work they carry out and subsequent improvement to lives of veterans, serving personnel, and their families is immeasurable, life changing, and in some cases life saving.
“Generally managing large caseloads, working under pressure, and assisting – with compassion and humour – individuals often experiencing in the most trying of circumstances, the recipients of the Regional Recognition Award embody all that is good about SSAFA.”
For more information – including how to volunteer, fundraise, or access support – visit ssafa.org.uk/scotland.