SAS Veteran Colin Maclachlan; Erskine’s Chief Executive Ian Cumming and Activity Centre Manager Debs Dickson at the celebrations.
By Judith Haw
SAS Veteran Colin Maclachlan joined Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre Veterans online on Friday as they celebrated the centre’s third birthday.
Colin, who opened the Bishopton Centre in 2018, was also joined on the ‘trip down memory lane’ fun filled zoom call by Erskine’s Chief Executive Ian Cumming.
Colin said: “Since officially opening the Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre back in March 2018, I’ve been amazed by the value it has provided to Veterans and all those that have participated in the wide range of services it has going on.
Never has that been more critical than the past year, when most practical things have turned virtual. The zoom chats have been both fascinating and entertaining and provided much needed social time for everyone involved. I really enjoyed seeing some familiar and well missed faces on our three year anniversary zoom call.”
When the Centre opened, it was with the aim of enhancing the quality of life and well-being of Veterans in the community, offering members the opportunity to socialise together, learn and develop new skills and enjoy a variety of activities in addition to accessing support services. Never has this been more important than throughout the pandemic with feelings of loneliness and isolation in the community at an all-time high.
ERMAC’s services have been online since March 2020 and have been credited by members as being both a “godsend” and “lifeline” – proving vital for friendship, support and much needed laughter. Over 260 activity sessions have taken place over 42 weeks. Activities include art, stand-up-comedy, music, photography, afternoon teas and mindfulness. New sessions starting this month, suggested by members, include learning Italian, pottery and Tai Chi. 80% of the zoom users are over 65 while 50% of attendees live alone.
Activity Centre Manager Debs Dickson said: “While the past year has been incredibly tough, I truly feel it has only strengthened our community bond as we have all pulled together to maintain what we have created since 2018. Zoom, Workplace, one to one calls and the ever developing newsletter, have all provided us with new sources of communication and for a civilian like me, continues to remind me of servicemen and women’s ability to adapt and adjust whilst making the best out of any situation thrown their way.”
More information about the centre can be found here: Reid Macewen Activities Centre – Erskine. You can support Erskine here: https://www.erskine.org.uk/support-our-work/donate/