As in previous years, our aim was to provide swift and practical support to our Armed Forces community. I am delighted to say that we achieved this in no small measure.
Our work has progressed against a background of an almost full withdrawal of UK Armed Forces personnel from Afghanistan in 2014. As a consequence, we recognise that veterans’ issues may begin to receive less public attention than in recent years. We have therefore, been striving to work harder and more effectively to keep our cause to the forefront of people’s minds, to enhance and deliver our life-changing services and to raise more money all year round.
Overall, our financial results were very positive, with voluntary income amounting to £3.68 million, an increase of 7.4% on the year before.
Our biggest fundraising event, the Scottish Poppy Appeal, raised a record £2.85 million in 2014, a 7% increase on the preceding year’s result. I must stress how extremely grateful I am to the Scottish public, who once again sent a clear message of support to our Armed Forces community.
We have been working steadily to do more and better for our beneficiaries. In 2014/15 our Inverness welfare centre celebrated its second year of operation, our Armed Services Advice Project collaboration with Citizens Advice Scotland marked its fifth, highly successful year and our range of services, including our expanded employment offering, were further developed to bring greater support to those who have served, those still serving and their families.
Key to this has been the work undertaken by our staff and, in particular, our volunteers, prominent among them many branches and members of Legion Scotland. Each and every one of our volunteers works with such dedication; without them, Poppyscotland simply could not do what it does. We are indebted to them for their energy, enthusiasm and industry on our behalf.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you and farewell to Poppyscotland’s supporters and volunteers. I retire in March 2016, after nearly seven years at the helm of Poppyscotland. I have enjoyed my time here immensely. I have felt privileged to work with and to support such remarkable people. I have repeatedly been struck by the generosity and enthusiasm of our supporters, who share our aims of providing a better future for our beneficiaries and who are determined that they should not be disadvantaged by their service. I offer you all my profound and most sincere thanks.