A former Royal Marine has said National Lottery funding is “vital” to a veterans centre which helped “save lives”.
Adam Edwards was medically discharged from the 45 Commando based in Arbroath, Angus, after being diagnosed with complex post-traumatic stress disorder having been shot by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Mr Edwards, who saw his friend killed on the day he was wounded, said when he arrived at the Coming Home Centre in Govan, Glasgow he “didn’t know what to do with (his) life”.
The 39-year-old, who lives in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, credited the centre, where he now works, with saving his life and that of other veterans.
He said veterans have told him that without the centre keeping them engaged through social activities, outings and companionship they “would have died because of the problems in (their) lives”.
He said this could also apply to him, adding: “After 11 years in the Royal Marines that’s your identity. It’s just everything.
“It’s more than just a job, it’s your social life, it’s your mission and when something happens to you as it did with me that changes the way you see the world and your place in the world.
“You’re sat there like ‘what do I do now?’ It is very tough.”
The centre has 455 veterans from across Scotland on its books and helps up to 25 a day – providing free tea, coffee and a hot meal as well as a safe place to chat with other people who have been in the services.
It also organises social activities and outings and offers support with issues such as mental and physical health, finances, housing and employment.
The National Lottery has given £90,000 over three years to the centre and Mr Edwards said this is “vital” for its continuing operation.
He said: “That’s around 60% to 70% of our total funding in terms of allowing us to run and operate the centre.
“It also allows us to attract other funding. It’s huge in so many ways.”
He added: “It’s not just the money, it’s the support that comes with it.”
The National Lottery has raised more than £339 million and funded more than 28,700 projects supporting veterans across the UK in the past 25 years.