The new Scottish Veterans Commissioner has been announced as Lieutenant Commander (retired) Susie Hamilton.
Born and educated in Edinburgh, Susie served in the WRNS and the Royal Navy as an officer in the Marine Engineering Branch. She undertook a number of shore and sea appointments which included operational service in the Adriatic and the Gulf. On retiring from the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant Commander she worked for a short period in industry, followed by volunteering work with Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR). She then joined the senior management team of SVR as the Head of External Relations, responsible for Fundraising, Marketing and Communications. In her 14 successful years at SVR, Susie has met with a great many veterans and gained an extensive understanding of the range of issues that veterans and their families can encounter. She has worked with organisations and individuals across Scotland who share her commitment in championing and supporting those who have served in the Armed Forces.
Susie will take up post as Scottish Veterans Commissioner in August 2022. Commenting on her appointment, she said:
“I’m delighted to be appointed as the new Scottish Veterans Commissioner.
“I look forward to building on the work of the previous Commissioners to continue improving support, opportunities and outcomes for Scotland’s veterans community. Through serving in the Royal Navy and working with veterans in the third sector, I know how much veterans and their families have to offer and I will be focused on highlighting the remarkable contribution they make to society.”
The announcement was made as it was also revealed that a total of 25 projects will share £500,000 from the Scottish Veterans Fund this year, more than double the amount awarded last year as the Scottish Government continues to build on its commitment to support the veterans and Armed Forces community.
Veterans Secretary Keith Brown said:
“Scotland has a long and proud military tradition. There are some fantastic organisations supporting our veterans in Scotland and this funding will help them continue their good work. With the extra money we are able to support a wider range of projects including some brilliant local initiatives.
“We are committed to investing in our veterans and helping them overcome disadvantage experienced as a result of service, as well as aiding projects that help veterans and their families successfully transition to civilian life.
“I’m also pleased to announce Ms Hamilton as the new Veterans Commissioner, as a veteran of the Royal Navy and with extensive experience working in the third sector helping homeless former military personnel, she is already a great champion for our veterans.
“Scotland has had a Veterans Commissioner since 2014, with a primary role to improve outcomes for veterans in Scotland, by engaging and listening to the experience of former members of the Armed forces.
“The first-hand experience Ms Hamilton will bring to the role is going to ensure our veterans continue to get the best support and representation possible.”
This year, the Scottish Veterans Fund saw 11 projects continue to receive funding awarded on a multi-year basis in previous years, with the remaining fund shared between 14 new projects. These include employment support from Walking with the Wounded and outdoor counselling from the Venture Trust. Support for small local projects includes football matches for veterans at Elgin City FC and funding for FirstLight trust to establish a new café hub for veterans and their families in Falkirk.