Erskine Case Study
How the Charity helps veterans
Erskine Homes care for men and women with a broad range of complex care needs, for example, those living with a physical disability as a result of amputation of limb(s) and those with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s Disease. They provide on-site services in all of their homes including physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, recreational and social activities, dentistry, podiatry, hairdressing and more.
In addition to their services they also provide residential accommodation for veterans and their families following the recent completion of a four-year building project to construct 44 new properties on the Erskine Estate in Bishopston. These offer modern accommodation commensurate with the standards and principles of Housing for Varying Needs and takes into account the diversity of their residents (youngest resident is 27 and the oldest resident is 85).
Their main charitable mission remains to enable members of the ex-Service community to access the best care and support to achieve maximum quality of life.
Bob Gilfillan, Erskine resident
One of the Royal Navy veterans currently living at the Erskine Home is Robert Gilfillan, better known as Bob. After telling a “wee fib” about his age and enlisting in the Royal Navy four months before his 18th birthday, Bob’s career as a submariner started in 1944 and his first mission on board HMS Sceptre was one that he will never forget:
“We left Holy Loch to start our six weeks at sea and after only a few days sighted a convoy heading to Norway with vital supplies for German troops. We fired our torpedoes and later found we got three ships. We were chased for days by destroyers who fired depth charges, trying to sink us. It was relentless and quite terrifying – the skull shattering noise, the smell of diesel and salt water leaking in, the explosions throwing us all around like rag dolls. I’ll not forget any of that. I know I’m lucky to have made it through when so many others paid with their lives, defending our country.”
As Bob grew older and less mobile, he was finding it increasingly difficult to cope living at home. He ultimately made the decision that the time was right to live in a supported environment and he moved to the Erskine Home in January 2013. He celebrated his 90th birthday in style last year with his fellow Erskine residents and is glad that he made the choice to enjoy the later stages of his life at Erskine:
“I go to physiotherapy every day and it’s made a huge difference to my independence – with determination and the support of the nurses and staff at Erskine, I’m doing much better and I’m loving life,” he says.back
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