TWO Renfrewshire veterans have told of their delight at being able to finally return to an activity centre for the visually-impaired.

Sight Scotland’s hub in Hawkhead Road, Paisley, reopened its doors this summer after being forced to close at the start of the pandemic.

Royal Air Force veteran Ian McDonald, from Johnstone, said he had badly missed his weekly visit to the centre.

The 84-year-old, who has age-related macular degeneration, told The Gazette: “It’s great to get back after so long.

“The lockdowns went on and on and I will admit it was pretty depressing. You missed meeting everybody at the centre. It’s a bad day when you can’t have a laugh.

“The Hawkhead Centre is a marvellous place and it’s such an important service for veterans with sight loss. The thing I enjoy most about it is that everyone is so sociable and friendly.

“It makes a fantastic difference to me, instead of sitting in the house. Everyone is there to help you and the staff couldn’t be nicer.”

Army veteran John Kinnis, from Paisley, has glaucoma and is registered as severely sight impaired.

Living alone and unable to leave the house without a sighted guide, the 83-year-old was at home 24 hours a day throughout the pandemic and greatly missed the companionship he had found at the Hawkhead Centre.

He said: “I felt like it was the beginning of things getting better on my first day back.

“I’m very pleased to be able to get that companionship back and get out of the house again. That same atmosphere of friendship is still there.

“Sight loss has meant it has been more difficult to get out and meet people, even before the lockdowns started.”

To find out more about support for veterans with sight loss, call 0800 035 6409, email or visit