Leeds runner mugged at knifepoint during epic
1200 mile challenge for Veterans
We are very disappointed to learn that Phil Hammond was mugged at knife point last night as he ran through Burton-on-Trent. The attacker made off with £40 in cash.
Phil was thankfully unharmed and spent the night in safety with the family of one of our volunteers who have kindly supported him over the past 24 hours. The incident has been reported to the police.
Phil, who works for the NHS as a Porter Technician within a medical education team, was shaken after the incident but is undeterred in his efforts to raise money to help others and is more determined than ever to complete his amazing 1200 run from Leeds to Land's End, to Carlisle and home to Leeds again.
Phil's fundraising page has several links where you will be able to track his progress. If you are close to his route, please keep an eye out for him and give him a cheer on his way - it will lift his spirits no end!
Good luck, Phil! We look forward to meeting up with you along the route very soon!
The Veterans Charity announces partnership with Polaris Medical Services Ltd
To assist Veterans with finding not only gainful and fulfilling employment opportunities but employment opportunities with an outstanding employer, we have formed a partnership with Polaris Medical Services.
Polaris is Veteran-owned and already employs many ex-forces personnel amongst it's team. Recognising the superb attributes that many Veterans possess in abundance, Polaris are keen to employ more Veterans and are also keen to continue their support for The Veterans Charity.
We are delighted to be able to share the first batch of vacancies which can be found on our dedicated Polaris Partnership page, where you will also be able to find details on how to apply for the roles or to contact Polaris for further information.
Polaris Medical Services Ltd will be making regular donations to The Veterans Charity as part of our partnership and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing and generous support, not only for us but also for Veterans!
252 Signal Squadron aim to Conquer Britain for The Veterans Charity
11 personnel from 252 Signal Squadron, 22 Signals Regiment have begun an epic challenge to cover 1083 mile in less than a month to raise vital funds for The Veterans Charity.
'Exercise Conquer Britain has seen the team running, tabbing, hiking, cycling and swimming the miles to raise funds for The Veterans Charity. They have even climbed Pen Y Fan and hosted a Toastie Takeaway Stall!
The team have so far raised almost £500 and hope to double that by the end of this week.
You can give the team your support at www.justgiving.com/exerciseconquer
The Veterans Charity joins COBSEO - The Confederation of Service Charities
We are very proud to announce that The Veterans Charity has been accepted as a full member of COBSEO - The Confederation of Service Charities.
The Confederation represents the whole Serving and Veterans Community – some 6 million people and their dependants. Membership of Cobseo is open to Charities who promote and further the welfare and general interests of the Armed Forces Community, subject to fulfilling membership criteria.
Our CEO, Danny Greeno, said "We are delighted with this news as we regard membership of COBSEO a benchmark which highlights The Veterans Charity's dedication to working with other organisations within the Armed Forces sector as well as underlining our commitment to operating at the highest standards. Our team has worked hard to develop our processes and our reputation for delivering outstanding support to Veterans and their families and we look forward to working with the Confederation and other members on delivering vital support to those in need."
Cobseo, as the Confederation of Service Charities, provides a single point of contact for interaction with Government, including local government and the Devolved Administrations; with the Royal Household; with the Private Sector; and, of course, with other members of the Armed Forces Community. This allows Cobseo Members to interact with all interested parties and especially to cooperate and collaborate with others in order to provide the best possible level of support to beneficiaries.
Leading air-conditioning specialist confirms support
for The Veterans Charity
Leading Air Conditioning specialists, JSA Service, confirms continued commitment to the Armed Forces Community with support for The Veterans Charity
Leading commercial air conditioning firm, JSA Service, have continued their commitment to the Armed Forces Community by announcing their support for The Veterans Charity.
The Sunbury-on-Thames-based company, which has been delivering first class air conditioning and chiller services for more than 45 years, have committed to supporting the charity and will be raising funds and awareness with staff getting involved in a variety of initiatives.
JSA Service were a key sponsor of ‘Run To Pegasus’ which the charity hosted as part of the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. JSA Service Director, Allan Wilkinson even took part in the event and run 75 miles from Dorset to Normandy and raised in excess of £2000 for the charity.
Allan says “I’ve been raised by a family of military enthusiasts who have been in everything from the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, Paras and Marines, and like most, have ancestry who fought and died fighting for our freedom.
That’s why JSA Service have continued to show support to The Veterans Charity, to help those battling hardship and distress. We are committed to the Armed Forces Community whether that be directly through The Veterans Charity or employing Veterans in the workplace.
I am very proud of those who are serving or have served for Queen and Country, so much we owe to so few.”
Danny Greeno, CEO of The Veterans Charity said, “JSA Service have been terrific supporters of The Veterans Charity since getting involved with the Run To Pegasus. To have their continued support is a matter of huge pride to us and their efforts will enable us to continue to meet the needs of Veterans and their families who face hardship.”
The team at JSA Service are already planning ways in which they can support the charity and hope to raise as much as they can through a variety of events and fun initiatives.
The Veterans Charity turns 13!
We are celebrating our 13th birthday today!
We became a registered charity on 11th March 2008.
We are very proud of our achievements over the past 13 years which include:
On 6th June 2009, we unveiled our memorial to the heroes who spearheaded the D-Day Invasion. It is visited by more than 100,000 every year at the Memorial Pegasus Museum in Normandy.
In 2010, we created ‘The Laughing Soldier’, a joke book for the British Armed Forces which sold thousands of copies. We sent 1000 free copies to troops serving in Afghanistan.
Also in 2010, we hosted ‘The Forces March’ for the first time; a recreation of a 135 mile WW2 training march from Ilfracombe to Bulford. The Forces March will take place for the tenth time, in 2022!
We have created several special initiatives to support Veterans and their families including Black Dog Walking Club, Veterans Month and our fabulous Christmas Support Packages which have literally delivered Christmas for hundreds of families over the past 5 years.
We have served an estimated 6000 free brews/wets to Veterans and Service Personnel from our trailer/stand at events all over the UK and in Normandy.
Since we began delivering support directly to Veterans in 2011, we have supported more than 3500 Veterans and their families with vital and urgently-needed provisions including food shopping, clothing and footwear, household and homeware, utilities support, smartphones and tablets and emergency accommodation.
Since 2011, we have received in excess of 2000 referrals from other organisations and charities and have referred or signposted hundreds of our beneficiaries to others for ongoing, specialist support for issues such as mental health, legal and housing advice or debt support.
We hope to be here for many more years and for thousands more Veterans during their time of need!
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us and enabled us to achieve everything we have, including our wonderful volunteers, donors and supporters!
There when no one else was
On 31st January, our CEO received an early morning call from a Veteran we have known for a few years. He called in distress to say he had been rushed into hospital and had undergone emergency surgery on the arteries in his legs. He had been in constant pain for months and eventually was almost unable to walk.
Due to the urgency of his hospital admission, he did not have anything with him and asked if we could provide some essential for him. So, we purchased the items he needed and drove them to the hospital, approximately 50 miles away.
We were pleased to be told that his condition was stable and that the operation had been a relative success but there was a very real possibility that he may need to have toes amputated.
On 16th February, we received a call from him to say that he had been informed that his wife had been found unconscious at home and had been taken into hospital and was on life support. He was awaiting an update on her condition but was understandably distressed. Heartbreakingly, he called again 20 minutes later to say that his wife had passed away.
It soon became apparent that he was going to really struggle to manage funeral arrangements and cope with his own health challenges and asked if we would act on his behalf to liaise with the various agencies, hospital staff and funeral director.
He was subsequently moved to another hospital, approximately 20 miles closer to his home and began physiotherapy to improve his circulation and mobility. As part of the hospitals plans to prepare him for discharge, an Occupational Therapy team visited his home to assess suitability and to see what would be required in order for him to return home and to live safely. We received a call the next morning from a member expressed concern about the state of his home and stated it was far from fit for him to return. Sadly, it seems that poor physical and mental health had got the better of he and his wife over recent years and that their home had fallen into a very poor state. They did not have a washing machine and had not been able to get to the launderette for some considerable time so, their washing pile had become insurmountable. Everything had become too much for them but, like so many Veterans, he is a very proud man but also stubborn and does not like to ask for help.
We needed to assess his home for ourselves and to see what we could do to help. We were shocked at how bad things were in the property and deeply saddened to see how they had been living for many months.
Initially, the hospital informed us that they were aiming to have him well enough to be discharged on Friday 5th March. That left us with just 4 days to get everything done however, we got a call from the Veteran on Monday 1st March to say that he had been told he was being discharged the next day. We contacted the hospital and reinforced the fact that his property, by their definition, was far from ready for him to return to and that more time was needed as sending him to the home as it was would have been extremely hazardous and would put him at risk. A decision was later made by the hospital to postpone discharge... until Wednesday 3rd!
It was clear that something had to be done very quickly so we contact a local cleaning company that we had already discussed the matter with and asked if they could send a team there within 24 hours. Thankfully, they could so, on Tuesday 2nd, our CEO joined two of their team at the property and we got to work on cleaning the place up. a huge amount of work was done on Tuesday and we would like to thank The Cleaning Fairy & Co for responding so quickly and for their excellent efforts to help make the property considerably better. Our CEO continued the clean up on Wednesday and arranged for the cooker and armchairs to be disposed of as they were far beyond their serviceable life. We replaced his microwave, air fryer and slow cooker which were in a terrible state and also his crockery and cutlery as well as some fresh bedding, duvet and pillows.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Veteran returned home by patient transport to a clean, safe and practical home. We have since purchased a suitable armchair for him which he can get in and out of much easier and can enjoy some comfort.
We are working with him to make the funeral arrangements for his wife and to ensure he has the best chance of moving on with a comfortable and independent life that he deserves.
As we have experienced such a significant drop in income due to the pandemic, we put an appeal together on Facebook for donations to help us meet the needs of this Veteran and we would like to say a huge thank you to those who kindly donated and helped us to make such a difference.
On his return home, the Veteran stated how grateful he was for all the work put in and for the support we have given him during his 5 weeks in hospital as well as the support moving forwards. He was keen for us to tell this story to encourage others who may be struggling to reach out.
If you are struggling to keep on top of things and you feel that your mental or physical health is holding you back, please reach out for help!
Visit our Mental Health support page for contact details.
The Forces March 2021
It is with a very heavy heart that we are announcing that The Forces March 2021 will not take place and we have taken the decision to postpone until 2022. All entries will remain secured and will rollover to next year’s event.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, it is clear that the event cannot go ahead safely as originally planned for May. Our team have assessed alternative dates for later in the year but, as many other event organisers are realising, we would not be able to do so without being certain that we would not have to postpone yet again.
The safety of our participants, volunteers and residents in the locations we visit along the route is always our top priority and sadly, whilst the vaccine rollout will undoubtedly help in the battle to control the virus, we also have to consider the impacts that the virus is having on the availability of essential kit, personnel and support services that we rely on to put on The Forces March.
This has been a heart-breaking decision to have to make as The Veterans Charity is in need of vital funds more than ever following the loss of several key events and the prolonged restrictions on public fundraising which we rely on for the bulk of our income. Demand for our rapid support is higher than ever with nearly 850 cases supported in 2020 and well in excess of 100 already this year.
2020 - A year to remember
Sadly, 2020 will be a year remembered for a very long time. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on most people around the globe, resulting in huge pressures on health services, businesses, education and economies.
We have seen our income drop by almost 25% whilst demand for our rapid and vital support has increased by nearly 75%.
Despite the huge challenges however, we are very proud that we have been able to deliver urgent and essential support to 839 cases, delivering assistance to more than 2500 people. We received more than 600 referrals from other charities and organisations and over 200 Veterans reached out to us for support directly.
For a small charity who's income was just over £200,000 in the year, this is an enormous achievement and we would like to thanks our team of amazing volunteers and those who supported us during such a challenging year, especially the organisations who chose to provide us with vital grants to enable us to continue delivering support.
Happy 100th Birthday, Ken!
On Sunday 8th November, following a request from a neighbour, we made a special visit to Ken Morgan, a Royal Navy Veteran who was celebrating his 100th birthday that day!
Due to the pandemic, he was unable to make either his birthday or Remembrance Sunday in his usual way so we arranged a few surprises to try and make his day as special as possible.
Our CEO paid a brief, socially-distanced visit to him, accompanied by two serving RN personnel who travelled from Plymouth to join with the birthday greetings...
We reached out to Royal Navy contacts who, despite a very busy weekend ahead, rallied to our call and recorded and sent some fabulous video messages to Ken.
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who assisted in helping us to make Ken's day a little more special. As you can see from the video below, he was delighted with his surprises and was touched that the Royal Navy were able to be there, albeit from a distance, for his 100th birthday.
Despite being frantically busy ourselves with preparations for our #PoppiesToPaddington event and despite short notice, we absolutely had to put something together for Ken.