Helping Homeless Veterans UK was formed on the 15th of September 2019 using the extensive experience that Mr David Wood BCAv had built up over a period of nearly 5years of volunteering with veterans homeless charities.
David brought with him two fellow Directors in Mr Neil Hague and Lord Stephen of Westbury who have a range of knowledge between them having been trustees for a veterans homeless charity in the past.
The final addition to the organisation was a team of dedicated volunteers who are all DBS Checked and who had worked alongside the Directors previously and had a range of skills that was vital for the organisation to work. Without these volunteers who have developed into a highly skilled team then Helping Homeless Veterans UK would not exist and the Directors wish to thank all of them that have played such a vital part in the work that we carry out in The Veterans Community.
Helping Homeless Veterans also have five Ambasssadors who are Samantha Shapley, Matt Shapley, Soldiers of Swing and Lady Anna of Westbury and they have also played a vital role in raising awareness of the work that we carry out to the wider population.
From the date of our formation we have been extremely fortunate to of been supported by some amazing companies and organsiations who can be found listed on our website and a special mention must go out to the team at Hot Radio and Forest FM who have helped us raise awareness of our Countries Homeless Veterans to a wider audience. A special mention as well must go to our local newspaper the Bournemouth and Dorset Echo who have also run many stories about ourselves as well as helped to promote our fundraising events.
We would also like to thank The Right Hon Tobias Ellwood MP who has also been a strong supporter of the work that we carry out as well as BCP Council who we are proud to be part of the Homeless Strategy Team covering Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. We strongly believe that working together as a team can only be good for the veterans that we help and assist
When we first set up our organisation we forecast and expected to help around 20 Homeless Veterans in our first year. However what we never forecast was The Covid-19 Crisis that has swept the world and the UK.
From day one of launching Helping Homeless Veterans UK we have hit the ground running and we are extremely proud to announce that to date, we have helped and assisted 110 Veterans from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines,The Royal Airforce and the British Army. This is 110 Veterans who reached out to us for help because they did not have a place to call home. These 110 Veterans now have a place they can call home.
Helping Homeless Veterans UK have case files for each and everyone of these Veterans and because of the sheer numbers we have dealt with this year we had to bring forward the launch of our Welfare Team which was set up to provide all the necessary help and advice that our Veterans would need. This was set up by one of our volunteers Frederick Downes who has extensive qualifications in this area including Mental Health, First Aid as well as Safeguarding. Together with other volunteers we now have a separate department within our organisation that contacts the Veterans we have helped on a regular basis and can provide any support that is required to make the Veterans life more comfortable.
Unfortunatly due to The Covid-19 Pandemic we have struggled financially due to the fact that our dedicated team of volunteers have been unable to carry out much fundraising that we had organised especially for the summer months.
However we have been extremely fortunate to have supporters throughout the country that have donated their hard earned money to our cause to keep us going. We have also been fortunate to receive financial grants from The Talbot Village Trust Fund, Churchill Retirement Homes, Tescos and Selco.
Without this support we would simply not exist and to assist so many Veterans on such a limited budget is testimony to the professionalism and knowledge of everyone involved at Helping Homeless Veterans UK.
Helping Homeless Veterans UK has worked very closely with a large number of Local Authorities throughout the country in our first year of operation and it has been a privilege to build up our list of contacts for future reference and to build solid relationships with various people in a position of trust.
However we have still found issues in areas of the country where Local Authorities are not conforming to legislation and this has recently been addressed with The Veterans Affairs Office at the MOD. We are hoping to have open dialogue with the Ministers in charge of this department in the near future.
We have recently been donated our own Transit Van that we can use for when we collect or deliver furniture to our Veterans that we House which will cut down the costs associated with hiring vehicles or having to purchase brand new furniture to be delivered by companies that we order from. The Van will become a huge asset to ourselves and our thanks must go to McCarthy Properties of Reading for this extremely generous asset.
We are raising funds with Aviva as we have also taken on the lease for a large shipping container where we can store furniture and white goods that are in excellent condition and have been kindly donated by the general public. With the cost of insuring the Van as well as hiring the Container, this has used up vital funding that we already had and due to the sheer volume of Veterans needing our help we hope we can raise enough money to pay this off for one year.
Our future is looking very good and we should recieve Charity Status very soon and we also have a build project happening this year where we are converting a very large property into six individual flatlets for Homeless Veterans after we have just recieved planning permission so please support us in everything we are doing as volunteers where nobody takes a wage and all donations go to helping our Countries Homeless Veterans
UPDATED 22ND FEBRUARY
We are proud to announce that after an online meeting on Friday 19th of February with Senior Councillors and Planning Services at BCP Council we have been given the go a