Really happy to announce that Charlie Martell and Neil Marshall will be competing in the Devices to Westminster as part of Cockleshell Endeavour next year.
Really happy to announce that Charlie Martell and Neil Marshall will be competing in the Devices to Westminster as part of Cockleshell Endeavour next year.
A huge event being undertaken in aid of Veterans In Action next year.
Justin Rowe will be setting off running from York fire station on 30/05/2017 and will arrive at 59 Commando Sqn Reunion on 10/06/2017 a distance of approx 296 miles, overnight stops are confirmed at fire stations, campsites & b&b.
If anyone would like to take up a challenge for VIA then please get in touch and we will help all we can.
Last week Veterans In Action were overwhelmed to receive a donation of £20,000 towards our Made by Veterans project. Those who donated the funds wish to remain anonymous and the funds will be used to purchase items of machinery for the project that will allow the veterans to make many more items such as T Shirts, Hoodies, Bags for Life, Car Stickers, Cushion Covers, Umbrellas, Hi Vis vests, Glasswear Phone cases, Aprons, Caps, and much, much more.
We are purchasing two different types of printer the first being an OKI ES940WT A3 White Toner Printer For Use With Forever Transfer Paper and a Texjet Plus Advanced Direct To Garment (DTG) Printer
We will also be purchasing a professional heat press and vinyl film cutter
This project has been accelerated due to this fantastic donation in support of our veterans and we can thank those who made the donation enough for their kindness and support.
Veterans will be trained on each machine and items will be available to purchase in the near future once they are confortable using each machine. A new website will also be available soon for Made by Veterans and new ordering method to make things much easier.
Please be patient with us all will be launched soon.
Veterans In Action were honoured to be chosen as the designated charity by Julia Stevenson and Kev Severn for this years Ride of Respect which set off from Bowood House and followed a 46 mile route to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice from the recent wars. Veterans In Action would like to thank the RoR Team and all who took part.
The link is to a video of the start at Bowood House with a small message from VIA.
The Help create CHANGE with CHANGE collection pots are a porcelain pot in the shape of a soft drink can with a design that has been created by a disabled veteran and printed on the pot by veterans suffering from PTSD who are involved in VIA’s Made by Veterans Project.
We all at times have a pocket, wallet or purse full of CHANGE which none of us enjoy having so this new initiative from Veterans In Action gives you the ideal opportunity to make a difference with this CHANGE.
This is your chance to make a difference to veterans suffering from mental health issues due to their service.
All you have to do is ask for a Help create CHANGE with CHANGE collection pot through our social media sites or by email to email@example.com and VIA will send one to you at no cost to you and then all you have to do is fill it with CHANGE to help create CHANGE and once full transfer the contents to the VIA Bank using the details on the pot.
The Help create CHANGE with CHANGE collection pot is yours to keep. Put the collection pot in a prominent place so that it is not forgotten and then when you have CHANGE in your pocket or purse then empty it into the pot, it is that simple to create CHANGE.
VIA will be holding an Open Day at the VIA ALIVE Centre on the 07th of May 2016 to show the public and supporters of VIA the work we do and the development of the centre over the last few years.
It will also be the Opening of the new structure we had built by 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron and it is hoped that members from the Squadron will attend as well as from 26 Engineer Regiment who have made VIA their charity.
Invitations will be sent out over the next month but if you do not receive one you can still attend as the invitations are just to our contacts.
There will be drinks and snacks available during the day which will be made by veterans in our new kitchen and one of the VIA Supporters will be bringing his VW Camper which has been converted into a Cocktail Bar.
The plan is to have some small talks about our work but for people to generally mingle and talk to members of VIA and ask them about the work we do or indeed the help they have received.
As it is the first event of our season we will be carrying the Open Day into the evening for those that want to stay and have a few drinks and cocktails with us and get to know us better. In the evening we may have some music and a BBQ so come prepared to enjoy yourself and to have a great day.
In early 2013 VIA moved into its new centre which comprises of two buildings with the first being where we have first floor offices. The second building was an old farm building that needed a bit of tlc with an old stud wall structure inside which we soon ripped down.
Billy MacLeod approached a friend from the Royal Engineers called Grant Holley (Ssgt) who was stationed with 26 Engineer Regt at Perham Down and who was a Clerk of Works with the aim of asking him if plans could be drawn up to replace the old structure that had been ripped down.
Grant visited the centre in late 2013 to have a look at what we wanted and suggested that we put this to the Corps Of Royal Engineers to take the job on as a task in what we used to call Military Aid to the Civilian Community (MACC Task).
This idea then went off to the Corps but due to deployments and how busy they were they couldn’t do the task at that time. One of the stumbling blocks to getting the task done was the funds to carry out the task as although the Corps would carry out the task, VIA would have to fund it.
The first thing we did was clean the old building out to give us an empty canvas to work from and we then set about painting the building inside and outside giving it a fresh appearance and we operated this way right through until 2015.
During 2015 VIA set off on our largest challenge called Walk 4 PTSD walking 4,000 miles around the coastline of Britain. Shortly after our return in September Billy MacLeod was approached by a representative from 26 Engineer Regiment about the task as they were looking to do some pre-deployment training.
Again the only stumbling block was the funding for the task and Billy MacLeod asked if a revised plan could be put together that would include the funding for the basic structure which would include the block and timber work.
A revised costing list was sent to VIA with the costings of the building materials for just the basic structure at around £5,000. With this figure in mind VIA put out an online appeal through Facebook in the hope of raising this amount.
A meeting was then set up with Major Anna Scott, the OC of 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron who wanted her Squadron to take on the task. After a successful meeting with Major Scott and her Team she made a decision to take the task on putting great faith in VIA to access the funds.
The appeal for funds was done as a bit tongue in cheek with the name being VIA SOS – The Wee Build as some of the VIA TEAM and supporters had recently taken part on the DIY SOS – The Big Build where they helped renovate a street of houses in Manchester for veterans.
As said, we were hoping we could raise up to £5,000 on the online appeal but the support we received was overwhelming and funds came pouring to the tune of £23,000 in the lead up and during the task.
The Troop Commander Lt Matt Hankin and Troop Sgt Adam brown were running the task with their Troop from 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron and VIA were going to provide some trades and expertise from former Sappers who had either learned their trades in the Corps or after they left.
The Troop arrived on the 02nd of November and very quickly settled into the centre and with the VIA Team as in reality we had been exactly where they had been on different tasks around the world.
We invited our celebrity bricklayer and friend of the stars, Derek Shannon who is our Glasgow team Leader to come and help get things started with the blockwork and he took a week off work to take part. Del had recently been the bricklayer on the DIY SOS task again giving up 2 weeks work to take part.
Del worked incredibly well with the bricklayers from 33 and the basic structure went up very quickly before he had to leave and of all things go to a 33 Reunion in Blackpool from the Squadron when they based in Northern Ireland and where the Squadron Logo comes from and the name Shamrock Squadron. The Troop presented Del with a 33 Armoured Engineer T Shirt.
The Carpenters then took over on the structure with Duncan Crockett, the Operations Manager of VIA passing on his wealth of knowledge as a Corps trained carpenter and joiner and then many years running sites in the civilian world with his latest large construction task being in the Falkland Islands.
At the same time the carpenters were working on the structure the plumbers and Plant Operator set about getting the drainage and plumbing installed and for this task, Billy MacLeod invited his friend Mark Finn who he had served with in Hameln and Northern Ireland to help out as a Corps trained plumber and who now teaches plumbing at college.
The interaction between the former members of the Corps and those serving was fantastic and something that has to be learned from this task in future tasks that the Corps take on. The wealth of knowledge that they were able to pass on was huge and something that was really appreciated by the Corps trades personnel.
There are 1,000 of former Corps personnel who could help out on tasks around the world or in the UK to help those serving who don’t get the opportunity to use their trades all the time. Perhaps this is something that could be discussed with VIA and the Corps in the future as we have a huge following from veterans from the Corps who would jump at the chance.
Billy Macleod worked with the Troop Commander, Matt Hankin who was undertaking his first Construction Task and a great working relationship developed. Duncan Crockett worked tirelessly sourcing materials needed so that the task never slowed down and apart from a few things that held the task up at no fault of anyone it worked seamlessly as Duncan used all his experience.
It was huge for VIA to have the Troop undertaking the task as from the very start of the process VIA wanted the Corps involved as part of trade training and this was down to our own experience of perhaps not touching our trades for long periods whilst serving then all of a sudden you go on tour and are told to, build this………
That is a scary proposition but somehow it always manages to get done and as said previously perhaps this is something the Corps should look at to give their trades personnel the best chances to keep in touch with their trades.
The task was to be completed in 4 weeks and nearing that time with a few jobs still needing completed the OC Anna Scott pulled the ace out of her sleeve which was an extra week to get things completed.
This gave time for the few tasks left to be completed and the troop would have liked to stay and continue to finish the whole task which is being done by VIA (mainly Duncan Crockett) which is lay flooring, fit the kitchen and complete the project room.
A huge thanks need to be put out to companies who also supported the task, which are as follows;
I have missed anyone from this then please forgive me and let me know and I will add it to the list above.
Most of all I would like to thank everyone who donated to the Wee Build, it was YOU that made it happen, without your donations there would have been no Wee Build and no pre-deployment training for 33 Armoured Engineer Squadron.
The structure will help many veterans in the future that need the help from VIA so we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for MAKING this happen.
VIA plan to have an official opening at our VIA ALIVE Centre on Saturday 07th of May, the date was chosen because 33 AES will have completed their deployment and will hopefully be able to attend.
A Sapper on the task asked Billy MacLeod who VIA were…………….he thought for a few seconds knowing the usual charity talk wasn’t what was asked for and looking him in the eyes, Billy MacLeod replied. “We are you in 30 years’ time”.
The task was a huge step forward for VIA in the development of our centre it was carried out by Sappers to help a Sapper led charity involving veteran Sappers to help all, just as we did in the army helping all cap badges and in the true nature of the Corps and VIA.
Everyone involved should be proud that they are now a part in changing lives and believe me you will be so never think whatever you did didn’t mean much, it does to VIA and it WILL to those who use the facility.
From everyone at VIA a huge thank you.
Today was the first Trustees meeting for VIA since returning from our Walk 4 PTSD and it was great to meet the new trustees that have joined our growing TEAM.
A huge welcome to Charlie Rainey, Mark Burton, John Kean, Dave Petts and Dan Newbold who unfrotunately couldn’t make today’s meeting. These appointments have been made to help take Veterans In Action to the next level to allow us to help many more veterans in the future and to bring the skills they have from their time in the military along with the experience they have in the civilian world.
The meeting was chaired by our longest serving Trustee Scott Carr and together with the other Trustess we have a bright future. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for joining our TEAM and look forward to working with you all.
Chief Operations Officer
Veterans In Action
As VIA have been away for 4 months spreading the word about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on our 4,000 mile Walk 4 PTSD it has meant we have been unable to organise much. The intention for this year was to just initiate the PTSD Awareness Month and hold a PTSD Awareness Ball.
Our minds were changed however on the walk due to the lack of support by the media and due to this the public believe there is no problem as reports in the media state that there is no problem due to statements by the MOD. This has made us have a rethink but we need the help of the Veterans Community and the general public to highlight the month.
VIA will be running an Appeal called ‘Pledge a Pound – Save a Life‘ with the idea of getting many people to donate a little as opposed to a few donating a lot. This way we spread Awareness. VIA will also be sending out PTSD Awareness pin badges and PTSD Awareness Wristbands that are made by the veterans we help.
Again the idea is that we ask people to contact us and to ask for a minimum of 10 badges or bands and they sell them in their local area, this way the word speads far wider than we could possibly do ourselves so we need as many people to contact us as possible,
Please contact Duncan Crockett, firstname.lastname@example.org to order. Of course we can send them in smaller numbers as well but prices need to be a little higher due to cost of items and postage.
It can’t be simpler than that to make a difference.
So what can you do?
If you are part of a club, team or work force get them involved, do something to make a difference to a veteran who suffers.
There are 1,000’s of ways you can make a difference, make October special and support VIA’s initiative to have the first PTSD Awareness Month.
To all those who have served or have been affected by a family member who has served we all know someone who suffers thiis our chance to help for not much effort it is far easier than throwing ice cold water over our heads, all we have to do is stand tall, wear a badge and be PTSD AWARE!!!!
We are PTSD AWARE, R U?
Today started early as there is so much going on in our heads at VIA. We are still processing the end of the walk and how mentally drained we are and the tired limbs need rest but there is no time for that to happen as we need to keep the momentum of the support we have received moving forward.
Our day started with a few posts on social media about our PTSD Awareness Month coming up which has been playing around in our heads over the last few days. We had always planned to initiate the PTSD Awareness Month in October this year with a low key approach and a PTSD Awareness Ball set for the 17th of October. This has taken on a whole new importance though and this has been caused by the apathy of the media to the reality of what is happening to our veterans and the constant denial of the MOD that there is even a problem. Our TEAM have contacted Forces TV on numerous occasions before, during and now after the walk through their website contact form but at no time have they even had the decency to send us an email or answer any comments on Twitter. This beggars belief as we know they have run stories on PTSD and have supported Neil Davis’s fantastic unsupported Not Broken- Just Damaged Walk across America
One of our TEAM contacted The Sun newspaper this morning to ask them if they would cover anything about our Walk 4 PTSD and in their words the reply was “too many nice people do nice things for charity“. He then went on to contact the Daily Mail and their response was even worse and the reply he received was “lots of people walk around the country, what makes your walk anything special“?
Now this was not a great start to the day but although negative we need to use this negativity to create something positive. We will use this negativity to help us highlight the very fact that the apathy shown by our press is the very thing that is going to damage veterans who fall on hard times.
The press know how powerful they are and the very fact that they are not interested in what has happened to our veterans after the pull-out from Afghanistan is incredibly destructive to the moral of those very people who have supported these ‘so called’ newspapers who are supportive of our troops. I wait with anticipation for the next story about Strictly Come Dancing in the same newspapers though…………..can’t wait.
Nothing has changed for VIA though, we have been going for 8 years without any media attention because they don’t want to run stories about veterans suffering from PTSD unless that is the fact they have committed suicide to sensationalise things, people like good stories as well though, we certainly need them sometimes and what they don’t seem to realise that there may just be that one veteran who reads about a veteran coming through PTSD which may just encourage them to make that first step to recovery.
So what happens now?
We keep moving forward is the answer and keep banging the drum until someone listens, if we do nothing then we except that is how it should be, not us though.
Our new APPEAL ‘Pledge a Pound – Save a Life’ will start on October 01st for PTSD Awareness Month and this is now happening on social media which reaches far more people than the rags we used to read.
Our veterans’ community is estimated at between 4.5 and 6 million people that are a voice that cannot be argued with but for it to happen takes people to stand up and make a difference. Get behind PTSD Awareness Month and make it something that the powers that be will eventually have to take notice of.
Only we few can make the changes that need to be made. Remember how a nation ignored its veterans from Vietnam. Our nation has been doing it for years, those who are suffering from mental health or physical injuries, homeless or serving custodial sentences are the evidence of this neglect and the fallout from recent wars has still to be seen.
“If we send them, then it is our duty to mend them”.
Many thanks to all who have contacted our TEAM to support us your support is greatly appreciated but we need more and I will keep asking.
To order a PTSD Awareness Badge or Bracelet then please contact Duncan Crockett, email@example.com
If you order a minimum of 10 and spread the word you need not pay any money up front, we will send them to you, you sell them to your family and friends then once sold send the funds to VIA.