A new Veterans’ Foundation campaign aimed at raising £10,000 for Armed Forces personnel suffering with mental health issues has got off to the best possible start – thanks to a generous donation from a Cambs-based charitable group.
Helping Whittlesey raised £2,767 thanks to the generosity of local businesses, who sponsored the ‘Poppy Panels’ created by local schoolchildren for Remembrance commemorations.
Their donation is the first major step towards raising £10k as part of the ‘Light Up A Veteran’s Life’ campaign – a Christmas initiative to help ex-service personnel dealing with conditions such as PTSD, anxiety and depression.
“Every bollard in town had a hat of poppies, it was fantastic,” said Karen Trickey, 34, a member of the Helping Whittlesey team.
“We had 50,000 poppies made for our ‘Poppy Blitz’, knitted tommy soldiers in the garden of rest and one lady even created a quilt showing bombers flying over the cliffs of Dover.
“The response from the community has just been overwhelming.”
Helping Whittlesey’s £2,767 will join all donations from the Veterans’ Foundation’s December quest to provide a light in the darkness for veterans who have suffered heightened levels of isolation and loneliness as a result of the pandemic.
All candles lit on the Armed Forces Memorial Wall this month will not only honour past military service given by millions of our nation's men and women, but also to raise funds to support living veterans in need today.
“These are special people who have given their everything for us and their lives have changed completely,” explained Karen.
“If our donation can help them a little bit, to mentally prepare themselves for ‘real life’ that’s ahead of them and to help them live to the next day, then that’s a massive achievement.
“We wanted to make sure the donations went to help veterans as well as targeting mental health support locally, but it was difficult to find this in one package,” she added.
“But then we came across the Veterans’ Foundation and once we knew how they could use the money, they were the perfect fit.”
Alongside the Remembrance campaign, Helping Whittlesey have also been delivering meals, prescriptions and care parcels to vulnerable local people during the last two years of the COVID pandemic.
“It’s a lot to do, but the comments you get back make it all worthwhile,” explained Karen, who has also just started up a business providing complex care in the community.
Veterans’ Foundation Founder and CEO, David Shaw, paid tribute to Helping Whittlesey’s excellent work: “The Helping Whittlesey team and the community did an incredible job with their ‘poppy blitz’, and it was fantastic to see the town come together for Remembrance.”
“It’s fitting that this donation was raised in the act of remembering those who served in the Armed Forces and with the aim of improving the mental health of today’s veterans.
This is the embodiment of the Veterans’ Foundation’s ‘Light Up A Veteran’s Life’ campaign this Christmas,” explained David.
“To Karen and all the members of Helping Whittlesey, local businesses who sponsored the poppy blitz and the community who dug deep into their pockets – thank you. Your donation will make a real difference to veterans’ lives.”
The Veterans’ Foundation have been supporting UK veterans since 2016 and in those five years, the charity has already given over £8 million in grants to small and medium-sized organisations dedicated to providing vital assistance to our Armed Forces veterans and operationally qualified seafarers.
VF grants have already been awarded to organisations such as PTSD Resolution, Icarus, Service Dogs UK and Combat Stress, all of whom work with helping veterans with various mental health struggles, and this latest campaign will provide further funding to address this same growing issue.