A group of veterans volunteering for the multi-award-winning organisation Veterans in Crisis Sunderland (VICS), which helps armed forces veterans in Sunderland, have raised more than £2,000 to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the Sunderland organisation. Fourteen volunteers – in socially distanced groups of six – cycled from Sunderland to Hartlepool.
They were met by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor David Snowdon, who has a holiday caravan in the town.
‘The people of Sunderland are incredibly generous, and they look after each other,’ said VICS founder and CEO Ger Fowler. ‘Thanks to them, we have enough furniture and white goods – even toys – to furnish whole houses for veterans and their families in need. The trouble is, we don’t have a van big enough to transport it all.’
VICS is seeing an ever-increasing demand for the services they provide to veterans in need of support. The support provided is crucial in stabilising veterans lives and getting them and their families back on track.
The ultimate goal of the charity is to create jobs for veterans. In order to achieve this, members of VICS are constantly counselling veterans, rehousing these veterans and their families is one step further to recovery. The next step is to then turn that house into a home using the donations to decorate.
By donating you are not only assisting in the purchase of a van, you are also laying the ground work for a veteran and their family to progress their way on to a new life by providing the means to decorate a house. You will also be aiding in the development of jobs for veterans and volunteering opportunities in the future.
VICS is launching a crowdfunding campaign with the help of Crowdfund Sunderland, which is backed by the Council and the health service in the city.
Using the hashtag #VanForVICS, Ger and his team are hoping to raise £11,000. For more information and to donate, go to www.spacehive.com/a-van-for-vics
Here at Nationwide Lifts & Escalators Ltd we are proud to support Veterans in Crisis Sunderland (VICS). It is an honour to have such an incredible charity doing tremendous work so close to home.
Veterans in Crisis is a Community Interest Company. It was established in 2018 by Ger Fowler, a veteran of the First Battalion, Light Infantry. His experiences in Northern Ireland left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic back pain and depression. He became addicted to the drugs he was prescribed to help the pain.
‘A key driver of my recovery was a passion to help other veterans in my home city. I founded Veterans in Crisis (Sunderland) in January 2018 so that I could help veterans who suffer like I did. My mission is simple: to help veterans to help veterans. I know how veterans feel and what they are going through, because I have been there myself.’
The veterans VIC supports must be from Sunderland. They may be homeless, unemployed, addicted to drugs or alcohol or have mental health needs; VIC’s role is to help them to stabilise their lives and we work with them to build a new future.
VICS has more than 300 members and is growing rapidly.
VICS has won four awards during this year:
- Health Service Journal Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award
- Sunderland Echo Special Community Award
- Newcastle Evening Chronicle Armed Forces Champion Award
- Springboard North East Supporting Partner of The Year
- VCAS Open Arms Awards 2020: Influence and Collaboration Award (for Ger Fowler), Community Places and Spaces Award (for our headquarters, the ERV), Partnership Award and, for Gloria Middleton, Volunteer of the Year award
- To speak to Ger Fowler, call 07850263421
- For more information about the campaign, call John Sargent on 07974 070 471
 A community interest company is a business with primary social objectives whose surpluses are principally reinvested for that purpose in the business or in the community, rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners.