Veterans in Crisis

Veterans in Crisis Sunderland

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

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.

Background information

Veterans in Crisis is a Community Interest Company.[1] 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

[1] 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.



Our Sunderland heritage

At Nationwide Lifts we are proud of our Sunderland heritage a hub of industry with great tradition and roots and bring that tradition to the way we work, Honesty, reliability and a lot of other ility’s

Sunderland is situated at the mouth of the River Wear and dates back to 1179, when a small fishing village was granted a charter. Over the centuries, Sunderland grew as a port, trading coal and salt and was once famously hailed as the “Largest Shipbuilding Town in the World”. Ships were built on the Wear from at least 1346 onwards and by the mid-eighteenth century Sunderland was one of the chief shipbuilding towns in the country. Now it relies on the car making industry and other business to support the town’s economy.

The name Sunderland was used from the 17th century. The name probably derived from ‘land’ which was ‘sundered’ or separated from the monastery at Monkwearmouth. Gateshead: The Venerable Bede described the place in Saxon times as ‘Goat’s Head’

Home of the Mighty Sunderland AFC Saturday afternoons up here are taken very seriously

Sunderland’s alternative name of the Black Cats is one which is known up and down the country, but it has only been the club’s official nickname since 1997.

The legend of Joshua Dunn, who volunteered for Sunderland Loyal Volunteer force, fleeing from the ‘sound of a black cat’, led to one of the gun batteries on the river Wear (John Paul Jones Battery) become known as the Black Cat Battery.

That name then became associated with the newly-formed football club and upon adopting red-and-white stripes as their strip, the first Sunderland badge featured a black cat, along with a ship, a football and party of the city’s coat of arms.

We are proud of Our Sunderland heritage and roll out our tradition past to all our works

Nationwide Lifts & Escalators are a privately owned company who have been established for many years. Our management team have over 50 years experience in the lift industry and with offices in the Midlands & North, we can offer nationwide coverage for all new lifts, service, repair or modernisation work. We have built up a reputation with clients as a reliable supplier who goes the extra mile.

We offer the complete range of passenger lifts, goods lifts, platform lifts and access products nationwide. We pride ourselves on supplying high quality solutions that are fully open protocol, giving our clients both peace of mind and flexibility in the future. Our range of lift products are fully bespoke and we can offer any size, load or interior / doors you require.

We also offer the full turn key package for our clients for existing sites and new buildings. We offer the complete lift removal service, associated builders-work and electrical work, as well as the lift replacement. This allows us to be involved from early design phase right through to handover on site. By having one contractor on site, this cuts down on interfacing with other trades, improves communication and ultimately the level of service.

We base our service on  traditional lift maintenance just like Our Sunderland heritage , we offer repair works and modernisation to all types of passenger & goods lifts and access products nationwide. With our highly skilled in house engineers we can ensure that our traditional lift maintenance helps cut down on call-outs, down time and costs. We also have a first time fix policy for lift repairs where our aim is to ensure we find the cause of the breakdown and repair it first time with no repeat visits.

We also provide  modernisations nationwide whether it is a new lift interior you need, new doors or the bits you might not see (control systems, hydraulics, motors) – we have a solution for you. A lift modernisation can be a great way to enhance the look of your lift but also make it more reliable and more eco-efficient without the upheaval of a full replacement. We only use high quality open protocol parts and components for all lift repairs and lift modernisations.