Dear Trustees, Staff and Volunteers,
This year has been like no other, COVID19 pandemic put our lives on hold, threatened our health, brought our social lives to a virtual standstill but despite this we continued to be there for our fellow Armed Forces Community in particular those veterans in need. At the same time, this year has also taught us just how strong and resilient we are both as humans, as a Charity and the role we play in our local Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.
With the help of our small but dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we continued to provide compassion, empathy, and creativity in the way we supported those in need. I can confidently say that we all rose to the challenge, we gave some of our personal freedom to keep others safe and we cared more than ever about one another.
Since our fresh new beginning, the reopening of the VCP late 2019 following the fantastic refurbishment done by Balfour Beatty, we have well and truly been recognised by our local community and wider afield. We hosted Lord Dannatt and HRH Prince Charles at the VCP, with many other community dignitaries and representatives from across the Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire. We have successfully developed new interventions such as the popular Brew & Banter and more recently chef Nick’s Breakfast clubs. Being innovative in the way we deliver against our funded projects has allowed us to show just what a forward facing, open and intelligent Armed Forces Charity we are. Who would have imagined that we would be confident enough to go on-line into the virtual world to ensure that “Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten”.
Community and personal relationships have never been more valuable, we have discovered newfound gratitude for our own health and the health of the people around us and at the VCP have adapted to the routines of cleaning, sanitising, hand washing and distancing to ensure we are operating safely allowing our veterans to feel safe in our environment. Tam and his dedication to supporting his Atherstone Hub and in developing the VCP Nuneaton Hub reminded us all of how precious the small things in life are, things that we perhaps previously took for granted.
Recently we sadly lost one of our team, Lyn Kelley who sadly passed away. Lyn had been a member of our team for many years and had shown dedication and support to the VCP touching the soles of many other veterans through ensuring “ we remained open” no matter what weather or situation. I recall Lyn even making brews for the first Balfour Beatty staff who came on site shortly after our closure for the refurbishment. I know that you will join me in sending her family our warm wishes for a peaceful Christmas and that for those who can, we will raise a class in her memory.
As this year is coming to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for supporting the Veterans Contact Point, through our Board of Trustee’s providing its Governance and from the team of staff and volunteers who continue to show dedication and innovation in adapting our services to “fit” the needs of veterans and meeting COVID requirements during this difficult period. It means a lot to me.
For the year ahead, I hope that we can go back to socialising, travelling, and exploring. I also hope that we can return to our in-person events and networking. I know you have missed those as much as we have, and we cannot wait to see you again soon.
I am currently working on completion of the final few project reports and encourage you to share your photos, experiences, and your unique perspective of our approaches and delivery of services to our Armed Forces Community. We end this year with master chef Nick and the Team providing a home cooked 3 course Christmas Lunch to 20 veterans this coming Monday, fresh cooked Turkey and all the trimmings. Then finally before we break up for a well deserved rest, we will train another 5 veterans in Peer Support techniques so that hopefully when the time is right, they too will be able to come on board to provide support as they have been provided by their peers
I encourage you all to continue to contribute thoughts and ideas on what the VCP could do during the coming New Year, the programme is not written and remains flexible to your suggestions, so please share.
But first, let us enjoy the Christmas and New Year with our family and friends, let’s not forget our fellow Armed Forces Personnel who are away from their families on operations or duty during this period, some of us have been in a similar position during our own military careers. We hope that the impact of your work and that our of Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant Partners have made, will ensure that Veterans are remembered during the Christmas period.
Stay safe and well, thank you all sincerely for all you have done and continue to do. Have a very happy Christmas and New Year.