Ed a RRF Veteran has been instrumental in ensuring fellow Veterans and their Families are not forgotten during the impacts of COVID19 & National Lockdown.
Like the VCP Hub, Ed has been “out there” doing the right thing for those in need in the Stratford Upon Avon/Warwick and LSPA areas. As a Volunteer Ed also runs a Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club, but had to suspend this due to the current restrictions. This allowed Ed to focus on providing outreach welfare and buddy calls to Veterans known to him and the VCP ensuring that they were included in support.
Working mainly from his home or boot of his car, Ed accompanied by his Wife and Children put together food parcels, NAFFI Break Packs some of which were donated by Morrisons in Leamington & Stratford.
Working with lead Armed Forces Covenant Partners in delivering effective interventions such as that provided by Ed, the VCP hopes to secure a base in the South of Warwickshire to help Ed with a place to operate from and for a meeting point to bring together other veterans for a “brew and a chat/banter” once COVID is under control and restrictions are lifted and group contact allowable.
Pictured in the main image is Ed with the Morrisons (SOA) Community Lead and Cllr Wallace Redford – WCC AFC Lead.
Once we have information about a Southern Hub we will share across our social media and through direct contact with veterans and families known to us.
The VCP is extremely proud of the work being done by Ed and applaud his dedication and motivation to his fellow veterans/families and recognise again the power and commitment of veterans in supporting others. The VCP is reliant on Veterans like Ed and he compliments the other Veterans who provide this service across our other areas. We are always open for fresh volunteers, partnerships and projects – contact details: email email@example.com or telephone 02476343793 to learn more.
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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.
The impact on COVID19 has been devastating on people in the community, with various Lockdowns, Firebreaks, Tiers and so forth. Generally Veterans across Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire have proved to be resilient and have coped, but some still struggle with isolation, loneliness impacting on their physical and mental well-being.
As Veterans ourselves we appreciate how important it is to “be home” at Christmas, our own military life often meant that we could be away at this time of year. However no matter where in the world we where, what ever corner of a field or desert we may find ourselves, we always tried to celebrate Christmas. A tradition exists where Officers and SNCO’s served Christmas Dinner to the enlisted men as a show of thanks from their own service and loyalty to whom they in turn served.
The VCP is extremely proud to provide a little festive cheer to our veterans as a way of giving back and ensuring that we maintain a tradition that our former servicemen and women did before us.
On the 21st December at the VCP in Nuneaton, we will be providing a 3 course cooked Christmas Lunch, cooked by Nick Caswell our Chef, assisted by Dawn his Wife, Tam, Jock and John our Peer Support workers/servers/dish washers, to needy veterans from across CSW AFC Area. Food has been donated by Morrisons (LSPA & SOA) and by food donated through Warwickshire County Council, topped up by a small donation from the VCP coffers. NBBC have kindly offered to help with taxi’s (Tier3 allowing) to transport veterans to/from lunch.
Please see the poster for full details, be mindful that we are limiting sittings to a maximum of 6 veterans per sitting. You may also be required to wear a facemask when not eating and ALL dinners will be required to follow strict COVID guidance/precautions at all times.
We require you to ring and book a place for dinner, you may be asked why you need to come – this is to ensure those in priority need get a place first. You will be informed what time your sitting is and when to be at and leave the VCP by.
On behalf of the Board of Trustee’s, Staff, Volunteers, Veterans and many Supporters – thank you for ensuring that the VCP can support and be there for Veterans and their Families from across the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Area, We wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas, no matter where you may be in the world.
A Tribute to Lyn Kelley – Lyn first made contact with the VCP way back in 2011 in her role as an RBL Volunteer Welfare Caseworker , when we were operating out of NBBC Town Hall in Nuneaton. She “jumped ship” and became a volunteer with the VCP in 2012 and stayed with us, helping us in our work to become a registered charity and effective organisation in supporting the needs of our local Armed Forces Community.
Lyn showed total dedication in her efforts to ensure that Veterans and their Families who were in need received the best support that their time in the UK Armed Forces made them eligible to access. This also included her individual efforts to ensure that the VCP was open to receive “drop in’s” from Veterans, providing them a brew/wet and welcoming them to the charity. We have seen Lyn battling all weathers to ensure the door is open and the kettle is on.
During the close down of the VCP to allow the refurbishment to take place, she even ensured that the initial Balfour Beatty Workforce had a hot brew and were given access to the building.
Lyn was a veteran herself, she proudly served in the RAF and later in the Army as a Reservist, two of her sons also followed her into Military Service. Above all Lyn was a Mother and Grandmother and loved her family with passion.
Lyn gave so much, so freely and ensured as far as she could that all Veterans were given support and access to other opportunities. She received no monetary payment for her efforts, but received payback in knowing that she was doing the right thing for others. Over 7,000 people have seen the post informing our Community of her sad passing – a tribute to Lyn that she has touched so many people through her dedicated work with the VCP a passion, a pride and her life work.
We continue to be there for her and her family and to remember her as a fellow Veteran, a Friend, a Mother and Grandmother and a local person who gave so much to others.
Lyn you will be missed by so many people, but we know that through your efforts, that the service they receive has been positively impacted by your own efforts and commitment.
The photos shown have been taken from her own Facebook page, those who knew Lyn appreciate that she didn’t like her photo taken and would hide when ever a camera was on site. These photos were obliviously precious to her and thank you Alex for allowing us to use them RIP Lyn
Veterans Contact Point – Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten
The Veterans Contact Point operating during the current COVID19 lockdown. We are conscious that former members of HM Armed Forces (Veterans) and their families struggle with isolation and loneliness. This increases for those with Mental Health issues, Combat PTSD and physical disabilities. Veterans volunteering at the Veterans Contact Point have themselves experienced the impact caused through the previous lockdown and are keen to ensure that “Veterans should not be forgotten” during this current phase of mandatory lockdown.
Advice and guidance has been sought with local authority and consultation with the UK Government restrictions/rules and the Veterans Contact Point delivers an “exempt essential support activity” as stated under Section 4 of www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november
“Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.”
So, what are we providing? During the first phase of Lockdown we found that out weekly “Veteran Buddy Calls” were successful in ensuring veterans that the VCP and its Veterans cared about their mental and physical health. The response from those contacted was appreciated with many welcoming the chance to speak to another veteran and exchange “banter” etc.
Should we need to refer you for additional support outside that which is available from the VCP itself we will seek your permission to refer and pass on your details
Welfare Support was also appreciated during the initial COVID19 lockdown, many veterans contact were in need of welfare support, having been unable to work or even struggling to pay for essential items such as food, heat etc. We provided “NAFFI Break and Main Meal Boxes” which were delivered to veterans who needed this support, many were struggling but were not asking for support or were aware that help could be provided. We work with the Food Banks across our area and other Charities to ensure that “Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten”, and have complimented their provision with our own, and/or ensured that Veterans are identified and supported.;
Breakfast/Hot Meal – Subject to risk assessment, approval and demand we intend to provide a limited “Squaddie cooked” hot meal for those veterans who are struggling. We are planning a Free Veterans Breakfast (for those in need) on Saturday 14th November at the VCP starting at 10:00 – ending 12:00 (Max of 6 people at each sitting).
Please ring/email us on 02476343793 firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm a place. If you have not booked? You will be turned away.
You will be expected to follow our admittance criteria and to follow our COVID19 procedures to protect our staff and yourself.
We will remain flexible and monitor the developing situation and may adjust the service we provide to remove face to face support, if we are instructed too, or if we feel that people are not following advice and guideline and increasing risk to each other/others.
Please do continue to check our website and Facebook and other Media or ring/email 02476343793 email@example.com before you travel.
The Veterans Contact Point is seeking to recruit several trustees to replenish our Board of Trustees. We are proud of the progress we have made in the past 10 years and as we move forwards towards our next decade we are seeking passionate individuals with strong can-do attitudes whose expert knowledge, skills and experience will continue to see the Veterans Contact Point maintain and grow its services and support to Veterans and their Families across the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire (CSW) Armed Forces Covenant (AFC)Area. As the CSW AFC only local Military Charity we are leading on local face to face support and working with a varied range of expert Partners to ensure that Veterans & their Families receive the best support they can and face no disadvantage in accessing services as a result of their Military Service.
We are specifically looking for individuals with experience in the following area to join our Board and help it support growth and direction:
Public Relations, Marketing & Fundraising, Employer Representation/Engagement, Mental & Physical Care.
The Committee of Trustees meets four times a year (usually face-to-face, at the home of the Veterans Contact Point in Nuneaton, Warwickshire). In addition the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is normally held in within the current financial year when various Reports and Financial Accounts are presented allowing members the opportunity to question the current Board of Trustee Elected Officers.
The tenure for the role of Trustee would be for an initial probationary period of six months following which the appointment, if made, will be reviewed every three years. The Committee of Trustees would like to appoint new Trustees as soon as possible.
The Veterans Contact Point (VCP) is managed totally by volunteers and our Trustees perform many roles which cut across many skill sets. As a Trustee of the VCP you should have strong networking skills and be able to represent the Charity if called upon to do so. You will join a team of volunteers who have stepped up into a challenging and supportive environment who give their time freely to the VCP. Trustees act as a collective so it is expected that the successful applicant/s will demonstrate that they:-
As a Trustee you will be a volunteer, the VCP have any paid staff which are normally employed to deliver dedicated projects. None of its Board of Trustees are paid however reasonable out of pocket expenses can be reimbursed if necessary.
To apply to be a VCP Trustee, please firstname.lastname@example.org While we welcome applications and expressions of interest at any time. To be appointed/elected as a trustee to the current Committee of Trustees at the Annual General Meeting in 2021 the closing date for applications is 25th December 2020.
Should you wish to discuss any of the positions in more detail, please contact Len Hardy, Executive Officer/Board of Trustees email@example.com Telephone: 02476 343793
Applicants will be called for interview in January 2021 with representatives from the current Committee of Trustees. The interviews, dependent on the latest Government COVID19 guidelines will be held face to face at The VCP in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, alternatively interviews will be held via Microsoft Teams.
To find out more about the Association visit: https://www.veteranscontactpoint.co.uk
The Veterans Contact Point has been active in delivering services through the AFC Fund Trust Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Project across the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant Area.
The VCP team has learnt through “experience” how to master Microsoft TEAMS – LIVE Events. To date the VCP has delivered on-line sessions/presentations from across the CSW AFC Partners: Housing & The Armed Forces, The Armed Forces Covenant, Employability, Substance Misuse Support, Veterans Mental Health/TILS, Veterans Stories, Keeping Armchair Fit and news/live events from the various Veterans HUBS (mainly in North Warwickshire & Nuneaton).
In addition to establishing an on-line presence for the Armed Forces Community across the CSW area, the VCP Peer Support Team have also conducted regular telephone calls ” Veterans Buddy Check” to Veterans known to the Charity and those referred from Partners such as CWPT Ex-Armed Forces Mental Health/TILS/HIS, SSAFA Warwickshire & Coventry and through the CJS Remember Veterans Project.
Other VSNBF deliveries included delivering “NAFFI Break & Main Meal” boxes to Veterans locked down during COVID19. The team reached out to provide these in, Atherstone/North Warwickshire, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Leamington and Stratford upon Avon (SOA).
Pictured below is Ed Collis delivering these welfare packs to veterans known to him in SOA (immediately below is Ed dropping of a welfare box to a very happy veteran)
The VCP continues to deliver services through funding provided by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, this includes Brew & Banter, Veterans into Work Support, Immediate welfare support – food/funds/Peer Support.
Plans are being developed to provide a “COVID19 Safe Veteran Breakfast Club” at the VCP In Nuneaton starting Saturday 14th November, veterans are requested to ring first to be in a “Safe Group of 6” . This latest initiative is subject to the impacts/changes imposed by the on-going restrictions.
We continue to ensure that we remain open for those who need us, if you need help or are struggling or even know another veteran who maybe struggling – please do ring us: 02476 343793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensuring the Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire Veterans are Not Forgotten
Dawn Caswell the Veterans Contact Point Office Manager contacted Alex Pearson, Morrison’s (LSPA) Community Champion as part of the Coventry Solihull and Warwickshire Armed Forces Covenant through the Armed Forces Covenant Funded ‘Veterans Should Not Be Forgotten Project. Dawn and the Team from the VCP wanted to establish a relationship with local business in the South of Warwickshire to develop local partnerships to support and to raise awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant, in particular the needs of Veterans and their families who are impacted upon by the COVID19 pandemic. The Veterans Contact Point are currently providing “NAFFI Break/Brew and Main Meal Boxes ” to local Armed Forces Veterans to let them know that the Armed Forces Covenant and VCP had not forgotten them at this difficult time. These packs also contained information on how to access support and that the VCP itself was still open for them to access support and information
Morrison’s Supermarket acknowledged its support to the Armed Forces Community and also generously donated 20 bags of food to be given out to Veterans living across the South Warwickshire Area. This food was converted into 40 “Main Meal Boxes” which were distributed in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Stratford and a special event held at Morrison’s Supermarket in Old Warwick Road Leamington on Friday 18th September 2020.
Veterans Contact Point staff and volunteers were at the store to distribute these NAFFI Break & Main Meal Boxes and also took the opportunity to present their VCP Shield to Morrison’s in recognition of their support. Morrison’s in Jonny Robbins Peoples Manager for Morrisons – West Midlands region. The Veterans Contact Point have been invited as a local military charity to become more involved in events and themes involving Morrisons to support and raise awareness of the local Armed Forces Community in the future.
The VCP has reopened and is encouraging Veterans who maybe struggling to make contact to ensure that they are supported. Key staff members including Jon the new AFC Community Outreach & Hub Development Officer have returned to the VCP base and have began contacting veterans to ensure that they are safe and coping during the current restrictions.
Current opening hours are Monday to Thursday 10:00 – 16:00 and Friday 10:00 – 14:00 hrs. We can also be contacted out of hours, by ringing Telephone 02476343793 and leaving a message – we will respond as earlier as possible the next working day. Alternatively you can email us on: email@example.com.
Although we cannot guarantee a face to face contact we will do all we can to ensure that each referral or contact is dealt with as speedily as possible. If we do need to see you, to check documentation, to get signatures etc. we will invite you to attend a “face to face” meeting following strict Government guidelines – please be aware that you may have to wear a face mask and observe social distancing. Please do not come if you are showing any signs of illness.