The Veterans in Action (VIA) Centre has been shortlisted for The People’s Projects 2023, a fundraising initiative run by The National Lottery Community Fund, The National Lottery, ITV, UTV and the Sunday Mail in Scotland to let the British public decide how National Lottery funding should be spent.
Winners will receive £70,000 to improve the lives of people in their community. Voting is now open to the public. VIA is encouraging those who support their work to vote here. Voting closes on 26 May 2023 at midday.
The People’s Projects 2023 prize would go a long way toward keeping the VIA Centre running. The centre is a safe haven on the outskirts of Andover for local veterans experiencing PTSD or struggling to adapt to civilian life. VIA supports a growing number of veterans in need, helping them through tough times via social groups, expeditions and activities that make the most of their ex-Forces skill sets.
VIA’s Billy MacLeod MBE said: “Veterans In Action is the only veterans charity up for this award in the whole of the UK. We need your support in the form of voting to help us remain open and enable us to continue to support our veterans.”
At the heart of the VIA centre is a workshop space where veterans come together to build expedition vehicles from spare parts. Impressive to see, some of these hand-built vehicles accommodate cooking areas/kitchens and pop-up roof tents! They are used to drive the veterans and VIA team on overland expeditions which provide ‘green therapy’- meaningful bonding and healing opportunities. In building the vehicles, veterans rebuild their confidence, self-esteem, and self-belief, as well as building a strong community of like-minded former servicemen and women.
Veterans in Action also looks outward to support those around them, with the motto ‘helping ourselves through helping others’. During lockdowns the charity pulled together to assist local civilians via food and prescription deliveries (partly by providing ‘man power’ to the Andover Isolation Group). They have also contributed relief to the Ukraine crisis by gathering and delivering countless essentials to refugee resource hubs in Poland. Some expeditions to Poland proved challenging for those with PTSD, but the team found strength in each other, overcame personal obstacles, and put their many years of service to good use once again.
VIA carries out frequent accessible 'Virtual Challenges' to accommodate veterans from all walks of life as well. Read about these and the charity itself at www.veteransinaction.org.uk
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