Veterans’ mental health is aided by an ex-Army member’s support network.


Veterans’ mental health is boosted by an ex-Army member’s support network.

Thanks to funding raised through The Health Lottery, Veterans in Crisis has grown from a one-person operation to a team of “invaluable” staff providing activities and advice to veterans.

No one understands the importance of Veterans in Crisis (VICs) more than Ger Fowler, who founded the organization with his own money and a £10 pay-as-you-go mobile phone.

After being caught up in a terrorist attack in Northern Ireland, Ger joined the Army at 16 and was diagnosed with PTSD.

However, after leaving the forces, he realized how much he missed the camaraderie and established VICs, a veteran support group in Sunderland.

Since its inception in 2018, VICs has grown into a community hub that provides comradery as well as active pursuits such as paddle boarding, surfing, and rock climbing, as well as talking therapy and benefit advice.

Ger hires trainer Sam Neil to lead daily military-style workouts, which are beneficial to the veterans’ mental health, thanks to money raised through The Health Lottery.

“Sam is extremely valuable to us,” Ger says.

“This money has made such a difference because when I first started out, I didn’t have an office and now we have a four-story building.”

“I began this because I saw so many veterans who were not receiving assistance.

One of the first people I helped was a retired man who had been placed in a hostel and expected to stay there until he died.

I had him placed in sheltered housing and ensured that he was receiving the proper benefits within a week.”

Everyone who volunteers or works at VICs is a veteran, so newcomers receive support from someone who understands their situation.

And with Christmas approaching, there will be plenty more help available.

“We deliver 100 three-course meals with gifts to veterans and their families in our removal van on Christmas morning,” says Ger.

“Each one comes with a brief conversation on the doorstep.”

The festive season is a time to reflect on accomplishments for Leep1, a support organization that assists people with learning disabilities and celebrates what they can do rather than what they can’t.

Susan Hanley, CEO of “Brinkwire Summary News,” says, “We do a lot of campaigning to help get our voices heard, and we help people learn skills, gain experience, and confidence in our cafe.”


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