Veterans In Crisis Sunderland
Project Category: Community Interest Company
Veterans In Crisis Sunderland (VICs) was set up by it’s founder, Ger Fowler in 2018. He used his own money, had a £10 pay as you go mobile phone and based himself in Greggs within Sunderland City Centre as a very makeshift office. Ger founded VICs as he was diagnosed with PTSD following his time in the Army in Northern Ireland in the late 1980s. Years of counselling and support from his family helped him to recover, but the experience gave him a deep understanding of the needs of veterans (particularly those who have been badly affected by their experiences) and a passionate desire to help them. As a volunteer with a North East charity in 2013, he realised that there were no services for veterans with multiple and complex needs. He began work with a single individual: he managed to find the housing, furniture, counselling and benefits that he needed to begin his journey to recovery. This experience inspired him to launch Veterans in Crisis
VICS now has three staff – Ger, Sam ( a Royal Navy veteran who started off as a client, progressed to being a volunteer, which led to part-time employment and, since November 2020, full time as the Veterans Not Forgotten Coordinator) and Claire (who has family members who are serving members of the Armed Forces). They are supported by a team of volunteers – all of whom are veterans and clients of VICS.
We have built a network of sympathetic employers who are keen to help, as well as training providers who understand the specific needs of the people we serve. This has proved invaluable, and the success rate we have achieved in placing clients has been significant. We assist with a variety of issues including housing, benefits, ration packs (food parcels), utility bills, training, exercise, health and wellbeing
We have formed effective partnerships with Springboard North East (training), Sunderland City Council, Sunderland University (research project), Gentoo (housing), Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, Sunderland GP Alliance, Sunderland Carers centre, DWP, Thirteen (accommodation), Impact North East (counselling), Sunderland Association Football Club, Genesis Protection Services (fundraising and sponsorship), Fitness2000 and The National Glass Centre.
We aim to combat social isolation and to provide the camaraderie that many veterans miss when they leave the forces.
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1 Roker Avenue, Sunderland, SR6 0BY England