The sacrifices of our servicemen and women have been brought into sharp focus this year by the First World War centenary commemorations, and the final drawdown of Britain’s military operations in Afghanistan. Since 2001, 453 members of the Army, RAF, Royal Marines and Special Forces have lost their lives in central Asia and returned home in flag-draped coffins. Thousands have come back with physical injuries. Others’ scars cannot be seen. For some of them, the war continues.
What happens next? As General Sir Mike Jackson writes in i today: “On leaving the Forces, many use the skills they have learned, resourcefulness and resilience to successfully move on to a civilian life. But some find that transition very difficult indeed.”
Some veterans’ lives slip into destitution: marriages can collapse, solace is sought in alcohol, jobs are lost; for older veterans savings may run out.
It is these men and women we will help this year in i’s Christmas Appeal. We are running our campaign, Homeless Veterans, in association with our sister papers The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the Evening Standard, focusing on those people who have fought to protect us, left their units and fallen on hard times.
We have two superb partner charities: ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Veterans Aid. Our owner Evgeny Lebedev explains their work – from emergency care for ex-military on the streets, to skills training and mending pensioners’ boilers.
As well as fundraising for specific projects, we will build a coalition to further boost the support available to former military personnel. We will publish extraordinary stories. While some of our coverage may sadden, we will also bring you tales of salvation, showing the perseverance of the human spirit, and how the goodwill and charity of strangers can triumph, fulfilling society’s covenant to the young men and women who are willing to give their lives to protect ours. homelessveterans.co.ukReuse content