2014: What A Year!
Forward Assist Veterans Support Charity went from strength to strength in 2014. The year started with the induction of three full time staff followed in April by two additional posts covering Sports Development and Education Training & Employment roles.To have created five full time jobs is an achievement we are very proud of given the current economic climate in the North East of England. As a direct result of creating these roles we have been able to provide Veterans with a host of structured activities that included a trip to Sunderland Glass Factory, The roll out of a Veterans Art Exhibition with associated creative writing, a group trip to the National Memorial Arboretum, Beamish Museum, London ,The Lake District, York and Scotland. We also facilitated two residential trips to France, hosted a US Veterans Exchange and visited Texas & Arkansas in anticipation of next years Veterans return Exchange to the USA.The team also organised four Adventure Days for disadvantaged young people in partnership Youth Focus North East and Alternate Forces. We provided over 36 (free) weekly Angling sessions to Homeless Veterans and those with Alcohol & Drug Addictions. Our Annual Armed Forces Day Football Tournament was once again a great success with teams from Newcastle United Foundation, Sunderland's Foundation of Light and Everton in The Community taking part along with 144 participants.We also partnered with Sunderland AFC to create the first 'Veteran Specific' Employability Course in the North East. Our Cook2Give Team cooked numerous free meals for elderly Veterans throughout the year and one of our volunteers, who is currently studying at Newcastle University taught Homeless Veterans how to cook at Avondale House in Byker. Our Sports Development Coach has provided free fitness & climbing sessions/coaching to veterans of all ages and also took part in the Virgin Cyclone Cycling Event with a team of veterans of all ages. We also organised Debate Training in collaboration with Students from Northumbria University Debating Society & Dave Anderson MP (pictured) and the Senior Management Team gave presentations to The Rotary Club, The Magistrates Association and numerous other community groups throughout the year.We were also asked to share our expertise in working with Veterans in the CJS when we were personally invited to London by Rory Stewart MP to feed into the Government Review of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System. Similarly we have made numerous appearances on local radio stations, TV and appeared in the press on a regular basis throughout the year. All in all a fantastic achievement for such a small organisation.