Veterans Aid  (VA) is a unique ex-service charity. Founded in 1932 it has been offering hope and practical support to ex-servicemen and women in crisis ever since.

VA’s help is offered without favour or judgement, regardless of age, ethnicity, rank, gender or length of service.

Its interventions are client-led, predicated on the question “What do you need?” rather than the statement “This is what we offer”.

Wherever possible VA acts to prevent crisis,  but where problems are already  acute and entrenched its focus is on halting and addressing them.

VA is committed to acting swiftly and practically with minimal bureaucracy. It is distinguished by a mantra that describes in the simplest of terms the charity’s overarching operational activity: “Caring for veterans in Crisis . . .  Now!”

It defines ‘Crisis’ as anything that has destroyed – or threatens to destroy – a life. Many charities offer grants, awards for specific purposes, advice, referrals and handouts. Few will intervene practically when someone is in meltdown  –  homeless, suffering from drink/drug addiction, socially isolated, hungry, in despair or facing problems so complex and overwhelming that they feel suicidal.

In recent times VA has highlighted legal judgements that threatened  Foreign & Commonwealth veterans with deportation – and effected changes in the law accordingly. It has paved the way for individuals crippled by alcohol, gambling, drug and other addictions to undertake  treatment, secure accommodation, training, employment and  accommodation. Its clients have included former soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, officers (junior and senior), barristers, transgender veterans, victims of domestic violence, bullying  and racism, reservists, octogenarians and teenagers. Its client base is as diverse as the problems it has been presented with  –  and  the solutions it has brokered.

VA doesn’t do ‘handouts’ – but it does offer a ‘hand up’, through a pathway that starts with ‘triage and first aid’  and ends only when the individual seeking help is in as safe a space as s/he can reasonably occupy. This pathway – Welfare to Wellbeing©  –  was conceived and developed by VA. It describes a process that, although  outcome focused, involves provision of support through all the stages necessary to take a dependant and despairing individual to a place of optimism and independence.

For many ex-servicemen and women  Veterans Aid  is  the proverbial Last Chance Saloon – the place they arrive at in desperation and with little real expectation of help, when every other organisation’s door is closed or its waiting list too long.

VA is an amalgam  of post-modernism and practical compassion. It was established  to help veterans, not because they are heroes or uniquely entitled,  but because they are human beings who deserve  to live with dignity in a society where natural justice prevails.

LOCATION MAP:  VA operates from just two locations – A central London HQ/Drop-in Centre, in Victoria, and an East London residential facility in Stepney. This light footprint belies a reach and impact that extends worldwide. Even before COVID-19 lockdown the charity was operating a virtual model  that enabled a caller in Cambodia to have his service verified, his problem identified and an emergency solution actioned within hours.

Learn more about Veterans Aid , its operations and its independently audited outcomes HERE.

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