Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans

by FirstLight Trust
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Covid-19 & Preventing Homelessness for Veterans
Pepper
Pepper

As you know we’ve not been idle during the last few months, far from it! We’re delivering more support to more people in more places than ever before - more walks and fresh air so that our pets are looking exhausted! (including Pepper in the accompanying photo)

As restrictions start to lift and we’re able to enjoy spending more time with those we love, now is the perfect time to come together virtually to re-connect and focus on what makes us happy; people, pets, exercise, good food, music, art – when you think about it the list is endless.

FirstLight Trust’s Stress Down Day is coming up on Friday 26th March (the Friday before the clocks go forward). This campaign exists to support veterans of our emergency services – work that is more vital than ever before.

Our campaign and website have undergone a refresh including the addition of some fantastic upcoming events for you and your friends and family to take part in, including yoga, live music and a baking competition. Please click the link below.

Ways you can support Stress Down Day:

1. Take a picture or video of you or your pet ‘de-stressing’, use the hashtag #StressDownDayUK and tag us on:

Instagram: @stressdownday and @firstlight_trust

Facebook: @firstlighttrust

Twitter: @firstlighttrust

2. Take part in activities and competitions through our website.

3. Send this out to your friends, family and network to reach as far and wide as possible and give Stress Down Day the engagement it deserves in working towards promote positive mental health and helping us support our emergency service veterans.

Yoga
Yoga

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Winner of the child entry - Kyle!
Winner of the child entry - Kyle!

During these incredibly difficult times and amid a second UK national lockdown, it is important now more than ever to take care of our mental health. FirstLight Trust is supporting veterans of the armed forces and emergency services to combat isolation and loneliness safely through one to one socially distanced support sessions and virtual online activities.

 

Stress Down Day

Stress Down Day is a bi-annual campaign created by FirstLight Trust taking place on the Fridays before the clocks go forward and back. The campaign aims to promotes positive mental health by reminding us that the smallest actions can make an incredible difference, and to take time out of our days to relax. For example, sitting down with a cup of tea or stretching and yawning is a great break from our daily routine, helping us to calm our mind and decompress.

FirstLight Trust introduced a Pumpkin Carving Competition for this Stress Down Day, to get creativity flowing, centre our minds and have some fun with those around us.

Many veterans and their families took part in the competition by using pumpkins donated or their own. It was a great success which generated a lot of attention and awareness around the importance of taking care of our mental health.

 

Congratulations to our winners, Kyle and Kathryn!

 

The next Stress Down Day is on Friday 26th March 2021.

Winner of the adult entry - Kathryn!
Winner of the adult entry - Kathryn!
Stress Down Day logo carving
Stress Down Day logo carving
Stress Down Day logo
Stress Down Day logo

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Scarborough Allotment
Scarborough Allotment

Covid-19 has impacted the lives of people all over the world. In March, lockdown started in the UK which left many of the veterans we support extremely vulnerable. Our local café hubs provide a safe and welcoming space for veterans to receive support, be that therapy, joining an activity or simply enjoying a friendly chat with a decent cup of coffee. Due to Covid-19 our hubs have been forced to temporarily close, leaving many veterans with no direct touchpoint, and putting their wellbeing and mental health at risk. FirstLight Trust has adapted its practices to continue to provide support within up to date government guidelines.

Case Study on Homelessness - June 2020:

FirstLight Trust’s Support Coordinator, Sally, received a phone call from North Yorkshire Police to advise that a veteran, RS, was on a bridge in Scarborough threatening to end his life. RS has issues with alcohol, and he was also struggling in his long-term relationship with his partner who he is now separated from.

Over the course of a weekend, RS and his partner had consumed large amounts of alcohol which resulted in arguments and caused a breakdown in their relationship. RS had recently given up his flat and moved in with his partner but following the end of their relationship he was asked to leave.

RS’s mental health worsened when he became street homeless and was consuming large amounts of alcohol. Sally worked with the police to talk RS around and then began working with him directly. Sally spent time to talking to RS, getting him something to eat and drink. She then started working with the housing options team at Scarborough Borough Council to find RS accommodation.

Sally was able to contact a local bed and breakfast in Scarborough willing to house RS on an ongoing basis insuring that RS was secure until a long-term plan could be worked out. Sally also managed to source a food parcel and other essential items for RS.

Sally is working with the housing options team to bid on properties for RS to move into long term. RS has also returned to work full-time and continues to engage with FirstLight Trust.

RS has not returned to his ex-partner and is working with the local police to take back his beloved dog when he has his own accommodation.

 

Our support colleagues continually provide excellent support to veterans virtually and over the phone. We have also been making wellbeing calls to those in our system to check whether they are in need of support or assistance. In May and June, two hundred and fifty wellbeing calls were made to veterans and their families.

Following recent changes to guidelines issued by the UK government some of our activities are back up and running. Attached to this report are pictures from the Cycle Club and Scarborough Allotment.

Gosport Cycle Club
Gosport Cycle Club

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Star Baker Sian
Star Baker Sian

March is a big campaign month for FirstLight Trust, starting with our popular bi-annual Bake Off with a twist! In celebration of National Pie Week, our hub colleagues got to work to make a variety of delicious pies, from sweet to savoury. Congratulations to Sian, our Hub Leader in Hereford, who was voted Star Baker! The hubs raised a fantastic £238 in donations across the board which will go towards supporting veterans of the armed forces and emergency services.

International Women’s Day

Unified celebrations took place across our hubs last week for International Women’s Day. The theme was afternoon tea and the day was about women supporting women; female veterans sharing stories about their time serving. The day was filled with laughter, fun and cake!

Thank you so much to our incredible hub colleagues for organising such a fantastic day, and to our lovely veterans who made the day so special.

COMING UP…

The littlexlittle campaign

Please support us in GlobalGiving’s upcoming campaign! If you donate any amount up to $50 between the dates of Monday 23rd and Friday 27th March, GlobalGiving will match it by 50% helping us to make a small donation go a long way. 

Stress Down Day

Join us on Friday 27th March in one of our café hubs in Gosport, Lancaster, Hawick, Hereford, Redcar or Scarborough. We will be running short Stretch for Stress Down exercise sessions as well as promotional deals and the sale of SDD merchandise throughout the day.

Stress Down Day began in 2017 with the introduction of the simple but effective ‘stretch and yawn’. The campaign takes place twice a year, on each Friday before the clocks go forward and back. The time between October and March are the darkest of the year and for many who work with vulnerable people experiencing mental health issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety, it is known as suicide season. Extra care and support should be available to people during this time, and Stress Down Day is a reminder that small acts can make a big difference to our health and wellbeing.

We're looking forward to welcoming you into the hubs! Thank you, as always, for your continual support.

International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
International Women's Day
Stress Down Day: 27th March
Stress Down Day: 27th March

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Star Baker Natasha
Star Baker Natasha

Giving Tuesday and FirstLight Trust’s Festive Bake Off

We witnessed another incredibly successful Bake Off taking place across our six hubs, this time on Giving Tuesday and with a festive twist! FirstLight colleagues baked many mouth-watering cakes and the competition was hotly contested, with customers voting for their favourite. Following the announcement of the six hub winners, they were uploaded to our Facebook page and our online supporters had the opportunity to vote for Star Baker, which was our newest Hawick Hub Assistant, Natasha!

Our posts on Facebook for the festive Bake Off generated the highest amount of views we have ever receieved, reaching a staggering 36,000 people! This event has pushed out our scope tremendously and it has hopefully reached more veterans in need. 

Donations received on Giving Tuesday towards preventing homelessness for veterans in the UK -

Cash donations in the hubs generated by the Bake Off (approx.) £260

Through GlobalGiving (approx.) £60

Total (approx.) - £320

 

Case Study from Hereford (updates from last report)

DL will be completing his CSCS (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) training on the 16th December. It is hoped that he will be ‘on site’ in early January. DL is now living in a shared house, a stones throw from the build he will be working on; he has already completed some training and has bonded with fellow peers on the self-build.

DL continues to engage and participate with local veteran organisations. He stated, “The best thing I ever did was walk into Firstlight Trust, they have turned my life around. I now have purpose and goals, they have done more for me than anyone else ever has”.

DL sees his son regularly and is looking forward to decorating his own home. He is also continuing with his walking and raising awareness for homelessness. He will be walking Hadrian’s wall in March, and is currently making sure he has all the correct ‘kit’!

 

Year-End Campaign

GlobalGiving will 100% match any recurring donations made by the 31st December, provided their incentive fund hasn’t run out! If you were thinking about becoming one of our recurring donors, now is the perfect time. Please be aware that you will need to remain a recurring donor for at least 4 months for the matching funds to take effect, but of course any donation is extremely welcome.. 

For more information please click the link at the bottom of the page.

 

Enjoy a meal and help a Veteran

If you're in London this month and are in need of a dinner recommendation then look no further than the French chain of restaurants, Aubaine. Throughout December, their guests will have the option to donate £1 on their bill which will all go to FirstLight Trust’s project on preventing homelessness for Veterans in the UK.

Aubaine has establishments in Brompton Road, Kensington, Marylebone, Mayfair, Notting Hill, London Selfridges, and Covent Garden. You can read more about this campaign on our website (please click the link at the bottom of the page)

 

Thank you so much for your continual support throughout 2019. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Gosport winner - Riah
Gosport winner - Riah
Hereford winner - Louise
Hereford winner - Louise
Redcar winner - Rachel
Redcar winner - Rachel
Scarborough winner Una
Scarborough winner Una
Lancaster winner - Wendy
Lancaster winner - Wendy

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Organization Information

FirstLight Trust

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @FirstLightTrust
Project Leader:
Rose Bradbury
London, United Kingdom
$6,463 raised of $10,000 goal
 
122 donations
$3,537 to go
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