We’re often on Twitter (that’s a bit of an understatement! :)) and a little while ago we spotted a post about a charity appeal we really wanted to shout about – so, this #charitytuesday we’re sharing a little bit about the campaign set up by Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH) to help house homeless veterans and provide them with specialist care.
Here’s TAH’s 'Four Thoughts', to give some insight in to their work and how we can support the appeal.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about the appeal?
Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH) support those at risk of homelessness and those who have become homeless. We have 40 years experience of helping people and 16 properties across Taunton, Bridgwater, Wellington and West Somerset - providing rooms for 181 people.
We’re now looking to increase our properties and provide specialised projects and support for those most vulnerable, so we’re starting a homeless veterans service. We’ll be converting our old office building in to accommodation, with 8 bedrooms to help meet the needs of homeless veterans and to assist their recovery. The ground floor will be wheelchair accessible and suitable for those who may have physical disabilities. As the conversion will take a lot of work, we’re looking for the support of our kind community to help us make this happen.
2. Why is this appeal so important and what difference will it make to the veterans lives?
We’re starting this project as we’re aware of the growing number of veterans using homeless services, including ours. Homeless charity ‘Crisis’ estimates that as many as 1 in 10 homeless individuals are veterans and our own figures support this, with 12.9% of the people we help being ex-servicemen.
We understand they need more specialised support to help with complex and varied needs, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, institutionalisation and social isolation. Many veterans that come to us have faced difficult experiences during their time in service and have struggled with civilian life. Having fought for our country, it’s so important they get the support they need and deserve.
Housing will be just the start of our service for veterans. Through key support work, we'll be able to make referrals to other suitable support agencies to help with issues such as mental health or addictions. This service will really help towards recovery and get people back on the road to independence.
3. How can people help if they'd like to?
Although we’ve secured some funds to get this project off the ground, we now need the help of our community to make sure we can provide the best possible service for our local veterans. Contributions will allow us to create a safe and comfortable environment where they can work, alongside our support workers, to regain confidence, independence and eventually move on to their own private accommodation.
What we need most is financial contributions towards our conversion. Any donations made will go towards jobs as big as installing wet rooms, to the smaller but still important work of furnishing the property.
We also need to spread awareness and we’d love to get this project and new service out there and in front of as many local people as possible. If you can share it with friends, family, colleagues and more, we’d be very grateful. This will make sure that if anyone is ever in need, they'll know exactly where to go.
4. Can you share your hopes for the campaign and the wider community?
Our hopes are to have this project up and running by December 2017. We’ve been very passionate about starting a service like this for some time, and we’re excited it’s now becoming reality! We hope our community is able to connect with the project and be a part of it every step of the way. It’s going to assist the most vulnerable in our community - those that have fought for our country and are now facing distress. They need and deserve our help and it will be our pleasure to provide that help, when our accommodation is ready to be lived in. We hope this project means we’re able to reduce homelessness amongst veterans - and to provide a place where they can feel comfortable, safe and secure.
We're also really keen to explore the skills that many veterans have from their time in service and for those skills to be used. We plan to offer veterans training in mentoring, so they can become a valuable part of own services by mentoring some of our younger people in need.
If you’re able to help, you can donate here and it’s good to talk... so spread the word if you possibly can.
We’ve chatted to a number of different charities now, since the blog has been up and running - and every time we do, it always shows how Somerset communities come together to make a genuine difference for people, animals, the surrounding environment and lots more varied causes too. Something to be very proud of.
Thanks for having a read about this particular campaign and we’ll be posting more ‘Charity Tuesday’ interviews soon.