Do a walk this December to serve those who have served us
Military charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is estimating it will treble the number of ex-servicemen and women it supports in 2018, following a 97% increase last year to more than 1,000. With Christmas fast approaching, for many a time of financial pressure and loneliness, more ex-service personnel than ever require support. “This time last year I was living in the woods. Thanks to WWTW, this Christmas I am in a job and have a roof over my head”, says Richard, who served 4 years as a Trooper in the 13/18th Royal Hussars.
This December, Walking With The Wounded is asking the British public to sign up to their Christmas appeal, Walking Home For Christmas, to raise vital funds for those wounded who have little to look forward to this upcoming festive season. The charity hopes to raise a quarter of a million pounds which will enable the charity to change the lives of more than 400 men and women. The campaign is proudly supported by Wolsey, who during World War 1 supplied over 18 million woollen jerseys, scarves and pieces of underwear to the British Armed Forces.
Evidence shows that there are still thousands of ex-service personnel like Richard who are struggling or haven’t yet sought the support they require. Walking With The Wounded’s mission is to support all ex-servicemen and women with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long term security for themselves and their families. In Richard’s case, he spent 9 months travelling on foot and sleeping rough, having gone through a ‘dark spell’. At one point, he was living in a ‘basher’ (a military shelter) in the woods for 15 months. Since Richard was contacted by WWTW’s Project Nova, he says his life has been on an ‘upward spiral’. Project Nova was able to secure him a place in supported accommodation, help him to create his first CV and give him interview practice. He is consequently now back in full time employment.
Andy Sloan, Events Manager at WWTW said: “Too many of our ex-military have little to look forward to this Christmas. They’ve walked in far more dangerous environments for us, so it is the least we can all do to organise a walk for them.”
Andy Sloan continues: “We want people to throw on a Santa hat, call up old friends and raise some funds so that we can support these men and women back into work, back into independence and into a place where they can look forward to and enjoy Christmas with their families.”
This Christmas, Walking With The Wounded is asking the British public to do a walk of any sort between Friday 8th – Sunday 17th December for our wounded ex-servicemen and women, those who without our support could be on the streets, without a job, isolated from their family, in debt or in prison. Richard said: “I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my godson and his family. I’ll be able to buy them presents, something I never thought possible.”
In addition to supporting these vulnerable men and women, Rod Eldridge, Clinical Lead at WWTW, reminds us that: “Walking as a form of physical activity is well known to be associated with improving mental health, particularly lowering rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.” It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of depression and up to a 30% lower risk of dementia. Some scientists think that it can improve mental wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge. Thus contributing another reason why WWTW are urging the great British public to get out and about this December, get active and in turn serve those who have served us.
For more information, please visit www.walkinghomeforchristmas.com
How to take part
- Sign up at walkinghomeforchristmas.com
- Receive your Santa hat and fundraising pack in the post.
- Set a date and put your best foot forward between Friday 8th – Sunday 17th December.
Last year Tom (age 9) walked to school with his dad, Wendy (age 62) walked everyday in December in her local town, dressed as Father Christmas and Adam (age 36) ran from Bath to Belfast to join his family for Christmas Day. Whatever you decide to do, your steps will make a difference to the futures of our wounded.