Founded in January 2018, Sunderland based Veterans in Crisis responds to the needs of troubled ex-service men and women from the British forces.
Many veterans leave the forces experiencing some form of mental health issues, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety and depression, with Veterans in Crisis Founder and Project Lead, Gerard Fowler being one of them.
As a result of his time in Northern Ireland serving for the British Army in the late 1980s, Ger experienced PTSD, but after years of counselling and support from his family and friends - he was able to recover.
Realising there wasn’t a service for veterans with multiple and complex needs in the North East, combined with a genuine passion and desire to help those in need, Ger set up Veterans in Crisis, and in just over a year - has become Sunderland’s prime service helping over 130 veterans.
The service aims to provide a lifeline for every stage of recovery, from support and education, right down to emergency accommodation. And in partnership with Advantex Network Solutions and North East training provider Springboard, which owns the building in Roker, Veterans in Crisis has developed the four storey facility, providing veterans with a state-of-the-art 24-hour facility.
Springboard aims to support the development of sustainable communities where people have the skills they need for work and life.
Steve Reay, Head of Business Development at Springboard said:
“As a community development and training organisation it is a great honour to support such a worthy initiative, and we look forward to a long partnership.”
Installing the building with the latest IP Surveillance and IT equipment, including infrastructure and wireless Internet access throughout the building – Advantex Network Solutions will allow Veterans In Crisis to provide a safe and secure place for the veterans to get some much-needed respite from their troubles.
Steve O’Connell, Sales and Marketing Director at Advantex Network Solutions added:
“As a former Royal Marine myself, this is a service which is very close to my heart having suffered from mental illness myself which Ger helped me with back in 2016 when I lived in Sunderland.
Seeing the work and services that Ger and the rest of the folks at Veterans in Crisis provide is simply amazing – and to be able to give something back as a business like this is something I’m particularly proud of.
We see so many of our former colleagues who gave so much for their country needing support, with too many of them taking their own life as a result of mental health issues.
I’m excited for the future, and I look forward to helping Ger and his team grow as a partner over the years to come in helping more and more veterans”
With the doors set to open in June this year, the Roker buildings facilities will include a state-of-the-art podcast studio, a classroom kitted out with the latest technology and software, as well as a therapy room and emergency accommodation for those in need of immediate help.
Director at Veterans in Crisis, John Sargent said:
“Establishing a 24-hour emergency facility for Veterans in Crisis is a high priority for us. The support that Advantex has given us has been crucial in achieving that ambition, and we are now proud to call them a partner”
During its first year, Veterans in Crisis has been supported by the Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and Sunderland Council as well as numerous local people who respond to the cause. They also raise funds, all of which are injected back in to helping veterans, via the sale of merchandise including hoodies and t-shirts.