The East Durham Veterans Trust (EDVT) celebrated it’s first year with a fundraising parachute jump. Over 40 brave volunteers took to the skies, with each raising at least £400 for the Trust.

EDVT registered as a charity on 17th July 2020 with the aim of supporting veterans and their families in East Durham.

The Trust’s first achievement was to establish the veteran’s hub at Dawdon Community Centre as a first point of contact and safe space for the local veterans’ community. The hub is also the centre of the Trust’s social inclusion activities, from social and support groups, one to one counselling, and events such as veterans’ breakfasts, open to all the community who want to support local veterans.

The Trust opened at an unprecedented time; in a midst of a global pandemic no one could have predicted. Staff and volunteers focused on veterans at risk of social isolation, as well as supporting the wider community effort to support those in need, particularly the elderly and vulnerable forced to shield.

In the first year nearly 100 local veterans have been supported with a range of issues such as PTSD, homelessness, addiction, debt, and fuel and food poverty.

The Trust seeks innovative ways to engage and support the veterans’ community that has led to wild camping in the Lake District, Paddle Boarding in Seaham, and Boat fishing at Sunderland.

The Trust is dependant on volunteers, grants and donations. The £400 fundraising target for the sponsored parachute jump equates to the cost of supporting one veteran through a counselling programme. Other fundraising efforts have included sponsored cricket match and tin rattling during Armed Forces Day. The parachute jump at Shotton Airfield marked the cumulation of the first years fundraising effort, and the goal of establishing the Trust and promoting awareness of veterans issues across the East Durham community.

The next year will bring more fundraising activities as the Trust seeks to support more veterans in the community, establish itself as a recovery centre and deliver further social inclusion programmes.

Over the next year the trust aims to support veterans in our community with plans to register as a smart recovery centre and more social inclusion programme.

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