Veterans Supporting Veterans started as a small focused project for ex-army veterans. It quickly turned into wider community support as demand from those in need increased. Elderly, disabled, vulnerable and homeless people came to the attention of the supporting veterans. The rich military history around Aldershot, ‘the home of the British Army’ alongside the disciplined and organised nature of ex-army veterans, soon began to pay dividends for those in need around North Hampshire, Surrey and beyond.
The Shots in the Community Foundation (the charitable arm of Aldershot Town Football Club) has been working tirelessly across the wider community, particularly during the COVID 19 crisis. Its work led to many projects aimed at promoting healthier lifestyles and developing community support groups. Working with schools, clubs and local organisations the Shots Foundation organised and provided access to events as well as free match day tickets. Although the COVID crisis limited the number of events, recent easing of restrictions has allowed the organisation of activities, such as ‘Oldershots Walking Football’
After the successful launch of the ex-army Veterans Hub, more than a year ago, the Shots in the Community Foundation developed a ‘Veterans Supporting Veterans’ project. Using a mini-bus hired from Rushmoor Voluntary Services they currently carry out day to day support for veterans, and recently the wider community, by shopping for essential items, taking people to hospital appointments and the provision of gardening and maintenance support for those in need across the wider community.
In partnership with Mike Jackson House they use their kitchens to produce hot nutritious meals cooked by ex-army veterans and delivered across the community to those in need.
Dave Gollop (featured in the video) is an example of a veteran who transitioned out of the army into accommodation, trained in horticulture, food hygiene and cooking and is now self-reliant and supporting others. He is now a key member of the ‘Veterans Supporting Veterans’ team and a real success in helping others to learn gardening and cooking skills. Training will be provided for other veterans in Level 1 and 2 horticulture and/or food hygiene, preparation and cooking so that they can help in the planned wider community support that will be provided initially across Aldershot, North Hampshire and Surrey.
Planned developments include the setting up of a helpline for veterans, elderly, disabled, vulnerable and homeless people in need across the wider community. They too will be supported with home deliveries, gardening and home maintenance work where appropriate. The project empowers veterans to help one another and the wider community. Community based projects like this are a real life line for mental and physical well-being for both veterans and members of the wider community who are vulnerable or in need of support. The Shots Foundation wish to extend this successful project further across a range of vital community issues, including disability participation in sport (Level Playing Field), Football against Homophobia as well as Alzheimer's awareness campaigns and campaigns against domestic violence (White Ribbon).