A mountain trek, zip wire, a rowing regatta and a 10KM obstacle and mud run are just some of the activities a team of volunteers from the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) are completing to help raise money for a local veteran’s charity.
The year-long initiative is the brainchild of Kirste Worland, Head of Technology Applications within the organisation who wanted to raise money and awareness of the excellent work that is delivered by Launchpad’s Avondale House in Byker.
The charity provides accommodation and support to help veterans stabilise their lives and make a successful transition from military to civilian life.
“When I heard about the work that Launchpad does, I wanted to get involved to support the charity, given the brilliant work they do. Every year, my team and I choose something personal and important for us to support and supporting veterans is something very close to my heart,” said Kirste.
“My brother Michael served 22 years in the signals and special forces in the British Army and my dad, Norman served 12 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers. Sadly, my dad passed away last year so this year’s fundraising is very close to me.”
Five members of staff zip wired off the Tyne Bridge at the beginning of the month and Kirste, her brother and a few other colleagues completed the Big Black Mountain 50KM Challenge around the Brecon Beacons in Wales last weekend.
And it doesn’t stop there! The team are also planning a 12-mile hike in Northern Ireland, a coastal walk, a novice rowing regatta and the 10KM Stampede in Newcastle.
Their aim is to raise £500 for the charity, which relies on corporate and personal donations to help it to deliver housing and support services to its veterans. Avondale House comprises 31 self-contained flats and last year, the charity supported 152 homeless and unemployed veterans across its two sites in Newcastle and Liverpool.
To further strengthen its commitment to helping the residents and as part of its corporate social responsibility, 20 volunteers from the organisation will be working at Avondale House in July to tidy up the garden and give the courtyard a makeover by working alongside residents to educate them in horticulture and get them involved and engaged. The gardening project will also be delivered in partnership with other organisations including Virgin Money and DHL.
In addition, the company has developed a pathway into work for veterans and has already placed two veterans with a third on the way. The team also provides coaching and mentoring to help veterans in preparation for interviews by giving them the confidence and skills to secure employment and NHS Business Services Authority has also recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
Jane Miller, Head of Wellbeing and Inclusion at NHS Business Services Authority added: “Well done to Kirste and the team for their hard work and commitment. At NHSBSA, our staff are encouraged to give something back by volunteering to help others in need. They not only take part in a range of activities but they offer up valuable skills as well. This includes helping people write CVs, volunteering their own media and digital skills and much more.”
David Shaw, CEO and Co-founder of Launchpad, said: “This is wonderful news and on behalf of the charity and our residents, we are very grateful for this support. I applaud Kirste and the team at NHS Business Services Authority for their commitment and dedication to help raise awareness of Launchpad and wish them good luck in completing their other challenges.
“All funds raised will be reinvested to enable Launchpad to continue to provide accommodation and support to our veterans. In addition, we are also very grateful to the organisation for committing to help tidy the garden area within Avondale House and in doing so, engaging with some of our residents.
“If any other service-friendly organisations would like to get involved in helping to fundraise for Launchpad and support the services we provide, please do get in touch.”
To support Kirste and the other volunteers at NHS Business Services Authority, you can donate via Launchpad’s website at www.veteranslaunchpad.org.uk