A camping club for veterans has been set up thanks to a major clean up initiative at the Glastonbury Festival which allows charities to collect left-over camping equipment.

The veterans at registered charity Launchpad based in Newcastle upon Tyne, which provides extensive housing, employment and welfare support for veterans living at Avondale House in Byker, often voiced their desire to go camping to assistant manager (projects), Julie Crocker, during weekly resident’s meetings. However, a lack of kit or funding meant the camping trips could not go ahead.

Julie however, heard a news report about the initiative set up by Glastonbury Festival that allows charities to apply to visit the site to collect any leftover tents, chairs and sleeping bags once the festival is over.

After receiving a phone call with the news that Launchpad were successful in their application, two of the veterans from Avondale House drove the charity’s mini bus and began their epic journey to the site.

After a 700-mile round trip and nearly 24hrs later, they returned with enough camping equipment for all their fellow veterans. During the six-hour site visit, they managed to collect 11 tents, 16 sleeping bags, 13 camping chairs, roll mats and a double air bed.

Due to the success of the Glastonbury clean up, the veterans have been able to set up the highly anticipated camping club with the first trip planned for 21st July, where nine of them will travel to Scotland.

The veterans are now looking forward to taking part in activities such as orientation, fishing and walking.

The Launchpad camping club will benefit all involved through building their team work and communication skills, whilst encouraging them to remain active.

Two of the veterans involved will begin their Introduction to Mountain Skills course starting in August through Help for Heroes and the camping equipment will enable them to be able to practice their skills with the group when they are away on trips.

Julie Crocker, Assistant Manager (Projects) at Avondale House, said: “It’s thanks to our two veterans and the organisers of Glastonbury that the camping club can go ahead, we really couldn’t have done this without them. As a charity, we rely on the help of other organisations and donations in order to be able to support our veterans.

“Since the clean-up, we have had a follow-up phone call from Glastonbury and the veterans have been invited back in two years’ time when the festival runs again, which is fantastic.

“Our veterans have expressed that they would like to visit other festival sites to collect equipment which they would like to donate to other charities in the Byker community, it’s heart-warming to see that they are thinking of other organisations and how they can benefit from this too.”

For more information on Launchpad or to donate visit www.veteranslaunchpad.org.uk