MERRY CHRISTMAS 2021

To everyone who has supported our work here at HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS Charity no 1148155 this year during which we have helped 95 veterans so far since 1st January, may I thank you and wish you and those you care for a very Merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year. Despite the difficulties faced with the ongoing pandemic restricting activities we have managed to remain in a good position to allow us to meet virtually all requests for assistance we have received, much of those funds have come from many good people prepared to put themselves out to raise cash to help those less fortunate than themselves.  So thankyou once again and Seasons Greetings to all.

FUN ON THE FARM FOR VETERANS

HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS in conjunction with Jamie Quinn of Hall Farm Messingham supported by a grant from The VETERANS FOUNDATION has started arranging day visits to the farm for fun and therapy.  It is well known being with animals has a calming effect on most people so Jamie a former RAF Gunner who served in the RAF Regiment alongside our CEO Steve Bentham-Bates on 16 Sqn RAF Regt in West Germany and the Falklands got together and came up with this idea.

If you would like to have a free day out meet other veterans and enjoy being in the fresh air working with animals then email the CEO at the following

ceohelp4homelessveterans@gmail.com

CHARITY FOUNDER TOM WOOD RECEIVES AN MBE FOR SERVICES TO HOMELESS VETERANS DURING COVID

On the 28th July 2021 the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorksh

ire, Mr Andrew Coombe CVO presented Tom Wood with the MBE on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen as investiture at Buckingham Palace has been suspended due to covid pandemic.

 

This was an excellent afternoon surrounded by his

close family and friends from the charity.

THE SOLDIERS FUND DONATES £15,000 TO HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS

The Soldiers’ Charity provides a grant for homeless veterans in need

The Soldiers’ Charity has recently awarded a grant of £15,000 to Help 4 Homeless Veterans, a charity based in South Yorkshire, which provides assistance to former Service personnel throughout England and Wales who need a helping hand with day-to-day living costs.

Help 4 Homeless Veterans, founded in 2013, has helped over 600 former members of the Armed Forces with formers soldiers making up the majority. Help has been given in the form of payments for rents and bonds as well as provision of essential items such as beds, kitchen equipment, TVs and food.

The charity’s founder, Tom Wood, was awarded an MBE for services to the homeless during the pandemic. A merit to the hard work it does for our community.

Steve Bentham-Bates, CEO of Help 4 Homeless Veterans, says: “The trustees and I are delighted with this latest grant as it will enable us to continue assisting ex-soldiers. On behalf of everyone involved with our charity, and especially the former soldiers who will receive direct support as a result of this grant, thankyou to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.”

The charity recently helped a former Infantry soldier from the early 1970s who was being threaten with eviction. It stepped in and assisted with paying his bond and rent to help him move nearer his family in the East Midlands.

A message from the former soldier:

“I am now starting a new life thanks to the financial assistance from Help 4 Homeless Veterans which sent me money on Christmas Eve and

provided funds to cover my move to Nottingham and my first month’s rent to help me restart.

It’s daunting, but I now have the strength to use my own abilities to move on. I genuinely thank you all for my life. You were there. No one else was.”

NEW TRUSTEE JOINS THE TEAM JOHN MAYO

HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS Charity no 1148155 is delighted to welcome our new Trustee to the team today 30th March 2021
John MAYO was commissioned into The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in December 1988 serving worldwide for 18 years before retiring to become General Manager of a country estate outside York.

He has since worked in a precision engineering company in Sheffield, as a Full-Time Reservist, delivering in partnership with the CEO of H4HV, the Armed Forces Community Covenant into the 9 Local Authorities of South and West Yorkshire and working with employers to highlight the benefits of employing Veterans and Reservists. In January 2016 he joined NHS Digital as a Senior Project Manager where he has worked on numerous programmes, most recently the Covid-19 Testing programme.
John brings a wealth of military and commercial experience.

TWO NEW AMBASSADORS JOIN THE CHARITY TEAM

As CEO of HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS charity no 1148155 it gives me great pleasure to announce two new members of our team.
Firstly, Samantha Bumford has returned to us to continue the amazing ambassadorial work she did for us previously including that infamous Wing Walk. I remain in awe of her bravery for that alone. Sam is a reigning Beauty Queen and proudly displays our charity logo on her sash raising awareness of our work wherever she travels around the Country. Welcome Back Sam, I am sure you will rise even above the heights you already reached for us in the coming months.
Secondly, a old professional and later personal friend of mine David Winterburn who is the Founder & Managing Director at HARRISON WINTERBURN Ltd in Leeds. We have history going back over 20 years, and I am confident, that just like Sam, and not forgetting our other lady Ambassador AMBER GUYMER-HOSKING, he will by using his connections in the highest echelons of national businesses raise awareness and attract substantial support in time.
That concludes the new line up of AMBASSADORS for HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS. Please join me in welcoming them.

MBE AWARD FOR FOUNDER TOM WOOD NEW YEARS HONOURS LIST 2021

PRESS RELEASE
NEW YEARS HONOURS LIST 2021- AN MBE FOR MR TOM WOOD FOR SERVICES TO HOMELESS VETERANS
On behalf of The Trustees, Volunteers, myself but most of all the 600 veterans including some partners and children who have received assistance through the charity created by Tom Wood and his wife Jean ten years ago, it gives me great pleasure to announce Tom Wood has been awarded the MBE national honour for the work he has done through our charity HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS since he created it in 2010.
We believe no Veteran of HM Armed Forces should be homeless. We provide advice, financial and practical support to veterans facing homelessness throughout England and Wales enabling them to rebuild their lives.
This honour represents the pinnacle of all the awards we at our charity have received for our work, it is fitting that the man who started it all should be recognized in this way and I hope it will encourage many other veterans to step forward to assist other former members of HM Armed Forces facing serious difficulties in their lives as the work goes on unabated.
Steve Bentham-Bates
CEO

CEO CHRISTMAS 2020 MESSAGE

CHRISTMAS 2020 MESSAGE FROM THE CEO OF HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS
Well where do you start with 2020? Unprecedented certainly, challenging definitely, rewarding without doubt and better for a number of veterans who received our assistance since last Christmas.
We have managed to offer support and advice to 93 veterans since Christmas 2019. This has been delivered by paying Rents, bonds, provision of essential goods such as a new bed, cookers, fridges TVs pots and pans.
Despite all the restrictions that the pandemic has thrown at us, we have continued to operate non-stop and remain proud of our rapid reaction times to responses for help requests, regularly surprising people how quickly we get back to them.
We have helped veterans as far afield as Jersey, Haverfordwest, Scottish Border and all points in between including quite a few around Yorkshire. The majority are former soldiers, a few RAF and RN and 1 RM. Some help has been given not just to individual veterans but also to partners and children too.
We have just like so many charities struggled to fund raise but we have been lucky to attract a few decent grants to enable us to continue operations without financial worry maintaining our reserves. We have also benefited from the generous support from various supporters thank you.
Our exceptional work over the past few years has been recognized by a variety of Group and Individual awards, but this year we received the ultimate accolade any charity can earn. Her Majesty The Queen rewards the very best charities with her Queens Award for Voluntary Service. We were one of only two charities in South Yorkshire presented with this prestigious award this year something we are all justifiably proud of receiving.
As I write this with one week left until Christmas Day we are today currently working with 4 veterans providing assistance and I have no doubt in the next week there will be more, we may even reach 100 by then.
Finally, looking forward to next year I predict even greater rewards as our work ethic is stronger than ever and we are already planning to introduce the FARM THERAPY PROJECT linking up with an old RAF colleague Jamie Quinn to get Veterans out in the fresh air doing something different and helping with their mental health wellbeing.
The other initiative we are getting ready to introduce is a drop-in centre/shop in Barnsley town centre.
Of course our core work helping homeless veterans will continue as always, sadly the numbers continue to rise each year, but we will always try our level best to help when asked by individual veterans in need.
2020 has been a difficult year but I am confident that 2021 will be better and HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS charity and our tiny team of excellent volunteers will rise to the future challenges to keep us right up there with the best military charities providing help to our fellow Veterans in their hour of need.
Steve Bentham-Bates

FUND RAISING HAIR RAISING STYLE!

Samantha our star volunteer from the South Coast did an amazing Wing Walk to raise funds for us a while ago.  Inspired to do something please get in touch.

REFLECTIONS ON 5 YEARS AS THE CEO

REFLECTIONS OF 5 YEARS AS CEO OF HELP 4 HOMELESS VETERANS  MAKING A DIFFERENCE

October 2015 aged 60 contemplating early retirement having opted for redundancy after 18 years with RFEA assisting hundreds of service leavers into work, I thought I’ve done my bit,  I’ve made a difference, stand-down.

Kevin Hartley and Tom Wood thought otherwise and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse asking me to become the first CEO of Help 4 Homeless Veterans on 1st November 2015.

I thought, I’ll give it a go, it’s a new challenge rekindling my enthusiasm.  I know Veterans, perhaps I can make a difference to some more lives.  Well I think I have done that.

After 5 years in post, the charity has supported nearly 300 more veterans (600 since 2010) some living in dire circumstances.   We regularly pay for emergency B & B to get veterans off the streets.  Longer term we have provided fully furnished homes, paid rents/bonds, bought new beds to sleep on (some for the first time in a long time), furniture, cookers, fridges, right down to KFS. Also through a link with BFBS provided TVs, some TV licences for veterans to help with their mental well-being; we have taken veterans food shopping, some who hadn’t eaten for days.

On 10th September we received The Queens Award for Voluntary Service (The MBE for Groups).  The highest award any charity can receive and formal recognition of just how far we have come, something I am extremely proud of being a major part of. All those volunteers who have contributed to our work should also be equally proud of this fantastic achievement being one of just two charities in the County to gain this recognition this year. This was our second Royal award, outstanding in anyone’s book!  Our work was even mentioned in The House of Commons recently highlighting our contribution to a housing minister by my MP.

We can go no further in terms of public recognition by awards, but we won’t be resting on our laurels I can assure you!

We can and we will continue to develop new ways to help the most vulnerable veterans.  Before I finally step down as CEO, I hope to open a drop-in centre shop in Barnsley our home.

Over the past 5 years at H4HV we have kept our overheads low enabling us to better ride out the current fund-raising difficulties all charities are facing in these unprecedented times.

My salary has been low averaging £11.7k p.a.  recently increased by our Chair, but money was never the driving force of me taking the role.  I strongly believe all charity CEOs and senior staff shouldn’t receive massive salaries (ie: more than an MP perhaps?) especially those military ones run by retired senior officers already drawing a comfortable pension – the clue is in the word CHARITY!

Since leaving the RAF after 24 years’ service in 1996, Veterans charitable support has been my vocation for the following 24 years working for RAFA, RFEA, MCVC and H4HV.  I feel that this, my final posting,  as that is how I still view my working life,  is the one that enables me to do the most good of all the roles I have held, both paid and voluntary over the past 50 years, by helping the most vulnerable veterans quickly without fuss. By providing that help we have not just changed lives but have saved lives too through the charity’s rapid interventions making a real difference.

When I finally stand-down I can hold my head up high knowing I achieved that.  A number of veterans have wept with relief when we have given them a helping hand, but one message  received more than any other summarizes how important the work of our charity is and he is not the only one who has indicated this state of mind when we stepped in:

 I owe H4HV a debt of gratitude, if it wasn’t for your help, I would still be homeless, and possibly would have ended my life with everything that has happened to me

I want to publicaly thank Tom and Jean Wood who have become firm friends, and Kevin Hartley for putting their trust in me and giving me this position to lead such a fantastic small but highly effective team.  I hope you feel your decision was vindicated.  Finally, a special thankyou to John Healy our Chair – my mentor since I was lucky enough to recruit him.

 

It is a privilege to be the CEO of Help 4 Homeless Veterans making a real difference to fellow veterans whilst at their most vulnerable. My only regret is that there is a need for charities like ours in the first place.