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The year gone by: Ed Tytherleigh blog

2016 has been without doubt a fantastic year for Stoll. Most notably, we have been marking our Centenary; Stoll has been helping ex-Servicemen and women for 100 years. To celebrate this we have held hugely successful, star-studded events to raise essential funds; commenced work on building 34 properties for Veterans in Aldershot as part of our commitment to build 100 new homes to celebrate 100 years, and we continued to provide best-in-class accommodation and support to those who have Served our country.

In light of all this, we felt we should start a series of monthly blogs to showcase our work and more importantly, our staff and the Veterans we help. This is the first of what I hope will be many. We’ll be giving insight into the different services we provide and the people that make this happen, the hugely exciting events that we have coming up and the stories of Veterans who have turned their lives around with Stoll. Did you know for instance:

–       that 25 Veterans have joined our existing Stoll communities in the last twelve months?

–       that our innovative partnership with local authorities and housing associations has also led to nearly 100 Veterans being housed in appropriate accommodation in towns and cities across the UK?

–       and that our outreach team has supported more than 130 people in the last two years, arranging accommodation and referring people to health and employment services?

We hope that by reading these blogs more people leaving the Armed Forces will be aware of the help we can offer – should they ever need it. Leaving the Forces can be an extremely difficult time so if you know a vulnerable Veteran in housing need, please do send them our way. We have developed this video to show how we can help and the work that we do to support Service Leavers in need.

To kick things off this month we have included photos of our fabulous Gala dinner at the Savoy in November. The dinner was held to raise essential funds for our pledge to build 100 new homes for vulnerable Veterans. 100 years ago our founder, Sir Oswald Stoll, held a very similar event at the Savoy so it was fitting that we recreated the moment a century later. We had the pleasure of Christopher Biggins hosting the evening and by asking people to come up and pledge £250 on the spot, he raised £10000 in the blink of any eye! We also had a number of wonderful prizes as part of our silent auction and have so far raised around £30,000 with more to come. It really was a superb evening and I was delighted that a number of Stoll Veterans and members of the military were able to attend. I even got to sit on a table with two Field Marshals!

We also hosted a very successful carol concert in December, held at the beautiful St Paul’s in Knightsbridge. Our Patron, Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, attended along with Sir Oswald’s Great Grandson, the Band of the Irish Guards and the South London Military Wives Choir.

2016 also saw a particularly poignant March Past the Cenotaph on the 13th November. A number of Stoll Veterans and I took part in the March to remember those who have fallen in conflict. We were honoured to take part in such an important event and it further reinforced our pride that Stoll has provided housing and support to Veterans in need for 100 years. To mark this we also held a small ceremony at the Stoll Mansions in Fulham at 11am on the 11th November and unveiled a memorial.

None of our work would be possible without the support of those who give money to Stoll. I am very grateful to all our funders, partners and supporters – you are helping us make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of Veterans. I would also like to thank those of you who have attended our events or run, cycled or abseiled for us during the year. You can read more about how your efforts help us make an impact here.

Finally, I am absolutely delighted to announce that our Director of Services Iain George won The Atkins Award for Excellence in Support of Service Leaders at the Pathfinders Resettlement Awards in November. This is hugely well deserved and follows significant time and effort from Iain to help vulnerable Veterans who are transitioning out of the Armed Forces. Transition is as many of us know, an extremely difficult time in people’s lives and Iain has led the wonderful outreach team here at Stoll to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible for all those we help.

On that note, Iain George will be the author of next month’s blog, providing insight into some of our services here at Stoll and the different ways we help vulnerable Service Leavers to find suitable accommodation.

Thank you for reading and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!