Sunderland City Council is encouraging residents to sign up for the Spring funding round of Crowdfund Sunderland by highlighting projects that have benefitted from the scheme.

The platform, which launched in January 2020, will be hosting a free virtual launch event on Thursday 25 February to allow potential projects to learn about how the scheme works, as well as receive advice on boosting their projects and gaining more pledges. Projects signing up could receive ÂŁ3000 towards their projects if their target is reached.

One project that reached its target was set up by Veterans in Crisis.

Veterans in Crisis is an organisation set up by Ger Fowler. After suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from serving in the Army, he set up the business to help other veterans who may be struggling.

Some veterans of the armed forces have nothing when they leave, which can lead to homelessness, mental health, drug and alcohol problems. Veterans in Crisis help to find these veterans a place to live, and through donations can provide furniture and white goods.

They work closely with Sunderland City Council, Gentoo, and employment and training agencies in Sunderland to help homeless veterans get back on their feet.

With increasing demand, the Transit Van that had been used from starting the organisation was no longer enough. The organisation began their Crowdfund appeal to try and raise ÂŁ10,000 to purchase a second-hand Luton Van with a tail lift.

The purchase of the van would allow for more veterans and their families to be moved into accommodation, which would in turn create jobs and volunteering roles for unemployed veterans who could work on the van. Their goal ultimately is to help make Sunderland the best place in the UK for veterans to live.

Ger Fowler, CEO of Veterans in Crisis, said: “The response from the community of Sunderland to our Crowdfunding appeal was tremendous. We exceeded our target which meant that together, with a very generous grant from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, we have been able to purchase a brand-new Luton van.

“Veterans in Crisis is the primary third sector organisation serving the needs of veterans and their families. Many are homeless when they come to us and, with the support of Sunderland City Council, Gentoo and a wide range of the city’s other organisations, we can find them new accommodation.

“Local people gift us furniture and white goods, which means that we are able to furnish the accommodation before they move in. The Luton van means that we can now do this safely, quickly and efficiently.

“In the near future, we will be starting removals and household clearance business which will create jobs, an income stream for Veterans in Crisis, and help even more vulnerable veterans and their families in the city. We are grateful to Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group for the part they played in helping make this all happen.”

Crowdfund Sunderland brings together residents, communities and businesses to fund projects that communities want and need. Projects must receive pledges to hit their target, and on doing so Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group will match-fund the project.

Since launching at the start of last year, many projects have received support across different communities in Sunderland. They were assessed by Sunderland City Council, before commencing fundraising, to ensure the projects are viable and deliverable. These projects all work to support the delivery of the City Plan, Neighbourhood Investment Plans, improve health and wellbeing, the environment and community resilience.

Councillor Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “Veterans in Crisis is a local organisation that means a great deal to our residents, and helps improve the lives of so many people who served for our country. I am not surprised that the people of Sunderland would back this project, and I am proud to say that Sunderland City Council can match-fund this.

“The great work that Veterans in Crisis will provide through the purchase of their van is just one of the amazing things happening in our city thanks to Crowdfund Sunderland. If you have an idea that could also benefit our community, then I urge you to attend the virtual launch event for the Spring funding and find out how you can also make this into a reality.”

Find out more about Crowdfund Sunderland and how you can start your own project at www.spacehive.com/movement/crowdfundsunderland

Attend the free Spring funding launch event at www.spacehive.com/movement/crowdfundsunderland/news


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