Change Step, an all Wales service for military veterans is launching an online campaign to raise awareness of the role families play in the transition into civilian life and the recovery from issues which some ex-service men and women struggle with upon leaving the Armed Forces.
Part of the charity CAIS, the Change Step project is a veteran to veteran, peer mentoring service. They are there for both Welsh veterans and their families; service users contact them for help with a range of issues resulting from military service, be that PTSD, homelessness, addictions, unemployment or abuse.
To raise awareness of the veteran’s services and to help raise vital funds for the sustainability of the project, on the 7th August, Change Step are launching an online campaign called #VeteransShoes, in the hope that both veterans and “civvies” will join in and spread the word online to all their friends and networks.
Fundraising Manager, Linzi Jones informs “Have you heard that old saying “Walk a mile in my shoes if you want to understand me”? At Change Step, its more than just a saying, it is the crux of all that we do! Our peer mentors have all served in the Armed Forces and support our service users like only another veteran can. The campaign however, is to highlight the significant role family members play, who may not have physically walked a mile in their veteran’s shoes, but have been there to support them every step of the way”.
Change Step aim to show this journey symbolically through a single photograph. Director of Change Step, Geraint Jones explains that “There is a huge online community of serving and ex-service men and women who all use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep in contact, support each other and reminisce. We hope that these communities will engage with the campaign as an opportunity to find old comrades, celebrate our heroes and especially our unsung heroes, their families”
Through the campaign, Change Step hopes both veterans and their families will discover friends and comrades who they have lost touch with over the years. Isolation and loneliness due to loss of the comradery, brotherhood / sisterhood formed during service, is a significant factor in mental health issues for many veterans. Change Step hope that, through this campaign, many veterans will be reunited.
To join in with the campaign, visit any of the dedicated Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, JustGiving, Youtube and Google+ pages. Take a photo of yourself with your veteran, wearing his or her shoes. Tell everyone about your veteran, who they are, which regiment they represented, during which years they served. Show the world how proud you are of them. Share that photo with your friends via social media and if you feel so inclined, donate to Change Step using the text code Shoe22 followed by the amount you’d like to give to 70070. Every penny raised in the campaign will go directly to the veteran’s service to ensure that veterans and their families get the vital help that they need.
For further information please contact Change Step Fundraising Manager Linzi Jones.