We will be walking the 100 miles from the parish church of Ottery St Mary in Devon to Winchester Cathedral, and sleeping rough to raise awareness and money to support those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the related issue of homelessness, particularly for ex-military.
The wounds of war run deep, even more so in the mind. The wars of the 20th Century and those of the last decade, have left deep scars on those many thousands who have served. Mental scars impact their lives for many years after the intensity of combat has gone away. Many deal with their problems better than others but still need help. For some their lives are forever changed and they are unable to cope, leading to hopes dashed, potential unrealised, and families destroyed. A large number end up on the streets, no longer able to cope, some affected by alcohol and substance abuse, having nowhere to call home.
This Christmas season we will walk along the byways of England from the parish church of Ottery St Mary in Devon to WinchesterCathedral to raise awareness of the curses of PTSD and related homelessness.The route of around 100 miles will take us about five days and we will walk as tramps, living off the goodwill of strangers, and sleeping rough in order to meet the goal of raising £5,000 for two charities that work tirelessly to assist those who struggle with these issues.
Winchester Churches Nightshelter has been providing a vitallifeline to the homeless since 1988, and remains the only Nightshelter offering direct access emergency accommodation in Hampshire. The Nightshelter has 17 beds and is open 365 days of the year. They support between 140-200 homeless people yearly. As well as receiving high quality accommodation, nutritious food, and a safe and caring temporary home during their stay at the Nightshelter, residents benefit from a programme of practical and emotional support to help them to rebuild their lives and escape homelessness for good. Many of the people they deal with are ex-military. There is a direct link between mental health problems such as PTSD and homelessness.
We will also be raising money for Combat Stress which is the UK's leading Veterans' mental health charity. Mental ill-health such as PTSD affects ex-Service men and women of allages. Right now, the charity supports over 5,900 Veterans aged from 18 to 97. It is a vital lifeline for these men and women, and their families. Combat Stress currently spends over £15 million per annum delivering its unique range ofspecialist treatment and welfare support which is always free of charge, and proven to work.
Please give as much as you can to help us achieve the target of £2,500.
Thank you from both of us, and from all of those who will benefit from your generosity this Christmas tide, when even Jesus was born with no home to call his own.