Christmas came early to New Belvedere House this year when a group of Princes Trust volunteers from South Thames College arrived with trees, tinsel and decorations.
Veterans Aid hostel Manageress Pat O’Connor said afterwards “They were lovely, they really fitted in with our guys. For young people to take the time to work and donate the money for Christmas decorations is just fantastic. And what a great job they did!”
The team decorated the hostel’s foyer, TV lounge and gym/snooker room – and attracted quite a lot of friendly ‘encouragement’ from residents.
For some this will be their first Christmas in the Veterans Aid hostel; for others, a familiar experience. The 57 ex-Servicemen who live there range in age between 19 and 80. Some are unwell, some have addictions, some are perfectly ordinary men who for a variety of reasons found themselves either homeless or facing homelessness. What they have in common is the fact that once – for as little as a day, or as long as 25 years – they served in a branch of the Armed Forces.
Thanks to the young people from the Princes Trust Team VA’s hostel will have three Christmas trees, carefully decorated by some of the young people who worked to pay for them. They are all on their own 12-week voyage of discovery; a group of 16-25-year-olds working to build up their confidence and skill sets, they have much in common with the men whose ‘home’ they are cheering up.
“Everyone here is so friendly,” said volunteer Poshsan Wen, 23. “People came over and spoke to us as soon as we came in. We wanted to do something to help ex-Servicemen and so we looked at a number of organisations on the web. Then we found Veterans Aid and just felt it was the right one.”
With the help of TTV a short film was made of the event for the Prince’s Trust and Veterans Aid, click on the link below to view: