There are 4.6 million people in Britain today who once served in our military.
Many are elderly: the veterans who took the fight to Hitler or were sent on boats to go into battle in Korea. Some are those who stood on the western side of the Iron Curtain during the long years of the Cold War. Others are the men and women who were dispatched by our government to more recent wars, fighting across deserts in Mesopotamia or finding themselves at risk of roadside bombs or ambushes in the plains and mountains of central Asia.
All, whether through choice or conscription, once served this country – and not all of them have gone on to the life they had hoped to live.
That is why this year, as we mark the centenary of the start of the war that was meant to end all wars and the final wind-down of our forces’ deployment in Afghanistan, The Independent, i and Evening Standard newspapers are taking up the cause of our country’s Homeless Veterans for this year’s Christmas campaign.
Working with our partner charities, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and Veterans Aid, we want your help to do all we can to ensure that where ex-servicemen and women have fallen into destitution we are there to offer them the helping hand they now need.
It will includes not only those sleeping rough but those who have left the street but are now stuck in hostels and need addiction services and training programmes to help them get back up to leading an independent life. It will help those whose lives are on the brink of unravelling as marriages break up, debts rise and landlords post eviction notices.
We will measure success not just by how many veterans we can help get off the streets and out of hostels but how many we can prevent ever getting into that situation in the first place.
This year’s appeal is the biggest we have ever run as a media group. For the first time it will include all our titles – the Evening Standard, Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday – as well as our digital sites and TV station, London Live.
This is our commitment to helping those who once served us but now need us to aid them. We hope you will support us in this endeavour. Please do give generously.
Read the Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal 2014 Terms and Conditions.