Boom. Just like that we’re looking at the tail end of another year and our first full year here at All Call Signs. If you blinked you might have missed it, or at least it certainly feels that way, but looking back on all we’ve managed to achieve this year, it’s a wonder we’ve been able to fit it all in!
We are now and continue to be completely in awe of you, our followers, for the faith, loyalty and support you show us as we go about trying to improve mental health care for veterans and service personnel. You’ve played such a key role in our ability to effectively campaign, create services and deliver change in the military support space. Here’s a round up of some of our favourite moments from 2019:
Our Caseworker Platform provides a single point of contact for veterans and armed forces personnel drawing on multiple service providers for care. It is quickly becoming the standard for ensuring those suffering with poor mental health don’t fall through the cracks. In the last year we have on-boarded and helped over a hundred clients using this system with overwhelming positive feedback from clients and service providers alike.
Riding To France
We joined a rag-tag bunch of fundraisers called the Pink Pub Bike Club from Bognor Regis, dressed as Dad’s Army, on a ride to Normandy, France in time for the D-Day celebrations. The fundraiser saw the group on bikes worth no more than £20, complete the mammoth journey and raise huge amounts for All Call Signs and other causes in the process. The highlight of the trip was being able to help veterans who had travelled to Normandy and were struggling with low mood, a reminder that poor mental health can strike anywhere.
Our First Birthday
For our first birthday celebrations, we took 50+ veterans, service personnel, family members and community supporters onto the waters surrounding our home town of Portsmouth for a fun-filled day of kayaking and games. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and everyone who came had a great time. It’s got us quite excited about planning the next outing for 2020.
Opened A Community RV (Drop-in Centre)
Until earlier this year we were an online support presence only. That changed when we opened our first physical location in Southsea Portsmouth. From this location we’re able to offer support in person, as well as hold meetings and sell merchandise, all with the aim of improving mental health care for our armed forces community. The opening has been so successful, that we have already secured a location for our second RV opening in Richmond, North Yorkshire in early 2020 with four more already slated to open soon after. We’re growing rapidly to meet demand and it wouldn’t be possible without our business sponsors and contributors.
Our Beacon Alerts system continues to grow and save lives, increasing the number of people who know about missing veterans at risk of self harm or suicide, from around 40,000 – 100,000 before Beacon was in place, to around 2-4 million people now. This increase in exposure leads to larger search teams, quicker gathering of useful information and to date has been responsible for preventing worst case scenarios in 72 out of 75 cases. That’s 72 families saved the pain and anguish that far too many in our military community are familiar with, and it doesn’t work without you. So thank you for being part of Beacon.
Partnered with BACP to deliver privately funded mental health care
We know how hard it can be to access good quality mental health treatment such as talking therapies and counselling. That’s why we partnered with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, to offer bespoke treatment packages for our clients. This partnership has seen wait time for therapy significantly reduced and has seen those who have been turned away from larger organisations, finally get the help they need.
Awards and Recognition
We’re keeping tight lipped about those that are upcoming, but we’re extremely proud to have been nominated for a number of prestigious awards in the armed forces community, as well as being recognised but a number of media outlets for the work we do with veterans and service personnel. ITV News recently named us Christmas Angels and Portsmouth News gave us mention in their ‘News Year’s Honours’. Stay tuned in 2020 for more!
Strategic partnerships made
We’ve been honoured to partner with large organisations such as Mind and The NHS on projects to improve services for veterans’ mental health, most notably to date we are part of the Military Mental Health Alliance which has just overseen the opening of a new centre for mental health in our hometown. This is the culmination of months of hard work by all involved and we couldn’t be more proud to have played a small part.
Dan and SJ have continued to take the All Call Signs message on the road, speaking passionately at a number of venues including a Pathfinder Expo and The Festival Of Marketing, as well as in military units, colleges and schools up and down the country, about the need to improve mental health services and reduce stigma.
Our First Christmas Ball
Just last month we held our inaugural Christmas Ball, where we invited 350 of our most passionate supporters, fundraisers and service partners to the iconic Fontwell Park Racecourse. After promising that it would be a civilised affair, it went the way of most military functions: Too much drinking, cross dressing and general lowering of standards, and that was just our founders! An amazing night was had by all who attended, we raised an incredible amount of money for the cause and we definitely now feel a Ball of some kind needs to be an annual event.
There’s been so much happen this year that we could highlight here, but we’re sure there’s a pint or a glass of champagne somewhere with your name on it. Enjoy bringing in the new and thank you for being a supporter of what we do. We look forward to continuing the work in 2020 and we can’t wait to update you more in the future. Happy New Year!