10 February 2016

Hull-based veterans charity needs urgent help to survive

The National Gulf Veterans & Families Association based in our Hull business centre is appealing for urgent donations to continue its fantastic work.

A national charity based at our Chamberlain Business Centre in Hull is appealing for urgent help and donations to allow it to continue its fantastic work.

The National Gulf Veterans & Families Association (NGVFA) has been helping veterans of the first Gulf War and other desert conflicts since 1999, but now an unexpected reduction in grants means the charity can only survive another six months if alternative funding cannot be found.

The timing of the news could not be more poignant, falling on the 25th anniversary of the first Gulf War.

Committed to supporting veterans

The NGVFA has helped more than 4,000 veterans over the years, and is currently working with around 1,000 veterans, family members and carers.  It provides services including information and advocacy on a wide range of issues – including health matters and PTSD – as well as tribunal representation, counselling, a 24 hour Freephone helpline, factsheets and guides, online forums where members can keep in touch and an annual respite break, providing a safe haven for veterans and their families.

But because of an unforeseen drop in grant funding, the charity may now struggle to keep going, as Senior Administration and Finance Officer, Louise Clifford, explains.

“The NGVFA does not receive regular funding income, but relies significantly on grant funding from the large forces charities, as well as other national organisations and charitable trusts,” she says.

Because of the nature of our work, which is mainly ongoing support to veterans and their families, rather than specific projects, we are limited to the grants we can apply for. 

"However, although it is never a ‘given’, we have received regular funding from the ABF, Royal British Legion and Seafarers UK for many years. This year, while we have been approved for our grant from ABF, we have had an 80% reduction in the funding from the Royal British Legion, and we have been rejected for grant funding from Seafarers UK, without having received any feedback as to why.”

Soldiering on

The charity is determined not to give up and is still applying for other grants and planning fundraising activities. It has also launched a JustGiving page and is appealing for urgent help to fill the funding gap.

The NGVFA has been based at our Chamberlain Business Centre for almost six years and its team of five office staff work tirelessly to serve the needs of its members. 

“It’s an ideal space for us.  We have a meeting room, plenty of office space, and a stock room where we can keep donations that we use as prizes at events.  Also, it’s on the ground floor and we have access where we can pull the van up close and easily load it up, which makes life a lot easier for us,” Louise says.

Louise’s sister, Maria Rusling, is General Manager. Maria’s husband served in the first Gulf War, and it was his plight suffering from unknown illnesses – known as Gulf War Syndrome – which sparked the idea to launch the charity.  The sisters’ father is a charity trustee and their mother is a keen volunteer.  To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this year, the couple are asking for donations to the charity instead of gifts.

Business Centre Manager at Chamberlain Business Centre, Gillian Stockdale, commented: “The NGVFA does fantastic work for veterans, their families and carers throughout the UK.  It’s such a shock for us to hear of the situation the charity has found itself in and the Bizspace team and the rest of the business community at Chamberlain is determined to help out and spread the word as much as possible.”

Business space to rent in Hull

Our Chamberlain Business Centre provides offices, workshops, industrial units and storage space to rent, all on the flexible terms which Bizspace is famous for.  For more information contact Gillian on 01482 214 770.