This evening, 21st October, saw a fantastic virtual event which allowed us to announce the truly inspirational Winners of our third group of award categories.
The ceremony was hosted by retired Royal Air Force hero John Nichol, a prolific journalist and commentator on military affairs. John has been a supporter of the Soldiering On Awards for many years and we were thrilled that he was able to compare our final virtual ceremony of the year.
The ceremony was attended by the Category Finalists and Sponsors, Patron Of the Soldering on Awards, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe, Sir John McColl, WO1 Dean Morgan and General Swift.
As the winners found out, the news was simultaneously shared across social media channels.
The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering On Awards said:
“These Awards recognise and acknowledge the enormous efforts and achievements from many people across the military community who help and support those in need; volunteers, charity teams, public servants, social enterprises, veterans themselves, individuals, employees… the wider military community is incredibly diverse!
“That help and support manifests itself in acts of kindness, the raising of money, provision of services, tremendous acts of courage or endeavour and ultimately doing great things to support those who have served.
“Our service men and women take part in military campaigns at the behest of the Government and on behalf of us all. They deserve not only our respect and thanks, but also our support. Thank you to all our finalists, many of whom are veterans themselves, for being exemplar in providing that support.”
Our finalists were:
Edward Dean – Anxious Minds – an award-winning charity supporting thousands of veterans and families by improving mental health services in the North East, whilst providing volunteer placements for over 20 trainee counsellors.
Nikki McCartney – Who Dares Cares – a full time mental health professional supporting severely ill and vulnerable people, Nikki dedicates her time to the charity, helping hundreds of veterans with emotional support, coping strategies and referral pathways.
Jason Stevens –Veterans’ Growth – offering therapy to veterans in the form of horticultural training within a five-acre plot cared for by volunteers, and providing on-site accommodation; Veterans’ Growth receives referrals from the NHS and other local charities.
You can read more about these finalists here.
We are delighted to announce that the Winner is…
Edward Dean – Anxious Minds
Eddie Dean served 22 years in the infantry plus nine years delivering training for Afghanistan. But afterwards, he suffered a nervous breakdown, clinical depression and complex PTSD. Eddie struggled to find support for his mental health and found himself divorced and living in a caravan.
After he received help from SSAFA and his Regimental Association, Eddie pledged to improve mental health support in the North East. True to his word, in 2015, using his war pension and the little savings he had, he founded Anxious Minds. He has since raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to improve mental health services in the North East.
Five years on, Anxious Minds is a multi-award winning mental health charity providing early intervention and long-term support for people struggling with mental health. It supports thousands of veteran families with quick access into areas including alcohol reduction support, debt management, family law, crisis management and suicide prevention.
“Anxious Minds has achieved both local and national recognition, receiving praise from the Prime Minister for its work with veterans.”
Anxious Minds is the largest provider of counselling services outside of the NHS in the North East, with 70+ counsellors and psychotherapists supporting thousands of people each year. It provides jobs for 11 employees and volunteer placements for over 200 trainee counsellors; these dedicated staff and volunteers supported over 2000 people throughout the pandemic offering remote counselling, telephone and online support.
“Eddie still works for the charity as volunteer Chief Officer and has never taken a penny for his work.
He has achieved all of this, including opening five centres providing counselling, psychotherapy and addiction support, whilst managing his own complex issues.”
Edward Dean said:
“It’s just amazing. The fact I’ve been recognised by our peers, our veteran colleagues, for the work that we’ve done. I’m a volunteer; we’ve worked for over 6 years now for early intervention and long-term support for mental health. It’s having that recognition for the staff, volunteers – it’s just amazing. We are so proud to be recognised by our community.”
Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Soldiering On Awards said:
“There is an ethos and set of values by which the military community live and work; leave no one behind and work together as a team.
“These values are exemplified in the amazing achievements of this year’s Soldiering On Awards winners, all of whom are outstanding ambassadors for the Armed Forces Community.
“We are delighted to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was incredibly special to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community after such a challenging 18 months.
“These virtual events have allowed us all to come together and celebrate once more, as we build-up to our glamorous in-person Gala Dinner on December 15th. Having not had the opportunity to celebrate in-person since 2019, this December will be the military gala dinner of the year and being able to have everyone together for a night of celebration is something that we’ve all needed for some time. I’m very much looking forward to shining a light on the incredible armed forces community.
The Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP said:
‘Eddie has shown remarkable dedication in ensuring veterans in his local area can access mental health support. From his first-hand experience Eddie knows what a difference this help can make. I want to thank you for your untiring commitment to supporting men and women, like yourself, who have risked their lives to serve our country.
‘I also wish to thank Ren Kapur, her team and the judges for the Soldering on Awards for the great work they do.
‘The past year has reminded us more powerfully than ever before of the debt we owe the remarkable armed forces community.
‘There are so many powerful stories to tell, and this is an opportunity to tell this special community how much we appreciate what they have done and continue to do for all of us.
‘There is a keen public interest in remembering and thanking those who go above and beyond to keep us safe sometimes in such challenging circumstances.’
A word from our Sponsor…
Martin Taylor, Deputy CEO & Global CMO at Redwood Technologies said,
“The Healthcare and Rehabilitation Award honours an individual or organisation who has demonstrated a major commitment and contribution in support of the physical or mental welfare of serving or former members of the armed forces community. We’re extremely proud to sponsor the Healthcare and Rehabilitation Category in celebration of these three exceptional individuals and organisations, who provide invaluable support to
the wider veteran community. Before we find out who the overall winner is, let’s now see a quick reminder of our three incredible 2021 finalists in the Healthcare and Rehabilitation category.”