As part of the Great Tommy Sleep Out, four Eden Camp Veterans slept out in the cold for one night raising £2387 to help support RLBI’s efforts to support vulnerable veterans, who sadly often find themselves homeless.

The sleep out took place in the grounds of Eden Camp on the night of 30 March, with temperatures reaching near freezing leaving a lasting memory for Gavin Pickering, Lee White, Mac McMahon and Alistair Candelin, the four veterans who took part. They were also joined by Jill Winters, veteran and nurse, and her mum Sue Winters.

One of the veterans Gavin Pickering said ‘The sad truth is there are a lot of veterans when leaving the forces have difficulties with their mental health which often leads to homelessness and substance addiction. The RBLI make a real difference to these veterans who desperately need their help and the sleep out is a great way to raise awareness and support this vital cause.’

The group became one of the top fundraisers for the cause, with every penny raised going directly to RBLI’s wide range of services providing a home, welfare and employment support to military veterans.

RBLI, which is a separate charity to the Royal British Legion, provides a home to more than 300 veterans and their families through its Kent village, including homeless veterans through their emergency accommodation Mountbatten Pavilion.

At the heart of the village is the charity’s social enterprise factory, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, which provides employment opportunities to veterans and people with disabilities. Throughout the pandemic, the team in BBMC have been helping to keep the country running producing signs for major infrastructure projects, pallets for the transportation of food and ventilators, and hand sanitizers for the telecoms industry. The team have also been fulfilling the thousands of challenge fundraising packs which includes a beanie hate and booklet printed professionally in-house.

All veterans living on the village are provided with a tailored welfare support programme to help them regain their independence and overcome challenges caused by physical or mental disability, drug or alcohol dependency, and unemployment.

Visit www.rbli.co.uk to find out more about the vital work RBLI does to support the nations heroes.