THE TWO EX SOLDIERS WHO HAVE PLEDGED THEIR LIFE SAVINGS TO HELP FELLOW VETERANS!

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Two former Special Forces soldiers from Liverpool have pledged over £360,000 of their own money and over 5,000 hours of their time to help their fellow veterans. Peter McCombe and Colin Eastaway, who both served in Iraq and Afghanistan, founded The Block CIC in November 2020 and have helped over 250 veterans despite no official funding.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

The Block CIC is a veterans outreach organisation based in Kirkdale that bridges the gap and offers a wide range of support services to ex-servicemen and women. Ran by Peter, Colin and a small team of volunteers, The Block offers emergency accommodation, emotional support, coffee mornings, drop ins, signposting, workshops, courses, retreats and more.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Peter and Colin met in a careers office in 2000 and went on to serve together in Iraq and Afghanistan, both losing friends and suffering from PTSD as a result. After Peter was discharged due to a brain injury during combat and becoming disillusioned with the lack of support, he invested his military compensation into creating The Block — with Colin soon joining forces with his old friend.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

During the past two years, without any official funding, Peter, Colin and the team have literally saved lives — helping veterans in times of crisis, getting them off the streets and providing a safe haven and refuge for them. Ploughing all their money into the building and running costs and investing countless hours into the project, they have dedicated their lives to the cause.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Colin explained: “The Block really is a 24/7 service and we have gone out to veterans in times of crisis at any given time. My partner will tell you — many dinners have been abandoned because we have gone out on a call and we’ve been out at all times of day and night.”

He continued: “We do this because we genuinely care. Other charities and services will often switch their phones off after 5pm but we work tirelessly around the clock to help our fellow veterans. The success stories are amazing though and it’s so rewarding to see people who have been struggling with their mental health get back on their feet.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

One recent success story is Leon who had major alcohol problems and was living in a tent in woods with his two dogs. Colin and the team went to pick him up, gave him a mental health assessment and provided him with accommodation, a phone, clothing, food and support — he is now doing well, with a good job and his own property in the affluent area of Formby.

Leon said: “Since leaving the military I was diagnosed with PTSD and went through a stage of drinking every day. I lost everything and this led to me living in the woods with my two dogs. I recently met The Block’s Patron, Johnny Mercer, and told him I’d be dead if it wasn’t for The Block. This small organisation have turned my life around so please anyone, just show your support to The Block.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Another veteran, Lee, said: “I was suffering with PTSD and when my relationship broke down I became homeless — living in my car and feeling too ashamed to reach out to friends and family. I received a little support from the council and charities but it all seemed very long winded and I needed more — I needed a roof over my head and hope.”

He continued: “I found my new accommodation in the form of a one bedroom flat ran by an ex-military organisation called The Block and from then on my life got flipped upside down for the better. I cannot thank Colin and the guys enough for what they have done and I can now repair my relationship with my wife and children — something like this can never be repaid.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Yet, despite the heroic efforts of Peter, Colin and the team, The Block CIC has still not had any official funding — instead investing their own money and being reliant upon donations from the public. One such donor is Sharon and the team from Adam Somes Elite Training and Total Integrated Solutions who have raised over £20,000 for the project in memory of Sharon’s son Andy — a veteran who tragically took his own life due to PTSD in 2021.

Money donated by Sharon has been vital to keep the project alive whilst funders have viewed the project as too young to invest in. In 2022, Sharon’s fundraising efforts fully funded one of the holistic therapy retreats that was backed by doctors at Liverpool University — with 100% positive results and 10 out of 10 veterans stating they’d recommend mindfulness to other veterans struggling with mental health.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Colin said: “We’re so grateful to those who have supported us so far. It is frustrating not receiving funding but we’re getting there. I work full time and my partner works part time, whilst Peter has serious medical issues following his time serving, and although the volunteers do a truly fantastic job, we really need funding to be able to employ full time staff here.”

He continued: “Also, we have hosted some wonderful wellbeing and mental health courses and retreats, with lots of great feedback — we’d love to offer more of these plus professional help. We have a great space here and it has so much potential. We just need funders to put their hands in their pockets now as we’ve invested everything and can’t rely on the public forever — it’s been two years and we have a proven model.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

A recent ONS report showed that there are over 50,000 veterans residing in the North West of England. A recent British Journal of Psychiatry report highlighted that veterans are much more likely to develop PTSD than non-veterans and of those who have served in conflict, 17% reported symptoms of PTSD and 30% were predicted to develop a mental health condition. Meanwhile, NHS mental health waiting lists are over 12 months long.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

The Block volunteer Craig Donoghue said: “There are many veterans walking amongst us who have deep underlying issues following service. For many of them, they feel they have nowhere to turn because they are too proud or simply people won’t understand. This can build up and we have seen some tragic cases.”

He continued: “The role of places like The Block to bridge the gap is vital. I know, as becoming part of it and volunteering here has saved my life. Even if it’s just to drop in for a brew and a chat or to one of our Hotpot Fridays — it’s having people to confide in who understand and somewhere you won’t be judged that’s so important.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

The Block CIC needs funding in order to employ a full time member of staff, therefore enabling the project to do more outreach work and help more veterans. They would also like funding in order to develop more mental health and wellbeing workshops, courses and retreats — something that local veterans have asked for more of in a local survey carried out by The Block.

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

Colin summarised: “Peter and I have put in everything to this project — from the building to the refurb to the running costs and we are eternally grateful to the volunteers and public sponsors who have helped and donated. We’re ready to go to the next level now though and in order to maximise our potential and we need investment from funders. We have countless testimonials from veterans, it’s time to support us.”

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

The Block CIC is a veterans support organisation based in Kirkdale, Liverpool. The Block offers emergency accommodation, emotional support, coffee mornings, drop ins, signposting, workshops, courses, retreats and more — preventing crisis and bridging the gap where the system is failing.

The Block CIC / 241-243 Walton Road, Kirkdale, Liverpool, L4 4AR / 0151 281 4837

For more info about The Block visit their WEBSITE!

Check out The Block on FACEBOOK!

To donate to The Block CIC and help their cause check out their GOFUNDME!

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