The Listening out Loud Foundation dedicated to work in local communities building the common good through mutual support of Veterans struggling with life after the Services. With friendly and understanding support and a focus of working within the local community's needs, LOL is committed to serving those who have given so much for us all.
Whilst visiting amputee soldiers in Selly Oak Hospital in 2009/10 we made friends with a soldier, a triple amputee. We knew that 'Help For Heroes' were doing a fantastic job with amputees but nobody seemed to be concentrating on mental health problems. This was the start of our journey. After many conversations with him and his father it became increasingly clear that there was no successful system in place which worked simultaneously for him, his family, his job and his sanity. We started to think about a home where veterans and families could come and rest whilst we helped them. Soon enough, Councillor Gordon Baxendale - Congleton West Army Champion - generously liaised with Cheshire East resulting in property being gifted to enable us to provide homes for those veterans.
In October 2012 the charity was formed. It is almost impossible to imagine how frustrating veterans find it when trying to navigate the state system after fighting for their country. It is especially difficult if they are diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) as they have often become alienated from friends and family with no job waiting for them. All these factors create a very slippery slope into homelessness. That is why we are here for them - why we do what we do. Since we opened our doors in 2012 we have given 87 ex-forces personnel a home and the offer of help they needed. Those we were able to help were willing to help themselves by initiating positive changes and by working to rid themselves of their addictions. Those we haven't yet been able to help are, in their own words, 'not ready'.
Following our dedicated work, numerous ex-forces personnel have moved into the local community and are now working full time. There are also those who live independently but still receive benefits and support whilst continuing with their counselling We are dedicated to a continued focus on mental health and addiction issues. We have found ourselves helping more and more with court appearances and reuniting ex-servicemen with their children. We work closely with children's services to ensure the children have a happy reunion. Quite often we find the children say that they see dad as looking the same but not acting the same. They ask questions like 'Why is daddy sleeping all day and not seeing his friends?'
We are very aware that the trauma is often passed around the whole family and that they ALL need support. Whilst we continue to offer our help, we do not receive any funding. My son, Andrew Dolman Bayley volunteers many hours with court appearances and working alongside the children's services. We need help to raise money so we can help more families and so we can employ staff as outreach workers to continue supporting these families. We want to help prevent unnecessary emotional trauma so we can avoid family breakups, rough sleeping and the addictions that sometimes follow.
“Our main focus is to provide a holistic approach to supporting the lads, promoting independence
but at an individual pace,” explained founder Andrew Dolman-Bayley.