Supported by high-profile figures including David Beckham, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Angelina Jolie, Prince William and David Cameron, the campaign has helped The Soldiers’ Charity and Veterans Aid better support veterans who are struggling and at risk of falling into homelessness, as well as reaching out to those who were homeless but are now re-building their lives, say the publishers.
The multiple fundraising efforts, which saw renowned artist Grayson Perry create a unique sculpture for specialist auction for the appeal, also involved an online auction powered by Ebay, where readers bid for a variety of exclusive lots, including lunch with an editor, a personalised front page, and a visit to the iconic manufacturing home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood.
The Christmas appeal follows a long line of successful campaigns including last year’s, which raised £500,000 for Space for Giants, an organisation fighting to save the African elephant from extinction.
Evgeny Lebedev, Chairman of Independent Print Ltd. and Evening Standard Ltd. said, “This has been the most successful Christmas campaign in the history of this newspaper group. For our part, we will make sure every penny is put to the best use. Reflecting the huge public interest in veterans’ welfare, Chancellor George Osborne has pledged £3 million for the east London hostel we are supporting and Mayor Boris Johnson has promised another £200,000, which is really great news for all involved.”
David Beckham, who backed the Homeless Veterans campaign, said, “The men and women of our Armed Forces serve their country, putting their lives on the line and never ask for anything in return. It’s always a privilege to meet them and I am a proud supporter of everything they do.
“The Homeless Veterans appeal has shown us that sometimes veterans need our help, whether they are out on the streets, living in a hostel or need help keeping warm in their own homes in winter. Everyone who has supported the campaign and given money should be applauded, they are letting them know that they are not on their own.
“ABF The Soldiers' Charity and Veterans Aid are doing such a great job, they support our soldiers for life. It's important that we never forget the sacrifices made in keeping our country safe, and the money you have all raised will make sure that our veterans are never forgotten."