Battling On CIC’s community expansion

By on 22nd August 2018

Battling On CIC is a Soldiering On Double Award Winner!

Since winning the Soldiering On Innovation Award in 2016, this incredible organisation, based on the concept of community participation and civic responsibility, has expanded enormously and we are happy to have helped shine a light on some of their amazing achievements through the Awards.

Founded by Nikki Markham and her family, the organisation’s work supports some of the community’s most vulnerable individuals. They have created a unique business model with various companies working together in harmony under one umbrella, sharing expertise, volunteers and staff to reduce overheads and costs.

Many of their programmes operate under the banner of “Together We Can Succeed” with the mindset that, through innovative thinking and creative planning and design, complex social problems can be tackled and successfully addressed.  It is partly for this reason that, again, the organisation was honoured by the Soldiering On Award judges when it was named as a finalist in the 2018 Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) Working Together Award Category. The cohesive nature of the separate teams is a fantastic example of the definition of the FiMT: “recognition of a person, team or organisation that has demonstrated an enduring commitment and collaborative approach to supporting the sector within the wider community.”

We are also delighted that the Connell Family, the founding support behind Battling On CIC – have won the 2018 Soldiering On Family Values Award, sponsored by NetApp. This award is testament to the solidarity of three generations working together to improve the lives of so many vulnerable people.

We’re happy to showcase the fantastic work Nikki and her teams are involved in, and you can see below how you can help the organisation to benefit even more vulnerable people.

Battling On 

In 2012, TST noticed an upsurge in recently discharged Armed Forces personnel with complex issues such as substance abuse, mental health issues and homelessness being referred by the job centres. With a six-month waiting list for counselling, Nikki created the CIC to represent the veteran community and obtain funding to support them. Battling On has evolved immeasurably over the past six years, with veterans now being trained as mentors and instructors to work with vulnerable people, plus support for struggling veterans and those living with dementia. This multi-award winning organisation has gained the VSF Award for Innovation, Enterprise and Partnership, The Devon Community Foundation Award for Thriving Communities 2015, the Soldiering On Award for Innovation in 2016, The Queens Award for Voluntary Services (MBE for the third sector) in 2017 and the Excellence in Business runners up award for Training Programmes of the year.

New Challenge and Help Needed – Community Legends

In rural areas such as East Cornwall, many elderly people live in isolation in small hamlets and villages, trapped with limited access to transport networks. Bringing these people from their homes to the centre has a huge impact on their quality of life. WSSW has been selected by Legal and General and Crowdfunder to become a “Community Legend.” If the organisation can raise £20,000, Legal and General will add a further £5,000 to support the project, allowing two new workshops per week: one to be run for elderly people, particularly those with dementia. This will include free home pick-ups using their disabled-friendly minibus. The second workshop will focus on elderly people with skills in knitting, felting, wood turning, carpentry and so on, who can make a range of products to be sold in a local shop. Profits will be split with 50% going back into the project for materials and the other 50% going to local charities and community groups.

The organisation would be so grateful for any help offered with this campaign. You can find out more on their Crowdfunding page.

Transferable Skills Training (TST)

Transferable Skills Training is an outreach centre that provides education for adults with learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) and people who leave education without gaining any qualifications. It provides educational programmes for a range of organisations such as local councils, schools and job centres, as well as offering free training to marginalised groups. It’s one of the top ten performing training centres in the South West and has been elected to run a number of national educational pilots.

Work Skills South West (WSSW)

Following a government change in 2011 that meant many adults with LDD were no longer eligible for funding, including for programmes built around independent living, Nikki established WSSW. The organisation aims to reduce social isolation for these adults, provide training and support, and link individuals into volunteering opportunities within their local communities. WSSW is predominately manned by volunteers and, over the last seven years, they’ve linked with over thirty different trusts, charities and community groups providing on average about 4000 adult volunteering hours per year to support other groups. WSSW has received a Community Group of the Year Award and was recently a runner-up in the National Care and Support Awards.

Soldiering On Awards are proud to have played a part in sharing the story of this amazing organisation! Our thanks go, as always, to our proud sponsors NetApp and Forces in Mind Trust.

You can find out more about Nikki Markham and Battling On CIC’s work here.

About Renée Wallen

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