• Nicholas Harrison

Statement from Soldier On!

We have been included in a high number of tweets this afternoon in connection with comments made about one of our ambassadors, Laurence Fox.

A number of people have kindly said that they have made a donation to support our work. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you most sincerely for your generosity.

If you are new to our work, we invite vulnerable, disadvantaged and socially-isolated people to join archaeology and heritage based projects where we deliver personal development and employability coaching. The idea being, that in addition to making new friends, increasing confidence and doing something different, participants leave the project armed with clarity on what skills and aptitudes they possess, a better idea about the sort of employment that would suit them and a work-experience from which they can present their value to potential employers.

We are not an archaeology or heritage organisation. We have just found that such an environment is a fantastic vehicle for personal development activities to be delivered due to their involving relaxed, diverse and fully inclusive activities which makes it possible for us to work with people of all ages, with any disability, and without any previous archaeological experience.

For the last few years, we have paid no salaries, so all of the money that you give us is used to help people to become happier and more self-sufficient by organising, planning and delivering these projects. Additionally, I also deliver many hours over a seven day period to provide one-to-one support to individuals who need that little bit of extra help. To help with fundraising we deliver corporate coaching such as self-awareness, career transition, inclusive recruitment, self-management, retention, ex-military resettlement, and of increasing importance, outplacement. (Please see other pages on this site for more details).

When Covid allows, we will be returning to our group fieldwork with projects that involve Medieval, Second and First World War, Victorian and C17th sites.

We appreciate all the help and kind comments we receive and have, since 2008, aimed to pursue a collaborative and non-competitive approach to our work. We will not be commenting further on today's twitter updates, other than to reiterate our thanks to all of our ambassadors and supporters for all of the help and support they give us, much of which happens behind closed doors. They include well-known people, donors and philanthropists, landowners who give us access to private property, university staff, commercial, community and public sector archaeologists, other charities, community groups and government organisations. Please expect nothing from us other than appreciation and a simple 'thank you', for when they help us.

As a personal comment, having until this moment written professionally in my capacity as the founder of Soldier On!, I have experienced homelessness, abuse and health problems myself. I couldn't give a d**n about what may or may not make us different. You are all my brothers and sisters, and my only concern is to keep this charity running in extraordinarily difficult times so we can make a small contribution to other people's happiness and well-being. When asked about 'equality', I find myself unable to comment, for I sit amongst the lengthy shadows of those I have tried to help who stand far beyond my reach as people who have endured so much, have given so much, and who have fought their way back from their darkest hours to prove their worth and value yet again. I am in awe of the drive, bravery and resilience of those I have had the absolute pleasure of working with, I am not their equal, they are the bravest of the brave.

Thank you again to all who have made a donation today having heard of us for the first time, and now its back to work!

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