Stoll is the leading provider of supported housing to vulnerable Veterans. Stuart and Georgie were lucky enough to visit them in their London office, based in Fulham. Here is their account of the morning at Sir Oswald Stoll:
We arrived at Fulham Broadway station on a rather rainy and miserable, grey day. It was freezing and we rushed to Stoll, motivated to get warm. The charity is a two minute was from the station in the beautiful Fulham Broadway area. As you look at the building of the charity, you can see the magnificent Stamford Bridge stadium overlooking the Harvey Oswald mansion. If you were a Chelsea football fan, you were in the right place.
From the beginning of the meeting, it was so clear how wonderful this organisation is. Our meeting began with a fabulous and in-depth tour from the Director of Fundraising at Stoll, Beverley Russell. We were shown through the grounds of the Fulham Mansion, surrounded by lovely gardens. We met a few of the fantastic beneficiaries of the organisation, who all couldn’t be happier and more grateful for the work Stoll has done for them and how their lives have changed since they moved into Stoll housing. One veteran has done some really life changing things for the community at Stoll, namely updating and improving their in-house gym with much needed equipment. This gym is really a community amongst them, to help improve wellbeing and to bring people together. When being shown around the gym and the newest additions to the impressive space, it was evident how much involvement there is from the beneficiaries at the charity. There were symbols of the beneficiaries everywhere, ranging from motivational sporting pictures to the inspiring athletes that have gone on to achieve so much after a life changing injury.
There is a hall for community events, a communal kitchen where everyone can eat together and a room dedicated to computers, books to read and an excellent array of films. The feel around the first ever building dedicated to social housing for ex-Servicemen and women is a tight knit family, who have been able to achieve so much through the help of the charity.
Throughout the whole meeting, Beverley was hugely passionate and ambitious about the organisation, with a real personal feel throughout. Everyone is on first name basis with one another, and we really saw first-hand the wonderful work Stoll does. You came away with a feel that the people working with Stoll truly care about the people that live there.
Along with providing affordable homes, the organisation also leads mental and physical health services, such as mental wellbeing support, social activities and specialist practitioners who provide drug and alcohol use support. They are also partnered with Addaction, a leading substance misuse and behaviour change charity, to help tackle addiction and substance misuse. This service is provided to the wider London community as well as Veterans living in Stoll houses.
Stoll has supported Veteran’s since 1916. They have been at the forefront of supporting vulnerable ex-Servicemen and women since their founder, Sir Oswald Stoll, donated ‘The Fulham mansions’ as the original building to begin providing affordable housing for Veteran’s from WW1, with the housing still remaining today. That means for 100 years Stoll has been providing much-needed and much-appreciated support that ex-Servicemen and women are incredibly grateful for.
We spent over two hours with the charity, in particular Beverley. Speaking with people so passionate about the charities that they work for make the meetings so enjoyable. It’s an enjoyable and unique experience whereby you see the people every day that benefit from your efforts.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meeting, and think Stoll really is an amazing organisation. If you would like to read some of the Veteran’s stories about how Stoll changed their lives, please click here.