On Friday 17th December, ex-forces and current Inland Homes employee James Day, alongside four colleagues within the business, will take on a 16 mile walk from Hounslow to Beaconsfield to raise money to improve mental health services for service veterans. Aptly named ‘Walking Home for Christmas’ as part of Walking with the Wounded’s Christmas campaign, the team of five has already raised more than £6,500 and is hoping to significantly increase this total by the time the challenge is complete.

Quality and Compliance Manager James, joined by Group Managing Director Gary Skinner, Operations Director Jason Seymour, Development Director Pedro Longras and Senior Project Manager Mike Butler, will walk between two of Inland Homes’ developments that are teeming with military history – Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow and Wilton Park in Beaconsfield.

Walking Home for Christmas is an annual event organised by Walking with the Wounded, the charity dedicated to providing help and support to veterans from all services – from the armed forces to the police force and all emergency services. They run specific programmes to support the individuals themselves, as well as their families, on topics ranging from finances and housing, to addiction and mental health support.  This Christmas, the fundraising campaign is focused on mental health following nearly two years of increased mental health pressure due to Covid-19.

James comments: “I wanted to take part in this year’s Walking Home for Christmas, as mental health in the forces is something I feel very passionately about. After serving in the infantry from the age of 16 and then working in the police force for nearly 15 years, I have seen first-hand the lack of mental health support that is available to ex servicemen and women through the government. Ex-service members have seen things that most of the general public couldn’t imagine, and it is so important that the right support is given. It is purely down to charities like Walking with the Wounded that veterans get the support they need, so I really wanted to do my bit, even if it was just to help one person – at least I can say I did that.”

“When I left the army aged 21, I had my own struggles with transitioning back into normal civilian life. In that time there was no help, and it was tough without having a mental health issue to deal with as well. It’s easy to see why so many veterans struggle learning how to be a civilian in this world while battling with mental health. My initial aim was to raise £988, as this covers the cost of mental health sessions for one person. Since Gary and the rest of the team have joined me, we have raised over £6,500 which will help at least six ex-servicemen or women, and that makes me so proud. I’m really looking forward to taking on this challenge with the team, and raising as much money to help as many veterans as we can.”

The walk will start from Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow, which was in continued use as an operational military barracks from the late 1700s until its vacation earlier this year. From here, the team will walk the 16 miles to Wilton Park in Beaconsfield, which in its rich history was used as an interrogation centre for senior Nazi prisoners of war during World War 2, with famous ‘visitors’ including Marshall Messe, Field-Marshalls von Rundstedt and Busch and Rudolph Hess.

Inland’s Group Managing Director and member of the team, Gary Skinner, comments: “Myself, Jason, Pedro and Mike are delighted to be supporting James in taking part in this challenge. Mental health in the forces is something often overlooked, especially when it comes to re-joining normal life again. When I heard that James was taking on this walk, I knew we had to get some of the Inland team involved to try and exceed his target, and it’s incredible how much money has been raised already.”