The VIC team
Liz Hamilton - Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Liz, lives in Bacup and has been working in the third sector for many years starting in April 1996 at Rossendale Hospice. Her role was initially appeals director and latterly she was fundraising manager. Liz has also worked as a fundraising manager with Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Domestic Violence Team.
Liz joined Carers Contact in 2005 as a Carers Development Worker at Carers Contact where she supported carers from all over East Lancashire. Liz became a senior caseworker and then manager and in 2012 and was appointed chief executive of Carers Link Lancashire based in Accrington. “One of my first jobs was to bring the subcontractors back into the organisation and TUPE the staff back across. I also made the business into a limited company and undertook restructuring”.
“I had just won a major contract for supporting adult carers, Carers Link had achieved the quality standard PQASSO so I knew the company was in a good position and I wanted to look for a job so I could be nearer home.” Liz is married to Derek ‘Degs’ who is an ex-Sapper and served in the Royal Engineers for 10 years. Her grandfather served in the Lancashire Fusiliers and she has two teenage children. “My role is to build links with the commissioners to make the organisation sustainable,” she said. “I also have to secure funding so we can carry out projects to meet the needs of the veterans and create a stable foundation of processes and systems that evidence what we do and the benefits it generates.
“I also need to promote VIC within the community, to get our organisation out there, and to get people to come into the centre in Haslingden and use our facilities.”
Liz has a Masters degree in Medieval Welsh history and a post graduate certificate in voluntary and third sector management.
Bob Elliott - Operational Manager
Bob joined the Royal Engineers in 1976 as a boy soldier and left the army in 1985 and became a 'civvy' after serving nine years. He did a variety of different jobs before he started working with ex-service personnel; LGV driving, warehousing, forklift truck instructor, NVQ assessor, careers adviser, trainer and working on a number of DWP programmes for the unemployed and those on sickness benefits.
In 2009 Bob got involved with another ex-service charity and started working in Rossendale and areas across the North-West supporting ex-service personnel who had difficulty making the transition back into civilian life; some had mental health and psychological issues relating to the service career. After being made redundant in 2010 the opportunity presented itself to work full-time with ex-service personnel on veterans outreach programme in Rossendale.
Bob is now the Operational Manager for VIC, and has seen the benefits first hand of the range of services and activities VIC now offer to ex-service personnel, their families and uniformed services. Although VIC is still viewed as new charity by some of the larger and well established veterans charities, it has developed a range of services and activities to meet the needs of the group. Bob says ‘We have seen a rapid growth in the last 5 years and we are already working outside of Rossendale, East Lancashire and parts of Great Manchester.
Phone/Text - 07961 554006
Administrator - Amanda Walton
Amanda was previously an administrative assistant with a medical legal organisation and, before taking time out to bring up her three children she was a civil engineering technician with Lancashire County Council.
She said: “For me, this job offered and exciting challenge. My father used to be in the police and my husband is ex-forces and grew up in South Africa.
“The needs of veterans is something new to me, but I am very eager to learn and keen to help.”
In her spare time Amanda has been a volunteer Guider and Brownie leader for the past 15 years and also leads the Senior Section in Haslingden.
Project Worker - Jacqui Collins
Jaqui joined VIC in Jan 2018. She is employed as the Project Worker & primarily works within the Integrated Neighbourhood Team in the Heywood, Middleton & Rochdale area.
Her Military background covers 32 years. She spent 24 years as a Royal Military Police Officer, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major). She served in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland, Bosnia & UK. For the last 8 years of her Service, she worked as a Welfare Officer in Blandford & Bordon.
Jaqui comes from Clayton Le Moors & enjoys eating out & Fund Raising. In the last 3 years, since retiring from the Army, she has raised approximately £36,000 for a variety of Charities, many of them local.
Steve Butterworth - Outreach worker
Steve joined the Royal Navy in 1976 as a Catering accountant and after initial training served for three years on board HMS Hermes traveling extensively. In 1982 Steve was based at HMS Dolphin in Gosport and recalled to sea service on HMS Intrepid to serve in the Falklands Campaign as a medic. He joined VIC in early 2013 after a referral from the Military Veterans Services, with a view to joining the art group, after a period of illness and redundancy. Steve is a part time employee that started with VIC through the Royal British Legion Industries (The Poppy Factory).
Steve runs two of the VIC Outreach groups; Rochdale and Pendle. He is still involved with the art group and assists with the organisation of exhibitions and crafts fairs.
Steve also runs the Allotment in Rossendale and works on the 'Veterans In Production' project.
Gill Hughes - Transformational Coach
VIC Transformational Coach Gill Hughes is working with veterans to help them rebuild their lives.
Gill has spent more than 20 years working with employment projects and has worked in the public, private and voluntary sector.
Her role is part of the Changing Futures Building Better Opportunities programme funded by the European Social Fund.
She said: “I will be providing one to one support for veterans and their immediate families to help them to make progress into work and to make improvements in their lives.
“I will help them with confidence and motivation, look at their health conditions and be able to help them address a range of different issues these could be around homelessness, mental health, drugs, alcohol or disabilities.”
Volunteer Outreach Worker (Heywood) - Liz Davies
Liz, from Rochdale served in the RAF for five years and left while expecting her daughter Lauren, who is 24 and has cystic fibrosis.
After leaving the service, Liz became a Police Special in North Yorkshire for three years and went on to teach karate for 15 years, running her own club Lotus Karate Do in Heywood before spondylosis forced her to retire from the martial art.
Liz runs the Sandbag Cafe in Heywood on Tuesdays
Darren Horsnell - Arts and Crafts Coordinator
Darren is a Veteran who has served in the Army for over 9 years. He has toured many Countries around the world including Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands.
Darren found his talent for painting during his 10-year attendance at Combat Stress in Leatherhead. Some of Darren's work has been displayed (and sold) in the Mall and Tate Galleries, London. Since joining VIC in 2011 he has coordinated arts and crafts projects for veterans and their families and has undergone training for personal and professional development. He is now a case worker for the RBL and is coming to the end of his PTLLS course.
The art group is growing strong with many veterans coming forward wanting to 'give it a go'! Darren loves teaching painting and hopes that other veterans will find peace of mind in the comfort of arts and crafts, as he does.
Darren is a keen fisherman and gets involved with as many of the VIC's outdoor activities as he can.,
Tony Stubbs - Volunteer outreach worker
Tony is a volunteer outreach worker that works across Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale.
Tony joined VIC in 2012 as a member and in 2013 he became one of our outreach workers. He also works for the Military Veterans Service as a volunteer peer mentor supporting veterans with mental health, alcohol and substance misuse. In 2017 he became a media ambassador for The Royal British Legion on the Veterans’ Gateway
Tony is originally from Manchester and was just 15-and-a-half when he signed up and 16 when he went on a Junior Leaders’ Course.
On passing his basic training in Newcastle he was posted into the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment completing three tours in Northern Ireland and Germany.
On returning to Civvy Street he struggled to fit in and ended up homeless, mixing with the wrong crowd and getting into a life of crime.
His own battle with alcoholism has left Tony in need of a liver transplant.
Tony is currently our outreach worker for Heywood and runs the allotment in Heywood.
Carole Mills - Volunteer Outreach Worker - Hyndburn
Carole served in the Royal Navy with the QARNNS (Queen Alexander Royal Navy Nursing Service). She served at RNH Haslar in Gosport Hampshire from 1977- 1980. On Leaving the Navy, she continued her nursing career in the NHS.
Carole joined VIC in 2015 as she was looking at volunteering after semi-retiring from the NHS. After initially getting involved in the VIC activities she decided to become a volunteer outreach worker, as she liked to help with supporting veterans and their families and being involved with integrating them back into the wider community. She also helps with the VIC Singing Group with the fundraising and providing refreshments during the rehearsals.
Carole runs the outreach in Hyndburn area and has an outreach stand every week in Accrington Market Hall.
Mick Armstrong - Volunteer outreach worker Bacup
Contact Mick on 01706 833180
Mick is one of the outreach worker for Rossendale and covers the Bacup area. He joined VIC as a volunteer 2014 during the WW1 war graves project at Bacup and Stacksteads cemetery.
He is one the drivers on the Positive Start Food Group and helped set up the Rossendale Armed Forces Breakfast Club in Haslingden.