Walking With The Wounded CEO and Co-founder to step down after a decade supporting those who served
Ed Parker, Chief Executive and Co-founder of military charity Walking With The Wounded (‘WWTW’), has announced he will step down after 10 years in the role. He will be succeeded by Fergus Williams, the current Director of Operations, who has pioneered WWTW’s programmes with the NHS.
Ed will leave the charity at the end of March 2021 after being at the helm since it was founded 10 years ago. Over the past decade, the national organisation has supported nearly 10,000 ex-military and their families and now has a national footprint of employment advisors and mental health therapists.
The charity has seen significant growth and expansion under Ed and Fergus’ leadership, to provide innovative mental health, employment, and care coordination programmes, enabling those who have served to thrive and contribute once more in their communities. This includes Step Into Health, the first employment pathway between the British Armed Forces and the NHS, the UK’s biggest employer, and a joint venture with the RFEA to create Project Nova – an early intervention programme targeting ex-military in police custody to reduce reoffending.
The charity, whose HQ is in Norfolk, now has offices at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, created a unique ‘veterans street’ hub in Manchester in collaboration with Nick Knowles and the BBC’s DIY SOS team, and this year opened its North East Service in North Shields.
This year Walking With The Wounded has adapted and thrived as the whole team worked to become part of the solution to COVID-19. Overnight, the organisation moved to remote-working and continued to deliver expert support to Walking With The Wounded’s beneficiaries and help relieve pressures on NHS services. This included partnering with the NHS to launch its new High Intensity Service for veterans with mental health issues.
Fergus was the charity’s first senior employee eight years ago and has led the charity’s operations and integration with the NHS and collaboration with more than 200 other charities and organisations.
Edward Parker said, “After 10 years I feel now is the right time for me to leave Walking With The Wounded. There is always a danger that founders overstay their welcome and I want to avoid that. The charity is much more than one person and it is crucial that as an organisation it can continue to grow and develop to uphold its principal value – Client First.
“As 2020 ends, not only is the charity in good health, but it has a talented team across the whole organisation who can drive it forward over the next 10 years. I feel very proud of what we have collectively achieved, and I know that in the future many more thousands of veterans and their family members will benefit from the innovative, timely, impactful services that WWTW provides. I will miss it hugely, but I know it is in very safe hands.”
Fergus Williams said, “It has been a privilege to work alongside Ed over the past eight years. Walking With The Wounded has seen exceptional growth and transformation and the organisation that he helped to build has made an incredible difference to the veteran landscape. Despite the challenging year we have all experienced, the charity and the team are stronger and more resilient. I am honored to lead Walking With The Wounded into its next phase of growth and to continue to develop and deliver expert services and vital support for those who served.”
Dick Turpin, Chair of Walking With The Wounded’s board of trustees and former Managing Director of Artemis Investments, added, “I had the privilege of meeting Ed as he launched the charity with the first expedition to the North Pole. I have watched Ed and his team develop and grow Walking With The Wounded into an organisation that addresses the most complex needs of the veteran community.
“Ed’s leadership, commitment, passion and energy have been second to none. The veteran community have benefited greatly, from his vision and determination to help those in need. All the Trustees wish him every success with his future plans; he will always be part of our family.”
The charity began with a fundraising expedition to the North Pole with four wounded ex-servicemen to demonstrate their skills and determination. This and future expeditions are entirely funded by corporate sponsorship enabling the money raised to go to the charity’s employment, mental health and care coordination programmes. The next expedition, the Walk of Oman, is in February 2021.