Cash storm engulfs soldiers’ mental health services, supported by Prince Harry

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The co-founder of a veteran suicide prevention network, backed by Prince Harry, is facing calls to step down over claims of misuse of funds and improper relationships.

Stephen James, 33, launched All Call Signs after the tragic death of a former soldier in his old regiment. The award-winning company operates SOS services for traumatized troops and is credited with saving many lives.

Mr James, who served in the Royal Regiment of the Princess of Wales in Northern Ireland, is said to have misused corporate funds generated through public donations, sponsorships and NHS contracts.

Speaking to the Mail last night, Mr. James admitted that “it could have been better” on the financial side of the business. He denied any wrongdoing, but declined to comment on “individual transactions” of corporate accounts.

Disputes over the management of All Call Signs are said to have prompted another co-founder Dan Arnold and Vivienne Marshall, the mother of a soldier whose suicide inspired the founding of the company, to quit in recent months.

Meeting: Harry and Meghan meet Vivienne Marshall at an awards ceremony in 2019

Meeting: Harry and Meghan meet Vivienne Marshall at an awards ceremony in 2019

All Call Signs Limited was founded in October 2018 following the death of Afghan war veteran Danny Johnson, 35, who committed suicide after losing a battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The former infantryman, who also served in Iraq and Bosnia, was found dead three days after his disappearance in woods near his home in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.

In an effort to reduce the number of traumatized troops losing their lives, Mr. Johnson’s mother joined forces with two of his former comrades, Mr. James and Mr. Arnold, to form All Call Signs.

In Review: Stephen James, Northern Ireland veteran

In Review: Stephen James, Northern Ireland veteran

In Review: Stephen James, Northern Ireland veteran

The company, which has no charity status, operates an SMS service and helpline for suicidal troops and has pioneered ‘Beacon’ technology to track down missing soldiers who could injure themselves.

Based in Portsmouth, All Call Signs recovered 66 veterans within a 12-month period using the support network of former soldiers, volunteers and families.

These successes led to a ‘Points of Light’ award from the Prime Minister. In a letter to Messrs James and Arnold, Boris Johnson said he was “lost in admiration” for the way they had used their military expertise to set up technical support services for PTSD patients.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wore All Call Signs wristbands when they met Mr. Johnson’s mother at an awards ceremony in 2019.

But, according to Companies House, All Call Signs Limited was scrapped in March 2020. It had not presented any bills, and it remains unclear how much money it received and how much was spent on veteran services, employee salaries, and administration.

The company now trades as The All Call Signs Group. It was founded in May 2019, but has to re-submit accounts.

An adviser to All Call Signs, Lana Watson, also resigned, and in emails to Mr James, she questioned several expenses apparently not covered by his salary, which is believed to be less than £ 30,000.

All Call Signs Limited was founded in October 2018 following the death of Afghan war veteran Danny Johnson, 35, who committed suicide after losing a battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

All Call Signs Limited was founded in October 2018 following the death of Afghan war veteran Danny Johnson, 35, who committed suicide after losing a battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

All Call Signs Limited was founded in October 2018 following the death of Afghan war veteran Danny Johnson, 35, who committed suicide after losing a battle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

She also inquired about Mr. James’ personal relationship with an All Call Signs corporate sponsor and later with a senior health worker at Solent NHS Trust.

Mr James confirmed last night that the company has been contracted by Solent NHS Trust since 2020 to provide peer support staff. He declined to disclose the value of the contract, but insisted it was in place before meeting the health worker.

He added: “I recognize that things could have been done better, managed better. But that’s for me and my team to discuss in privacy. I deny any financial misconduct. I am not going to comment on individual transactions. But I would strongly deny that taking one or two transactions out of context is like maladministration.

‘There was also no misconduct in either relationship and Solent NHS Trust is aware of my current relationship. It has been approved by the trust. ‘

As to why Mr. Johnson’s and Mr. Arnold’s mother had resigned, Mr. James said, “There is some explanation on their side of things. But I’m not going to speak for anyone else. ‘

Solent NHS Trust said: ‘We have recently been made aware of some concerns raised by other parties regarding all call signs. The service provided by All Call Signs continues to perform well and we are working with them to investigate the issues that arise under our usual contractual assurance processes. ‘

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