Supporting Veterans through the COVID-19 pandemic

by AFCSH in Exeter, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 15th July 2020 we successfully raised £510 with 12 supporters in 41 days

We support Armed Forces Personnel, Service Leavers, Veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

by AFCSH in Exeter, England, United Kingdom

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We provide a Tri-Service Hub, offering a safe environment with a single point of focus in Devon for Armed Forces Personnel, Service Leavers, Veterans and their families/dependents, providing the most timely, ongoing and comprehensive support to them. Usually, veterans access the Hub on a daily, weekly and monthly basis for a plethora of reasons from loss of self-worth/purpose, physical or sensory illness, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, unemployment, family breakdown, substance abuse, friendlessness, isolation, housing or homelessness etc. The model is a STEP programme-Stability and Resilience (essential needs met, motivation, goal setting) and each veteran has a personalised programme and can also join community building activities, including our coffee mornings which are held at a number of locations in Devon.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our clients have experienced a deterioration of their mental health, especially those living in isolation and/or suffering with PTSD and anxiety-related disorders. To support them, we have launched a programme of digital engagement activities that simulates the face to face work we usually carry out. These include coffee mornings, wellbeing, yoga and mindfulness sessions, quiz nights, nutrition and cookery classes, fitness and movement, as well as one-to-one mentoring.

As some of the social distancing restrictions will become more relaxed, we are also planning to resume some open air activities though we will make sure to remain fully compliant with government guidance. These will include heritage tours with local historians and archaeologists,  woodland management working with the National Trust, beach cleans and orienteering on Dartmoor.

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The funding raised by this project will enable us to help over 200 veterans to integrate into the civilian community during the COVID-19 pandemic, support them back into work, training or education, become more active, healthy and confident, and acquire new skills and cope with self-isolation and loneliness.

We know our work makes a big difference to our clients, as these testimonials confirm:

  • ‘The Hub’ has been extremely helpful and supportive. They helped me identify and vocalise my needs and have assisted in identifying sources of funding and courses, which have enabled me to fulfill some urgent needs and given impetus for the future (Ex Royal Air Force).
  • Having left the Coldstream Guards in 2002 I went on to do CP and Maritime Security. After the 'bubble burst' I found that I lost direction. The Hub Staff in Exeter was brilliant helping me to get back on my feet! A life-line that needs promoting (Ex Coldstream Guard).
  • ‘The Hub’ has given me the extra support I needed whilst I was in a low place. If it weren't for ‘The Hub’ I have no doubt that I would be in prison or have been to prison. I have found all the staff at The Hub very helpful and friendly (Ex Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers).
  • I have the utmost respect for the The Hub team and I recommend anyone in a similar position to mine to use the people and the range of support tools they have in place there. I can’t speak highly enough of them – I really wouldn’t be where I am today without “The Hub" (Ex-Royal Artillery).

Please help us to make a difference for our Service Men and Women as they find their way back into civilian life.

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