We’re pleased to announce almost £3 million of support for veterans’ mental health projects in the last round of the Positive Pathways programme.
With funding from HM Treasury, since it began in 2019, the Positive Pathways programme has awarded funding to more than 200 veterans’ projects across the UK.
This final round of funding has seen projects range from bike building to beekeeping, and equine activities to a veteran-led eco hub.
The Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund, the overarching fund for both the Positive Pathways and Strategic Pathways programmes, has enabled the mental health challenges faced by many veterans, to receive specific focus and be properly addressed.
It has also led to the development of a supportive and mentor-driven way of delivering successful projects that can have maximum impact. Indeed, the success of the Strategic Partner model used to mentor Positive Pathways’ awardees has since been replicated in another programme.
Sonia Howe, Director of Policy for the Trust, says:
“Veterans’ mental health has been, and continues to be, a huge focus for our work in supporting the Forces community. We’re delighted that so many projects have worked with veterans to develop meaningful and much-needed activities to improve their wellbeing. Whether through sport, getting outdoors, or getting creative, these projects have embodied the ethos of the Positive Pathways programme: by veterans, for veterans.”
Projects which received funding in Northern Ireland are:
AA Veterans' Support
AAVS was awarded funding to support two schemes: the Veterans' Film Project and Armed Forces Ahead of the Game.
The Veteran's Film Project will equip veterans with skills in camera-work, script-writing, lighting, sound, editing and set-etiquette, so they can produce, film, direct, and edit their films. Taught by industry professionals, the project will enhance teamwork skills, raise self-esteem, promote positive mental health and overall wellbeing.
The Armed Forces Ahead of the Game project will work in partnership with Irish Football Association to deliver a programme of sporting activities for veterans with poor mental health and those facing social isolation. The programme will engage veterans through sport and recreational activity, with support towards education and qualifications that will provide meaningful employment and greater community integration.
Beyond the Battlefield NI
Beyond the Battlefield NI was awarded funding for its Battlefield Riversearching project, which will offer River Hunting with Mine Detectors and Magnets throughout various rivers for 20 veterans per month, over a one-year period. The aim is to offer a tranquil and calming environment for better mental and physical wellbeing amongst the veterans.
Brooke House Project
Brooke House Project was given funding to run its Building Connections EcoHub project. This will be a social, veteran-led hub, which incorporates a variety of nature-based activities and encourages veterans and their families to engage in their natural environment. Activities on offer will include art, mindfulness, fitness, and conservation projects.
The Defence Gardens Scheme
DGS have been given funds to support their regional rollout. The project will enable more veterans to benefit from tailored gardening projects through the Defence Garden Scheme through supporting the development of Defence Gardening Schemes in different locations and providing training to veterans who will then be able to share these skills with other veterans.
The Ely Centre has been given funding for its Veteran Fit Club (Walking football). The Veteran Fit Club will provide walking football to veterans and provide Men's Health advice covering weight loss, diabetes, cancer, healthy eating, and exercises working in partnership with other organisations.
Reading Force was given funding to support its Veteran Force: Connectedness and mental-wellbeing through shared reading project. Veteran Force will seek to reduce isolation and loneliness among veterans, working with them to develop collective, shared reading. Working with them, and through supporting organisations and collaborators, the veterans will benefit from the mental, social, and emotional wellbeing and personal agency that comes from discussing and sharing books.
The Royal British Legion Tandragee Branch
The Royal British Legion Tandragee Branch has been given funds to run two projects, A Golden Stitch in Time and Stages of War.
A Golden Stitch in time will enable veterans with mental health issues to learn new skills in machine embroidering, design, production and ordering materials to enable them to produce embroidered items.
Stages of War will give veterans who have experienced mental health issues an opportunity to learn how to put together a stage-play, including learning every aspect of production from writing, producing, and directing to lighting, sound, and stage management. The final piece will be performed in the prestigious Lyric Theatre Belfast.
Mind the Pipes and Drums, in partnership with Walking With The Wounded
Mind the Pipes and Drums has been given funds to support The Frontier Pipes and Drums scheme. This will enable veterans to partake in music based, social activities where they can learn new skills, develop a sense of achievement and pride. The project aims to improve veterans' mental health by reducing social isolation as well as undertaking a subtle form of music therapy.
A full list of the latest awards can be found here.