Helping to improve veterans’ mental health through outdoor-focused activities
Thanks to the support of the National Garden Scheme, in March 2022 our beneficiary ABF The Soldiers’ Charity were delighted to award £10,000 to Veterans Outdoors, a charity that improves the mental health and wellbeing of military veterans by providing person-centred therapeutic outdoors activities, mentoring and welfare support.
The support will allow 30-40 beneficiaries to experience a range of wellbeing activities across Devon and Cornwall. This can include horticultural therapy, growing and gardening activities, client-centred courses led by a horticultural therapist, community gardening projects and development of dedicated growing spaces for veterans. The South West has one of the highest concentrations of veterans leaving the Armed Forces with PTSD or another mental health condition. Without intervention these issues can spiral into joblessness, homelessness, criminal behaviour, self-harm and suicide.
“Mental health and wellbeing is a growing issue across all areas of society,” says National Garden Scheme Chief Executive, George Plumptre. “At the National Garden Scheme we have long-recognised the benefits of gardens and horticulture to health and channel our support to a number of gardens and health related charities. Seeing this money being put to work in this way, benefiting so many, is very rewarding.”
Jeremy Hibbard, CEO of Veterans Outdoors, said: “Outdoor therapeutic focused activities are a perfect match for veterans, who are naturally aligned with working outdoors, and where they can find friendships amongst like-minded peers and develop team spirit. These activities are proven to improve the mental health of veterans, helping to reduce anxiety, build their confidence and help them find meaning and purpose in their lives again. We are enormously grateful for funding from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity via the National Garden Scheme.”
For more about the National Garden Scheme and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity click here.