Dundee Therapy Garden

Wednesday 10th March 2021

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (the Trust) is 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.

Helping veterans reconnect

Back in November 2019, Dundee Therapy Garden were awarded £70,00 for a two-year garden project, allowing veterans with physical and/or psychological difficulties to tackle their issues and adopt coping mechanisms, enabling them to reconnect with family, friends and the community.

With the onset of Covid and lockdown measures, the groups’ activities were, understandably, affected. But veterans were able to begin coming to the garden again as measures eased. The group explained that some veterans who had moved on, came back to the garden because of the effect of lockdown on their mental and physical health.

One veteran said: “The NHS saved my life, but the garden gives me life.” The group says that many of their veterans have said they agree. Others have talked of increased self-confidence and independence and several date the turnaround in their lives from the day they came to the garden.

85 more excellent projects

This final round of funding has seen projects range from bike building to beekeeping, and equine activities to a veteran-led eco hub.

Step Together Volunteering received £35,000 to provide the opportunity for veterans and injured Service personnel to build a replica Bronze Age roundhouse using archaeological evidence to ensure authenticity.

Deborah Saw, Operations Manager said: “Step Together Volunteering is thrilled to receive much needed funds for their latest volunteering project at Butser Ancient Farm in Hampshire, especially at a time when there are so many charities in need. The ‘Positive Pathways’ funding will provide a fantastic opportunity for veterans and injured Service personnel … to develop new skills, improve self-esteem, and increase their confidence and social network.”

Veterans’ mental health and wellbeing

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.

Sonia Howe, Director 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.”

Find out more A list of the most recent awards made can be found on the Trust’s website: covenantfund.org.uk where you can also fund other Positive Pathways news and case studies.

Image: Dundee Therapy Garden

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