Support for Veterans in Plymouth Changes Lives

Veterans learning new skills

For the last five years, working alongside local charity Devon Community Foundation, the Royal British Legion have been supporting Armed Forces members, veterans and their families in Plymouth.

Royal British Legion set up a Fund with the Foundation to support voluntary, community groups and charities offering support such as mental health and counselling projects, integration into the civilian community, family life projects, employment advice or self-help and peer support groups and activities.

Farm-Able, which has received £10,000 from the fund over the years, support and rehabilitate veterans who have experienced trauma by providing a therapeutic programme of rural and craft skills. The veterans are often suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and are wary of situations and the environment around them. Thanks to this funding the veterans are given a safe environment with mentors that understand their condition and can offer support and guidance.

Several participants have made major changes in their lives, not only helping them cope in the day to day world but also in their personal lives. One veteran has found being part of the project has made a remarkable difference to his life, building his confidence and securing new employment. He says his life has been changed thanks to the support;

“Before I came here my mind was in turmoil, but once I arrived I started to relax, which was a good feeling. You can tell them everything and anything.”

Mark Ashley, Project Coordinator for Farm-Able is grateful for the Funds’ essential support, “Thanks to your grant we’ve been able to utilise our skills and help veterans who have various mental health conditions cope better with their lives.”

Royal British Legion and Devon Community Foundation are delighted by the impact and benefit their partnership offers the local community. Roger Garratt, from Royal British Legion said, “Although Royal British Legion are a national charity with strong local roots, working with Devon Community Foundation strengthens our effectiveness within the community. With their deep local knowledge and expertise they are perfectly positioned to assist in achieving our goals and enable us to make a real difference to the lives of anyone who is, or has served, in the Armed Forces together with their families who find themselves in need.”

Martha Wilkinson, Chief Executive of the Foundation added, “Since the fund’s inception it has provided £62,807 in grants to small, local organisations embedded in our Plymouth community, helping 7,180 service personnel and their families. The fund has also been a hotbed for fantastic ideas, with two of the projects supported, HMS Heroes and a veteran’s memory café in Plymouth, going on to become national projects. We’re pleased to have assisted Royal British Legion in doing what they do best!”

Applications from projects in Plymouth addressing any of the above needs are welcome at any time, and if you have any questions you can find out more about the Foundation and funding opportunities at www.devoncf.com. Applicants can get in touch on 01884 235887 or email grants@devoncf.com.