The ethos behind VIA is that no matter what therapies, adventures or activities a veteran may participate on there is always an end point where the veterans must return home to their own environment and in many cases this may be part of the problem.
The Centre Based Element is a new element to ALIVE which has been developed to provide a safe haven for veterans and is situated in a rural location surrounded by beautiful countryside which in itself is therapeutic.
VIA ALIVE Centre enables veterans to attend a place of safety on a daily basis and all those attending the centre are encouraged to get involved in existing or developing future projects or to enable them to put forward their own ideas and act on them.
Existing and Future Projects
Veterans In Focus
This is a photography and film project where veterans learns the skills of photography and editing or are encouraged just to pick up a camera and take pictures. This works incredibly well on outdoor activities and expeditions as they walk through the amazing countryside of the UK. A new extension to this project will be to include film and recently veterans made a short info film and fundraising appeal. It is our aim to put together a film that veterans will be trained in all aspects by professionals and will be called ‘Walking off the Past’
Veterans Ground Force
This is a gardening project where veterans will develop a small vegetable and herb garden with the produce grown being used on the Veterans Healthy Living Project. Veterans have built raised beds at the VIA ALIVE Centre and have begun growing vegetables. A full planting programme will be designed by the veterans in the upcoming year.
Made by Veterans
This project was started from an idea from a veteran who started making some small para cord bracelets which were sold to raise funds that were put back into the project to include other small items. A grant has recently been applied for to help extend this project by buying equipment to design and print clothing and embroidery machine. Veterans will then be trained on the machinery and it is hoped this will create a job for a veteran.
Built by Veterans
Our most recent walking expedition was a 4,000 mile walk around the coastline of the UK and it was decided that it was a long time to camp as we usually do on our expeditions. VIA purchased an old library truck in December 2013 and over 4 months it was stripped back and a 10 berth fully-liveried tour bus was built that has a wet room and kitchen. All work was carried out by veterans on ALIVE and it it is hoped that this can extend to building an expedition vehicle.
Veterans Wilderness Project
This project will start in late February where two veterans will start a yearlong Survival Instructors Course as a Level 4 qualification. Throughout their own training they will train those on ALIVE in the subjects they learn and at the end of the year of training they will run a Bushcraft Course for a local organisation or school with the two instructors overseeing the course and those on ALIVE teaching different aspects.
Veterans Healthy Living
This is our newest project and VIA is looking on how to fund this project and again the ideas came from listening to what veterans wanted. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and the intention is to have a fully equipped gym, vegetable garden and fully equipped kitchen where veterans will be taught about nutrition and cooking on a budget. VIA have just been awarded funding for a veteran to work with us for a year that is a Sports Therapist and during his years employment will train as a Personal Trainer, Sports Injury, Hydrotherapy and Acupuncture. The garden will grow produce that will be used in the kitchen.
Veterans Aquatic Project
This is a new aspect that is still being worked on by Billy MacLeod and will be to set up a Marine Aquatic Tank with living coral and marine fish. Billy MacLeod has been studying this and it has been proved to relieve stress and also in many cases blood pressure which is why you see them in doctors and dentist surgeries. For VIA this has a larger function and will be used as a metaphor when working with veterans who have been involved in this project as when they are experiencing any negative emotions or have difficulty with some aspect of their lives then in these cases the Aquatic Project will be talked about with them and what they would do . Veterans will be involved in all aspects of setting the project up and will be trained by professionals on all aspects of looking after the tank and tank population.
Team VIA Challenges
This idea came about by listening to veterans who felt that training for challenges and taking part as a team really helped them through and eased their disorder and is the ethos of all that VIA do. The aim of the project is that veterans will lead teams through challenges such as Tough Mudder with the aim of helping each other throughout all aspects of the challenge and crossing the line as a TEAM. The T.E.A.M means Together Everyone Achieves More.More projects will be looked at as they are presented by veterans who become involved with VIA and ALIVE and other services will be invited to attend the ALIVE Centre to offer skills and advice not covered on ALIVE.
Veterans Music Project
This is currently just an idea and still has to be developed but will look to use improvised instruments and stage to tell a story of PTSD
Other services will be invited to attend the ALIVE Centre to offer skills and advice not covered on ALIVE.