• The Old Grain Store, Redenham Park, Near Andover, Hampshire, SP11 9AQ
  • 01264 771658
ACHIEVE | LEARN | INSPIRE | VALUE | EXPERIENCE

ALIVE Programme

ALIVE

ACHIEVE | LEARN | INSPIRE | VALUE | EXPERIENCE

To successfully finish or do something you want to do, especially after a lot of effort

Service personnel are well versed in achieving results and they are encouraged to ACHIEVE things way beyond their expectations. On leaving the services some veterans can lose sight of this.

Being involved with the ALIVE Programme, veterans once again begin to learn that despite what they may be going through, they can still ACHIEVE remarkable things and grow as an individual and as part of a team, just like they once did in the military.

Veterans are encouraged to recognise their achievements, no matter how small they believe they are.

Ask yourself if you could have done it a day, a week, or a year ago. If the answer is no, then recognise you have moved forward.

VETERAN

Mark Colman

My name is Mark Colman and I served in the Royal Engineers and then worked as a commercial diver on leaving the service.
Due to an incident whilst diving where I lost a friend in a diving accident my mental health started to deteriorate, and I started to become angry which resulted in getting into some trouble. I was at a loss and didn’t know which way to turn but knew I needed help.

Mark Colman

Experiential learning is a large part of all our lives

When experiencing any project or challenge, no matter how small or large, we need to reflect and plan ahead in order to move forward positively.
Any challenge is a challenge of self confidence and self-esteem on many levels; therefore, a substitute is required, that being passion and intensity.

Experiential learning focuses on the idea that the best ways to learn things is by actually having experiences. Those experiences then stick out in the mind and help you retain information and remember facts.

The ALIVE Programme lends itself to all of that.

VETERAN

Steve Fry

Steve Fry joined Veterans In Action towards the end of 2021 having just lost a child and was very lost and lacked direction.

Steve had served on a particularly tough tour in Afghanistan and had been having nightmares and anxiety issues and had lost direction due to the loss of his child and as a lone parent to one more child.

Steve Fry

To make someone feel that they want to do something and can do it

Serving in the military we are surrounded by those who INSPIRE us to ACHIEVE more than we believe possible. On leaving the services, however, we can sometimes find it hard to find that same inspiration.

The ALIVE Programme provides a setting where veterans can be inspired by anybody who emulates the characteristics they desire for themselves, such as self-awareness, confidence, how to overcome challenges, how to cope under stress, and how to connect with your own strengths.

Inspiring others plays a pivotal role on the ALIVE Programme and through the power of inspiration and the right leadership skills, veterans can provide structure and stimulus to all those around them, effectively leading them to success, even during difficult times.

ALIVE: enables veterans to reawaken their own abilities to INSPIRE those who follow them.

VETERAN

Stephen Reilly

Having been diagnosed with PTSD in 2016 I was left in limbo with various treatments and therapies none of which worked! I was suffering badly and never believed I would make anything of my life again as I truly didn’t feel capable and barely left the house.

I discovered VIA in Feb 2020 and was given a true sense of belonging again, my first words on meeting with Billy was, I am 39 years old, and I will never work again.

Stephen Reilly

Is an appreciation of usefulness or worth

VALUE is an appreciation of usefulness or worth and helps those within the ALIVE Programme to determine what is important to them. VALUE also provides a sense of purpose and achievement such as taking part on an expedition or helping those in need during a crisis.
However, VALUE is ultimately about gaining self-worth. It is the means by which individuals VALUE their contribution to the group or project and is a measure of their own personal well-being and growth.

VETERAN

Dan Tranmer

Thoughts on my recent involvement with Veteran In Action….

After being medically discharged after 18 years’ service I really struggled to find a purpose in the world, I have been having treatment coming up to 8 years now and tried numerous medications all of which offered some respite but little relief in the grand scheme of things.

Dan Tranmer

Those who have served in the military have experienced more than the average person

Those who have served in the military have experienced more than the average person, good or bad and it is these experiences that have moulded the way we think and act.
For some, these experiences can have a negative impact on how they live their lives.
Veterans have a myriad of skills and EXPERIENCE in many different fields and situations. The ALIVE Programme enables veterans to harness the skills they learned within the military in a positive way by immersing themselves on our long-term projects using their EXPERIENCE to help those they are working with.

VETERAN

David Davies

When I met Billy for the first time in 2010, I was at the end of a ten-year nightmare and felt this would be my last attempt at anything. In fact, if I came back of the John O’Groats to Lands End walk feeling as I did when I started, I was intending to kill myself, I had already packed up my flat before I left and written the farewell letters to my family.

David Davies

ALIVE Programme

Looking from the outside, the most visible aspect of the work carried out by Veterans In Action is the building of vehicles, expeditions and humanitarian aid work carried out using these vehicles.

However, for some veterans, the introduction to a workshop can be rather overwhelming and to help in this process, several ‘pathway projects’ have been created as part of ALIVE that help ease veterans into the project that is right for them.

Below is a list of the projects run by Veterans In Action that help veterans once more feel ALIVE.

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BUILD IT

Veterans Expeditions Overland

Since 2017 veterans on ALIVE have stripped, built, and maintained Land Rovers and prepared them to expedition standard. This project is the main element of the long-term approach that the charity takes to help veterans suffering from PTSD that enables them to grow within the project working and learning beside their peers. All other projects within ALIVE work around this main project which is run at our centre workshop. This project has grown thanks to the many fantastic sponsors and grant funders involved in making this a successful project.

MAKE IT

This project was started in 2011 on one of the charity’s long-distance walks were camped by a river in the wilds of Scotland, veterans were handed a carving crook and asked to carve a spork while dinner was being cooked over a campfire, the concentration on doing this by those veterans was the basis of the Made by Veterans Project.

The project then progressed to making para cord wristbands and then printing mugs and T Shirts which were then sold to help fund the project. Always looking to progress with the project embroidery was introduced and a purpose-built workshop to print and embroider was built by veterans working alongside the VIA Team.


Made by Veterans is a project where veterans are taught to print and embroider clothing that fits in with the other projects where veterans print or embroider clothing that are worn by all take part on the projects run by the charity as well as charity merchandise that are sold commercially with all profits invested back into the project.

USE IT

The Veterans Expedition Overland project is an extension of the BUILD IT project where the vehicles built by veterans are used to undertake overland expeditions. This project has been running since 2018 with over 25 different countries visited during that time with veterans who suffer.

This is our oldest project that had humble beginnings where veterans took part on expeditions using the expedition equipment that has progressed since our early days where cheap 2 or 3 person tents were used when undertaking long-distanced walking expeditions. Over 500 veterans took part on these walks that covered a distance of 13,500 miles.

Through that time equipment continued to improve as Veterans In Action grew as an organisation up until the present day where veterans build the vehicles to be used on overland expeditions.

FILM IT

The Veterans In Focus Project is where veterans record all aspects of the work undertaken within ALIVE and veterans are taught how to use still and video cameras to film and edit all aspects of the work undertaken by the charity which are the made into short films.

On our early walking expeditions, veterans were encouraged to take pictures that created memories that were long lasting, a huge part in moving forward through mental health. All these pictures were shared within the veterans taking part and family and friends could also see the growth of their loved ones.

Over the years this project has progressed into making videos for YouTube and other Social Media outlets creating new positive memories

VETERANS WALK & TALK (VW&T)

The VETERANS WALK & TALK Project started as a Pilot Project in February 2023 based on the charity’s experience of long-distance walking across the UK in the early years of Veterans In Action.

The VW&T Project has proved to be very popular and is now seen as a project that creates a pathway to the more in-depth projects run at the ALIVE Centre.

The project also includes veteran’s families and supporters and representatives of other organisations who cover aspects of support not covered by Veterans In Action.

The aim is to grow this project in other towns with volunteers running their own local walks for veterans.

If you’re interested in starting your own VW&T, please send an email to info@veteransinaction.org.uk

BRICKS ‘N’ BANTER

The Bricks ‘N’ Banter project started from a suggestion from a VIA volunteer who had started using LEGO through the pandemic to occupy his mind.

This idea was put forward to the VIA Team which to be honest we didn’t get at the time of presenting it. This led to a period of study as to the benefits of using LEGO.

The study found that LEGO was used with children diagnosed with autism with three distinct roles.

ENGINEER: the Engineer uses the LEGO instructions and asks the Supplier for the specific pieces of Lego needed.

SUPPLIER: gives the Builder the pieces.

BUILDER: follows the building instructions from the Engineer in order to construct the model. 

These roles change at each new session.

A study was then undertaken to find if any other veterans organisation were using LEGO to help with veteran’s mental health and nothing was found in the UK but on further study it was found that some veterans in the USA were using LEGO to help with the symptomology of PTSD.

Once established that the project wasn’t replicated in any other organisation, a plan was put together to go ahead with starting the Bricks ‘N’ Banter project.

It was still in the back of the VIA Team’s mind that if they did not get the idea initially then other veterans may not get it either.

It was decided to build some sample models to display that veterans would be interested in, and those involved were keen to start the project.

We have found since starting the project many veterans have been building LEGO at home to help with mental health and those interested have donated LEGO kits to the project.

The aim of the project long term, is to build a collection of models built to a theme and in time to put on a LEGO show with veterans displaying the models.

Working together building with LEGO enables veterans to build relationships and to help with communication.

The Bricks ‘N’ Banter project is used as a gateway project for those who may find other projects too intimidating initially.

If you would like to donate a LEGO kit or LEGO bricks to the project, then please send an email to info@veteransinaction.org.uk

ALIVE

Through the charity’s experience over the last 14 years, we have found that when you run different projects for different interests’ groups can be separated and maybe not communicate with each other.

To stop this happening, ALL the charity’s projects are linked with the central project being the building of vehicles.

The other projects surround and support the main project, so open communication is achieved with the different projects making one cohesive group all working towards the end results.

All this can be achieved within ALIVE

Veterans Mental Health Awareness Standard
The confederation of service charities
Veterans In Action is a Registered Charity No. 1128026
LOCATION
Veterans in Action
The Old Grain Store
Redenham Park
Near Andover
Hampshire
SP11 9AQ
CONTACT
  • 01264 771658
  • info@veteransinaction.org.uk
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Virtual Challenges

The Three Challenges

ALIVE VIRTUAL CHALLENGES are unique compared to those you might find through an internet search. These challenges not only make a difference for yourself but also for military veterans who have experienced the effects of war or who have struggled with transitioning to civilian life.

Unlike traditional challenges where you simply pay a fee and receive a medal, our challenges are all about MAKING A DIFFERENCE by raising funds equivalent to the mileage you complete.

GRAND CHARITY BALL - 2024

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I needed focus I needed something to fill my time, well maybe not fill my time but something to focus on like a target, a needed to get back my drive.

I started to help VIA ‘Veterans In Action’ and found something that I could do, use the old skills that I learnt in the army and more since I left which I did not register I had.

I had been missing that motivation to do something that I wanted to do and gain that level of self-gratification and achievement.

Everybody has a skill set, but it’s the motivation to use it we can lose, VIA have various projects on the go all the time, hopefully I have found my niche to help them and myself to gain personal gratification by being  a member of a team again and a job well done.

After discussions I realised that it’s this which advances my mental well-being and my ongoing fight against depression and the feeling of worthlessness.

I have woken up, helping hand in hand with fellow soldiers suffering from labelled disorders finding strength from weakness, realising what helps them generally does helps me, the recognition has been an awakening.”

Ian ‘Chalky’ White former 17th/21st Lancers and B Sqn 22 SAS

Veterans In Action have been filming our expeditions for many years for our YouTube Channel, Veterans Expeditions Overland, and through this experience of not only running the expeditions but also capturing footage that enables veterans who have taken part in a place of reference to recapture how they felt by taking part.

The Veterans In Focus project enables veterans to learn new skills and record not only the expeditions we run but also the day-to-day work on all projects connecting them all together so everyone feels involved in all aspects of the work we do.

VIA take a long-term approach to helping veterans who suffer to enable them to grow within a project working alongside their peers. All this can be achieved within this project which can be ongoing and would allow veterans to learn new skills or to pass on skills learned during their time in the services

Some of the outcomes of the project are a sense of purpose, regaining confidence and working in an environment alongside other veterans where they can instantly feel relaxed, chilled-out, secure, and safe.

Veterans can work at their own pace, stop thinking negatively, concentrate, learn new skills, be part of building something, and most importantly where problems are understood this will positively impact mood and stress levels.

For those involved in the project, they can also get involved on an expedition HERE

I became involved with VIA in 2010 after my life took a turn for the worse and was invited along to do some fundraising with them.  This helped me no end and in time my life got back on track.  I completed a Union Flag Walk with them from Cape Wrath to Land’s End which again helped as walking and talking with other veterans with similar stories was a great help in understanding how I was feeling.  I gained control of my life again.

In 2019, I took part in an overland expedition travelling through the Spanish Pyrenees and whilst away my life took a turn for the worse again due to family problems back in the UK.  On my return I had to start again and rebuild and focus on the future and with the help of Veterans In Action I got back on track and took control.

I now own and run my own courier business.

Mark Colman former Royal Engineers

To date, we have travelled 25,000 miles travelling through 30 different countries and some of them several times both on overland expeditions for humanitarian aid through the pandemic and more recently supplying medical humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

It is important to note that to take part in one of our overland expeditions we insist that veterans get involved in the BUILD IT part of the project. The reason for this is part of the Post Traumatic Growth process which is our method for helping veterans so that veterans can grow within a team of their peers, learning new skills and relearning old skill sets that may have been forgotten after service.

Leading up to an expedition involves expedition training which will include off-road driving, navigation, camp setups, camp cooking and daily maintenance, something most veterans will understand from their time in the services.

It would be unfair for any individual to turn up on the day of an expedition who hadn’t previously been involved as everyone else would have been working together over a long period of time so due to the very nature of the mental health problems of those we take out on expedition turning up on day 1 for any individual could become very difficult to find where they fit in no matter how welcoming everyone was.

It is the involvement long-term on building the vehicles that enable veterans to grow that gets them to a place where they fully enjoy all aspects of the expedition experience starting from the minute that an overland expedition sets off.

I became involved with VIA in 2010 after my life took a turn for the worse and was invited along to do some fundraising with them.  This helped me no end and in time my life got back on track.  I completed a Union Flag Walk with them from Cape Wrath to Land’s End which again helped as walking and talking with other veterans with similar stories was a great help in understanding how I was feeling.  I gained control of my life again.

In 2019, I took part in an overland expedition travelling through the Spanish Pyrenees and whilst away my life took a turn for the worse again due to family problems back in the UK.  On my return I had to start again and rebuild and focus on the future and with the help of Veterans In Action I got back on track and took control.

I now own and run my own courier business.

Mark Colman former Royal Engineers

The idea for the Made by Veterans project started as far back as 2011 on one of our long-distance walking expeditions where we were camped next to a river in Scotland and were getting the evening meal over an open fire using a Dutch Oven.

The veterans on the walk were given a carving tool and told to carve themselves a spoon for their meal. We observed the concentration on their faces and the laughs within the group were great to see we knew by focusing on something enabled them to engage with others and produce something they could use.

Fast forward several years and we now teach veterans to design merchandise including printing mugs, pring clothing and also to embroidering clothing.

We have been doing this for many years now and the reality is most veterans initially are a bit reticent to get involved but once they do they become very enthusiastic.

All items made are used on our expeditions and also sold to the public with all funds going back into the project and also to fund other projects that the veterans get involve on

I was suffering badly and never believed I would make anything of my life again as I truly didn’t feel capable!

I discovered VIA in Feb 2020 and got involved in building the vehicles and I was given a true sense of belonging again, I went every day I could manage and pushed myself to go even on those days you feel you just can’t!

In combination with therapy with TILS and being a member of VIA, I have rediscovered myself.

VIA is a post-traumatic growth charity and since being here I’ve certainly done that; I’ve grown and can happily say that I am now back in full-time employment with a family and a future!

It is thanks to VIA that I have grown, and I still go to VIA on my days off continuing in my growth, thank you!

Stephen Reilly former RMP

Many veterans become socially isolated after leaving the Forces and can struggle to adjust to civilian life, this project brings a group of veterans together who support each other, in many different ways and veterans, once more feel a sense of belonging something they often miss once leaving service.

VIA take a long-term approach to helping veterans who suffer to enable them to grow within a project working alongside their peers. All this can be achieved within this project which can be ongoing and allow veterans to to learn new skills or to pass on skills learned during their time in the services

Some of the outcomes of the project are a sense of purpose, regaining confidence and working in an environment alongside other veterans where they can instantly feel relaxed, chilled-out, secure, and safe.

Veterans can work at their own pace, stop thinking negatively, concentrate, learn new skills, be part of building something, and most importantly where problems are understood this will positively impact mood and stress levels.

For those involved in the project they can also get involved in an expedition (USE IT)