VIA use their own unique ALIVE Programme which takes a non-therapy long term approach to veterans mental
health, to help veterans and their families grow at their own pace through participation on the projects run at the
ALIVE Centre or off site in the surrounding area or on long distance expeditions.
ALIVE Programme which is based on the studies of Dr Simon Crisp in Australia on Wilderness and Adventure Therapy
and the studies of Richard G. Tedeschi in the United States on Post Traumatic Growth.
VIA took what are working models and adapted them to what we now know as the ALIVE Programme.
The acronym ALIVE stands for:

ACHIEVE – LEARN – INSPIRE – VALUE – EXCEL

and is the basis of all that we do.
Being involved in ALIVE will create new positive memories where veterans can participate in their own growth
through working with their peers on tried and tested projects that will increase awareness, self-expression, and
community building.

THE IMPACT ON VETERANS

Veterans taking part on the projects within ALIVE can hope to achieve some impacts of which might be viewed in a holistic rather than clinical way and may achieve some, if not all the following:

  • Sense of purpose: Many veterans will find a new sense of purpose which may be missing in their lives, and the project will help them to give this back to those veterans following them in the future. This purpose will manifest in several ways; including a sense of pride, feeling motivated and giving something back by helping to develop future projects or challenges.
  • Anticipation: Future visits will be highly anticipated. For veterans who may be very isolated at home having something to look forward to is seen as being incredibly positive.
  • Mood and stress: Involvement will help veterans regain confidence which some may have lost after leaving the services and entering into the civilian world because of illness and/or social isolation. To go into an environment working alongside other veterans where they can instantly feel relaxed, chilled-out, secure and safe, can work at their own pace, can stop thinking negatively, can concentrate, learn new skills, be part of growing something, and most importantly where problems are understood – will impact positively on mood and stress levels.
  • Physical activity: The physical nature of the work for some as well as being out in the fresh air for all or part of the day will have positive impacts in relation to sleep related problems or being able to relax, remain calm or not become agitated.
  • Transferable skills: Veterans could translate experiences into their everyday life. This is important in building direction, motivation and purpose in individuals whose circumstances mean these may have been lost. 
  • Knowledge transfer: For some veterans the ability to pass on knowledge to others will have a positive aspect to their own experience of being able to give something back and develop new ideas and activities for the project and will help to rebuild confidence both those who imparting knowledge and to those learning new skills.
  • Stigma and understanding: The safe environment and knowledge that everyone taking part will be in the same boat will contrast to commonly stated feelings of being misunderstood in the civilian world.