Veterans In Action (VIA) are a registered charity that helps armed forces veterans who suffer the hidden wounds of war or who have found the transition to civilian life difficult.
VIA was started by Billy MacLeod a former Royal Engineers soldier and who was a partner in the local taxi company A&B Cars situated in Winchester Street, Andover which he ran with his business partner Andy Newell for 17 years. After a serious car accident whilst working as a taxi driver Billy found that the accident had opened up a few wounds from his time in the army and found it difficult to go back to work as a taxi driver. He had to visit a psychiatrist to help with this but he found that it wasn’t for him and was at a loss at what to do.
The idea for VIA was born in his garden shed in Andover in 2008 with an idea to run expeditions to help those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with the idea that if it helped himself then it would help others. Billy then studied everything he could about PTSD including what was being done overseas and studied to become a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Time Line Therapy and Hypnotherpapy but found that the outdoors was the best healer.
Billy studied hard and designed his own Program called ALIVE using a proven method of Wilderness and Adventure Therapy from studies in Australia and his own studies in NLP which uses centre based projects and outdoor expeditions and adventures.
Since that time VIA have walked 12,600 miles across the length and breadth of the UK with over 400 veterans suffering from PTSD.
Due to the nature of these walks our TEAM was not in Andover much as we were out on expedition a lot of the time and were being drawn to the North West of England but we were proud to have started the charity in Andover and wanted to remain there so in 2013 VIA took possession of our first ALIVE Centre on the outskirts of Andover at Redenham Park Estate close to Ludgershall where we run day to day projects for those who suffer and where we plan all our expeditions.
One thing we have never been good at and that is the PR side of the charity world and we have quietly went about our business helping those in need and have went unknown in the town we started and operate from, Andover. We now want to rectify this by getting out amongst the community to tell them who we are and what we do and to invite people to come and visit our ALIVE Centre.
Last year Billy was awarded the Pride of Andover for Heart of Gold for his work and this year was called to the Deputy Prime Ministers residence in Whitehall, London to receive an award from the Deputy PM for Mental Health Hero for his work with veterans who suffer.
VIA are currently on a 4,000 mile Walk 4 PTSD around the coastline of Britain that set off from the Guildhall in Andover on the 04th of May which went off without many people knowing it was happening. We will be returning to Andover on the 31st of August where the TEAM will walk the last 6 miles into Andover from the Mayfly pub at Chilbolton leaving at 1100hrs and finishing at the Guildhall, Andover at the end of a long 4 months pounding out the miles to help those who suffer where the TEAM will be met by the Mayor of Andover and local MP Kit Malthouse.
VIA invite anyone who would like to join us for these last 6 miles or to meet us at the Guildhall at approximately 1300hrs.
If you would like the VIA TEAM to come to your group or company to do a presentation of our work we would be more than happy to do so. VIA are your charity and belong to Andover so come and show your support.