Richard’s story

11 January 2024

Rich was referred to Veterans Outdoors by Op Courage in March 2023. Nine years previously he’d been
discharged from the RAF after a motorbike accident which left him in constant pain with knee, rib and
shoulder damage as well as a brain injury. Since the accident his life had spiralled downwards. He’d got
divorced and lost his home as a result. He found himself anxious, losing confidence and withdrawing
from everyday life. “I was just wasting my days away” he said, “I felt I didn’t belong anywhere or to
A brief moment contemplating suicide was a wake-up call. “I knew I had to get my mental health back
on track, find my own place, meet like-minded people and start talking again.” Four months on, with
determination and the support of Veterans Outdoors he’s doing just that.
A series of V.O events and courses have given him time to focus on his wellbeing, learn new skills and
meet like-minded people who he now sees in his own time. The Veterans Outdoors Soil-to-Supper
Horticulture Therapy Course at Dartington “reignited my passion for gardening and helped with my
confidence”. He went on to use his gardening and growing knowledge, along with his carpentry skills,
in the regular weekly sessions at Pentillie Castle in Cornwall and at Beaumont Park in Plymouth.
VO introduced Rich to a local landscaping firm and he’s now landed a full-time job which he loves. He’s
outdoors and using his carpentry. Rich is still an active beneficiary with VO, attending evening and
weekend events like kayaking on the River Dart. It ensures he keeps up the self-care he needs for his
wellbeing, continues to try new things and has a laugh with fellow veterans. “It’s the best I’ve felt for
10 years,” he says, “life is so much better now.”