January 2023 Newsletter: Latest News from Veterans Outdoors
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Another year gone - and a perfect time to reflect on our many great achievements this past year. We’ve staged a record-breaking number of events and the number of veterans registering with us is the highest it’s ever been. But don’t take our word for it – let’s look back through the eyes of one of our beneficiaries, Barbara Godkin, who sent us a whole album of photographs she’s taken with us during the year. And just as precious to us as the memories of all these great events have been Barbara’s smiles and encouragement – come rain or shine.  

And Barbara has even written us an ‘ode’ to Dartington’s Walled Garden,
the venue for our in-demand ‘soil to supper’ courses.

We're free spirits as happy as can be

Working in the garden with lovely company

We have Catherine there who jollies us along

Also Jan, singing her wiggly worm song

We may all be from different walks of life

And encounterd lots of trouble and strife

However in the garden our troubles are gone

As we all work together and end up as one.

....and we’ve just completed our third Soil-to-Supper course at Dartington. Eight beneficiaries completed the 10-week course which is proven to help reduce anxiety, improve quick-thinking and problem solving skills and boost confidence, as well as helping the team make new friends and learn some valuable gardening skills in a beautiful setting. Comments from the cohort included…

“The banter cheered me up and I forgot about my depression….I’m not so lonely now.”

“Each time I came I felt much calmer. It gave me some time to pause and think while doing something physical.   

This year the Dartington soil-to-supper cohort also included a father and son. The son, an 18 year old Royal Navy Reservist, was encouraged to attend because his Dad, an Army Veteran, was worried about his mental health. At the end of the course he told us:

“Metaphors about gardening and seasons relating to life helped me with perspective. It helped with my emotional wellbeing, my self-worth and my relationship Dad. The people made a friendly and enjoyable environment. Now we have the knowledge and confidence to grow veg at home which will help us to relax and de-stress”.

We’ll be running another Soil-to-Supper course in April 2023. If you’d like to register your interest in attending, drop Bernard a line at

Following our appearance on the BBC's Countryfile programme in November, there’s been even more media interest in our projects with the BBC’s regional news programme, Spotlight, filming one of our Artemis gatherings at The Glade at Dartington at the beginning of December. About 20 women veterans gathered for Yoga, Foraging and Soup – as well as having conversations about how each might get involved in their local community during the Christmas period.

Thanks to funding from the Armed Forces Covenant’s Veterans in Communities project there will be a number of community-focussed activities over the Christmas period and into the New Year. The first of these was a session, at the beginning of December, working alongside the local community at Buckfast Abbey making festive wreaths.      


Meanwhile our wreath making skills were on show at this year’s Remembrance Day Train of Poppies event. Two wreaths from Veterans Outdoors went on the early train from Newton Abbot to London Paddington where they form the backdrop for a commemoration there. And, if you look very closely, you’ll see we even made it to the top shelf of the display.  

In just two years, Veterans Outdoors has developed from an obscure, niche organisation to become one of the most respected Veterans' charities in the South West. We couldn't have done this without our brilliant, dedicated, caring team of staff, the support and vigilance of our trustees and the generosity of some visionary funders who have recognised the value of what we do and have chosen to support us and our partner organisations through some turbulent times. 

To that list of those who make us what we are, we must now add our beneficiaries - a growing cohort of veterans who are instrumental in helping to shape the charity as it moves forward. It is their willingness to work closely with us that enables a good charity to become a truly great one. We are there for you and we look forward to collaborating even more closely with you all in 2023. 

On behalf of all the staff and our Trustees, we wish all our beneficiaries and supporters a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

We'll see you in '23!
                                    Jeremy Hibbard. Chief Executive, Veterans Outdoors.
If you would like to get involved in anything we are doing, please get in touch at or call 07760 729080

Should you require any out of hours support you may like to use one of the following agencies listed below.
The Samaritans 116123 (24hr helpline)
Combat Stress 0800 138 1619
Hopeline 0800 0684141
Devon First Response 0808 1968708 (24 hr Urgent Mental Health Helpline)


If you're a veteran, or you're about to transition from the forces, and you feel you could benefit from a bit of outdoor wellbeing with a friendly, supportive team working in some of the South West's most beautiful locations, why not get in touch? Or if you know a veteran you think would benefit, please send them our way. Or come and be a mentor for us - everyone's welcome! 

Finally, a huge thank you to all our funders who make what we do possible. We are grateful to.....

The 29th May 1969 Charitable Foundation, The Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund, The Army Benevolent Fund Soldiers' Charity, The Robert Clutterbuck Trust, The Country Landowners Association, The De Laszlo Foundation, Devon Community Foundation, Devon County Council, D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, The Elmgrant Trust, Finnis Scott Trust, The Fore Trust Fund, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Roger and Jean Jefcoate, The Clare Milne Charitable Trust, Mole Valley Farmers National Lottery Awards for All, Newton Abbot Town Council, The RAF Benevolent Fund, The Schreier Foundation, St James' Place, The Swire Trust, Torbay Community Foundation, The Veterans Foundation.  


Si Richardson - Operations Manager
Monday - Thursday 8 - 4

Bernard Coleman - Admin/Events Assistant
Monday - Wednesday 9 - 4

Jodi Johnson - Women's Lead / Head of Welfare
Mondays to Fridays 9 - 5

Catherine Poate - Welfare Officer
Wednesdays & Fridays

Contact telephone number - 07760 729080
Copyright © Veterans Outdoors 2021, charity number 1175204. All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
c/o 4, Stonesclose, 
Galpin Street,
PL21 0RZ

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Veterans Outdoors · Bovey Tracey · Bovey Tracey, Devon TQ13 9DB · United Kingdom

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