September 2023 Newsletter: Latest News from Veterans Outdoors
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The Veterans Community has given a warm, positive welcome to our first emotional resilience courses, the unique series of events we've created to help veterans overcome some of the many psychological barriers that they can face in everyday life. Designed in consultation with many of our beneficiaries, the two one-day courses covered key areas such as relating to others, setting boundaries, embracing imperfection and even key tips for a good night’s sleep.
After the first course one female veteran told us:
The course yesterday was absolutely fabulous……It was so refreshing to see that a Veterans’ Charity had listened to their beneficiaries and had taken on board what they really needed…having the opportunity to break and chat to the other Veterans about our challenges is really important and sharing experiences really does help. Johnny Mercer often says that he wants the UK to be the best place to be a Veteran. I believe, with Veterans Outdoors and this program, the Southwest will be the best place to be a Veteran.
And of our third course, a series of Understanding Anger workshops, another veteran wrote:
I just wanted to say that your team are doing a great job. I hadn’t met them before but they are outstanding and really are helping to deliver a worthwhile course. The person running the course is helping us all join in the conversation and steering us to talk about ourselves in a relaxed and informative way. I for one am getting much from it, as I need some help controlling my emotions at times. See you soon and keep doing what you’re doing. You really have got an impressive organisation, with some very good people making it happen.
We’ll be running some more emotional resilience courses in the Autumn – keep an eye on our website for details or register your interest at [email protected]
Special thanks to St James’s Place Wealth Management Partnership for funding this series of courses.
We have news of two great fund-raising achievements this month. Huge thanks to Gordon ‘Smudge’ Smith for competing in the Naval Service Recovery Centre Rehabilitation Triathlon in Plymouth. Gordon, below - second from right, joined other beneficiaries for the swimming, cycling and rowing challenge.

Meanwhile Veterans Outdoors Head of Operations, Si Richardson, had to pull out of Plymouth’s Half Marathon fundraiser because of COVID – but as soon as he was better, and with support and agreement from all those who’d sponsored him, Si managed an early morning solo circuit of the course which he completed in 1hr 57’.   

Gordon and Si between them raised nearly £1500 for Veterans Outdoors and they’re already plotting to put together a full VO team for next year’s Rehabilitation Triathlon.


We just love being the bearers of good news and we were delighted to be able to tell one of our veterans, Andy Burns, that his name was first out of the hat in the ballot for two tickets to Wimbledon, courtesy of our friends at the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity. Andy, a former Royal Marine, attended day 5 of the Championships and his trip included a VIP tour of the courts before the public were admitted.

Andy, who went with his friend Amanda, told us “It was an amazing day….lovely people and brilliant to have a nice day in the sunshine.”


There was much heat and hammering on our first ever blacksmithing course at Rex Latham Blacksmithing in Cockington. The wellbeing benefit of the day was twofold - to learn a new skill while at the same time clearing the mind to focus on nothing except what’s in front of you. Our veterans were given a lump of metal at 1000 and had until 1500 to turn it into a handmade poker. The smiles on the ‘poker faces’ of our team show what a valuable day it was….    


And we’ve also been forging new links (see what we did there?!) with a number of other veterans’ organisations over the past few weeks. In the coming months we’ll be working closely on new projects with Help for Heroes and the Association of Wrens. We’re also delighted to be supporting a very exciting new project being created by Improving Lives Plymouth for veterans in the city. Watch this space for more details.   
Veterans wanting help to navigate the many different types of support available to them or who want guidance on the next steps in their journey can take advantage of our new Social Support service. Jodi will be running fortnightly sessions during which veterans can book a 50’ slot to talk about whatever they like – and if we can’t help, we’ll know someone who can. It’s not therapy or counselling – just a safe space, a listening ear and some great expertise as to what sort of help is out there. To book an appointment contact [email protected]    

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
[email protected]

Bernard Coleman - Admin/Events Assistant
Monday - Wednesday 9 - 4
[email protected]

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

Catherine Poate - Welfare Officer
Wednesdays & Fridays
[email protected]

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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