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Our Virtual Book Club, launched by Wales-based Project Case Manager, Sarah Hattle, has now gone nationwide, as we look to engage further with veterans across the country. 

Sarah’s role is to tackle loneliness and isolation among veterans in Mid and North Wales. The Book Club started as a way of encouraging participants to make connections with each other beyond their shared military service. 

The club has been building and has received patronage from authors connected to the military and beyond. They donate their books to the members of the club and join the discussion at the end of that month, where participants talk about specific elements of the book, related topics and have the opportunity to ask questions. 

Sarah hosts the book club online 3 times a month
Sarah hosts the Book Club online, 3 times a month - Help for Heroes

So far the book club has featured books from a range of authors from Former Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander-turned-author, Mike Klidjian, to Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacy fame and most recently, broadcaster and journalist, Jeremy Vine. 

Sarah said: “It’s great that the authors are willing to donate their time to attend, because it means a lively discussion and helps people to engage more easily with the characters and story. 

Jeremy Vine joins a session to discuss his book
Jeremy Vine joins a session to discuss his book - Help for Heroes

“The Virtual Book Club concept is ideal for veterans as they are spread nationwide, and this is something they can do online across any distance. It provides a catalyst for group work where they can engage with like-minded people and make new friends in a relaxed atmosphere. 

“It has been proven connections are far more likely to be meaningful if there is a shared interest, rather than just a group based on demographics. If the only commonality in the group was just their military service, it is less likely people will connect meaningfully. People attending the group will have – or will gain – an interest in books and reading, and I’m hopeful this will spark friendships beyond the bounds of the group. 

“And, whatever the book and topic under discussion, just the regular interaction is both beneficial and enjoyable for all.” 

The Book Club meets three times a month. Veterans can register their interest by contacting sarah.hattle@helpforheroes.org.uk

Find out about the different ways that you can support us to enable us to continue to offer a diverse programme of events and activities for veterans.