Four UK charities are celebrating the progress made by their beneficiaries this National Volunteer Week thanks to a commitment to working in partnership.
A new sailing course supporting volunteering opportunities for disadvantaged young people and wounded Veterans has seen incredible results, with 100% of candidates reporting that the initiative has increased their self-confidence.
Born from a partnership between Help for Heroes, The Prince’s Trust, forces sailing charity Turn to Starboard and national volunteering organisation Step Together, the six day sailing course on board the ‘Spirit of Falmouth’ created a close-quarters but friendly and exciting environment in which two different groups of people facing very different challenges could volunteer for a life-changing adventure out on the water.
On arrival, each wounded Veteran was paired with a young person. This buddy system encouraged mutual learning and personal development, as well as fostering teamwork.
Participants were supported by an ex-military crew. Their expert knowledge, military can-do attitude and supportive banter created an empowering environment for participants to learn from each other.
One of the Veterans who benefitted from the week was Scott. After a long and successful military career, Scott was struggling to come to terms with his impending medical discharge due to ongoing mental and physical health issues. With his confidence rapidly decreasing due to his sense of purposeless, Scott had found his young daughter's nursery school run was quickly becoming the only structure in his day.
Scott was encouraged to contact Step Together about getting involved in volunteering opportunities to combat this sense of purposelessness. A 1:1 meeting with the Step Together Volunteering Project Manager at Tedworth House quickly changed all of this. She explained that volunteering could bring back some structure to his day as well as help him to find his confidence again. In addition he would develop skills and experience to enhance his CV. She wanted to help him feel good about himself again.
Listening to Scott’s interests and hobbies it became very clear that he had a passion for sailing, despite considering himself almost a novice. He liked the idea of mentoring and after a search of volunteering opportunities the Volunteer Project Manager was able to suggest that Scott might be able to combine the two passions through the Princes Trust Sailing expedition with Turn to Starboard. An introduction was organised, Scott passed the interview and all the clearances were granted to allow Scottto attend. Despite some initial apprehension, Scott was keen to be back at sea again.
Scott’s hugely successful story is just one from a week in which so many benefitted.
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes says; “Help for Heroes knows the transition into civilian life can be daunting but we strongly believe that our wounded, injured and sick are very skilled individuals with a huge amount to contribute to society. We are proud to be joining forces with The Prince’s Trust, Turn to Starboard and Step Together to create opportunities for the individuals we all endeavour to support.”
Philippa Clare, Help for Heroes National Partnership Manager at The Prince’s Trust says: “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate not only the effective collaboration between multiple charities but also to applaud the fortitude of each wounded veteran and each Prince’s Trust young person who has stepped out of their comfort zone and engaged with this powerful, life-changing sailing course. I created the programme last year and have since delivered it a number of times with the fantastic ex-military crew from Turn to Starboard. Each candidate comes onboard with their own set of personal challenges but in this mutually supportive and dynamic environment, they inspire confidence and positivity in each other; it is super to hear how individuals such as Scott have applied this renewed resilience and motivation back in their own lives.”
Shaun Pascoe, CEO and founder of Turn to Starboard says; “We are really excited about the impact this initiative is having on both The Prince’s Trust young people and the veterans we support. Spirit of Falmouth is a 92ft traditionally rigged schooner, as such she requires a level of teamwork and positive attitude to make her go forward. We look forward to many more stories like Scott’s.”
Lorna FitzPatrick WIS Volunteering Project Manager, at Step Together, says “Step Together helps wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans across the UK to rebuild their lives through volunteering. As well as physical trauma, many of those referred to us suffer severe anxiety, insomnia and a lack of confidence. Struggling to adjust to their new circumstances they may feel isolated and lacking in purpose. Volunteering provides a focus for the day, a positive outlet for energy, an opportunity to increase social networks and to interact with others in similar situations. The outcome is a significant boost in confidence and powerful change in self-perception. Our clients and their families report rediscovered self-confidence, self-esteem and independence – essential for the transition to new jobs and careers outside of The Forces.”