What we do / Our Stories / Lucy Graham - Our Team

Lucy Graham

Categories: Our Team - Stronger Together

When Lucy joined our Fellowships team eight years ago, she wasn’t imagining hosting get-togethers for veterans from behind a laptop screen! Yet in 2020, where none of the ‘new normal’ actually feels quite normal, this is just one of many things Lucy has found herself doing, as she and her team work tirelessly to support to our wounded, even while our recovery centres remain closed.

Lucy is our Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters Fellowship Manager for the north, which means she’s normally based at our Phoenix House recovery centre in Catterick, organising face-to-face events all year round for veterans and their families across northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Lucy and her team arrange activities designed to give our wounded and their loved ones safe environments to meet with like-minded people, share experiences and enjoy the camaraderie that many of them say they miss when they leave military life behind. Coffee mornings and family days out are normally par for the course.

But in March, Lucy’s role changed overnight. When our recovery centres closed, she and the rest of the Fellowships team worked fast to move their support online, so that the veterans who rely on it could continue to feel connected during difficult times. Since then, she’s been helping to run up to six virtual meetups a week, giving veterans the opportunity to talk about how they have been coping with lockdown. Lucy joins them from her home in Newcastle, having converted her spare bedroom into a temporary office space.

“The situation hasn’t been easy as things moved very quickly -  as they did for everyone. We didn’t really have time to get used to this new way of life! But being able to adapt our services so quickly has been rewarding. The feedback from veterans has been great, and it’s also been great to see a lot of faces come back and use the virtual get-togethers regularly. They are really helping people feel part of something.”

“When I first started working here, I grew a particular interest in the family members and how we could support them,” says Lucy. “There are [often] family members who suffering silently in the background, holding the family together, who need our support as well.”

For Lucy herself, staying connected with friends and family during the lockdown helped with “a bit of normality”. The lockdown also gave her and her husband, who married in January, some unexpected time together to settle into life as newlyweds. “We would usually be here there and everywhere. My husband serves in the Armed Forces and I travel a lot with work so it’s been a nice change for a while”, she says.

As lockdown restrictions ease, Lucy is looking forward to the day face-to-face Fellowship activity can resume once more. But she stresses that she and her team are keen to also continue to offer this new, virtual element to what they do alongside it.

“We would love to see more of our Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters members engage and benefit from this service,” she says.