Veterans Places, Pathways and People

Kent Arts and Wellbeing(KAAW) is delighted to be part of the Veterans Places, Pathways and People project in the Southeast of England, in Partnership with Veterans Outreach Support (VOS). Thanks to the leadership and generous funding provided by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust (AFCFT), Veterans Outreach Support (VOS) has assembled a portfolio of projects named ‘Partnership in Mind’ reflecting the collaborative, joined-up approach of the projects involved, and the emphasis on the wellbeing and mental health of veterans and their close families.

‘Partnership in Mind’ will act as an inclusive hub to bring together 9 South East based veteran and ex-forces charities to improve the provision of care to those who have served and their families, by direct support in places that are veteran-friendly, with people who understand and can help them or can help them by enabling clear pathways to wider and specialist sources of support.

The South East’s Partnership in Mind portfolio unites; Fighting with Pride, The Poppy Factory, Veterans’ Growth, Walking With The Wounded, First Light Trust, Veterans in Action, Kent Arts & Wellbeing, Defence Medical Welfare Service and the Veterans Community Network. The collaboration will create an integrated pathway to improve the access of veterans to employment opportunities, access to education, financial advice, wellbeing support, housing information and legal services – all of which are factors related to the quality of an individual’s life and mental health.

This mix of portfolio elements ranges from well-established and well-founded armed forces charities to those at an earlier stage of development who are delivering quality support on a smaller scale, but who can grow their capabilities and reach veterans through membership of the collaborative portfolio. KAAW is looking forward to working more closely with VOS and the other partners within the project over the next two years, growing and developing their relationships with veterans.

KAAW will be developing creative drop in coffee mornings in multiple locations across Kent. These coffee mornings will be run fortnightly, and will provide an opportunity both for maintaining or developing friendships, and for exploring creative opportunities that reflect veterans’ interests. The range of potential creative activity is huge and will be driven by veterans – we are already looking at developing a community  sensory garden and using ceramics to further enhance its appeal, setting up a ukele band, model making,  singing, and lots more.

Each hub will have a manager, supported by volunteers who will provide continuity over the 2 year project life. The first hub is being established in Dover followed by Canterbury, Maidstone , and Medway. We are exploring  possibilities in Ashford,  Folkestone and Thanet – but are unlikely to be able to support all three.

The project is being led by Adrian Bawtree, KAAW director, and he will be delighted to talk to anyone interested in coming along to a coffee morning or offering volunteer support . He can be contacted on adrian@kentartsandwellbeing or 07805926455.

Adrian says” “It is a great pleasure to be involved in this project. The response we have had to the creative activities offered has been very enthusiastic and is a clear demonstration of how the creative arts can positively enhance peoples’ wellbeing, the Veteran’s community in particular.”

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