Turning Pages, Changing Lives: The Bound by Veterans Workshop Experience

Recently 6 members of the Veterans Outreach Support community signed up to take part in one of our full-day wellbeing activities, a book binding workshop held by Bound by Veterans.

Read on to learn how they got on, what Bound with Veterans is all about, and why book binding is a such a popular wellbeing activity at VOS.


Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support

Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support

Bound by Veterans: An Artful Recovery

Bound by Veterans (BBV) is a charity that we love to work with. Started in 2011 when Jonathan Powell (a former Army Officer),  and Rob Shepherd (an expert bookbinder and Managing Director of Shepherds Bookbinding), met and became friends.

With Jonathan’s 40 years of experience in the Army and working with veterans and Rob’s understanding of the importance of inclusion (after suffering from polio as a child), they both knew how difficult times in your life can be overcome with the right mindset and support system around you.

Bound by Veterans was created to support wounded, injured and sick (WIS) ex-Servicemen and women from all three Services and uses creative bookbinding to help with rehabilitation, improve mental health, and foster wellbeing.

We at Veterans Outreach Support have enjoyed many bookbinding workshops with their facilitators, usually at our home base in the Royal Maritime Hotel. You can see some photos from a past bookbinding workshop in this blog featuring our mascot, Stanley.

This time, some of our service users got to visit BBV at its own home base: the Daffodil Barn in Wiltshire.


Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support

‘It’s a really immersive, mindful activity, very well facilitated by Mylyn.’ – Mark

Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support

Find Healing Through Book-Binding

Everyone arrived at the barn with excitement to see what the day held for them.  The instructor for the day, Mylyn McColl, did a great job of guiding everyone in the ancient craft of book binding.  It didn’t matter if the veterans had experience in bookbinding before or not, Mylyn was great and took everyone through each step at a pace that was good for them. 

In this one-day course, the veterans learnt the basics of binding books- including special skills that have been used to make books for hundreds of years.

Attendees all started by folding a printed sheet into a single section before stitching it together. Then they cut boards and prepared materials from a beautiful selection of book cloth and decorative papers to create their own bespoke cover for the books.  It was magical! The end result was amazing. Everyone created their own book and then had the skills to be able to make more books in the future if they wished.

Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support


A big thanks to Bound by Veterans for such a great workshop, and to everyone who came along. It was such a fun time book binding and you all created some really amazing work. 

And a special thanks to Kevin for driving the minibus and Mark for the photos!

If you want to check out Bound by Veterans or want more details on the workshops they run, you can check out their website. We’ve got more workshops with them in the upcoming months (the next one is already booked up due to such high demand) but be sure to keep an eye on our Wellbeing Activities schedule or stay in touch via social media/email to make sure you don’t miss the next opportunity to get creative with us.


Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support                          Bound by Veterans and Veterans Outreach Support


For more on the benefits of getting artsy with a group like VOS, you can also read about the origins of art therapy in our blog: VOS Collaborates with the Soldier’s Arts Academy.

If you’re a veteran from the UK Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy (from any time of service) or a partner to one, VOS would love for you to join our community. We are here to offer our support: call us on 02392 731 767, visit an upcoming drop-in, or email admin@vosuk.org.

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