Veterans Outreach Support Monthly Review: December 2022

We’re remembering December! Here’s a round-up of what went on at Veterans Outreach Support during the holiday season, all for one worthy cause: connecting our local veterans to a strong community with practical mental health, wellbeing, and welfare support.

Meet-Ups and Drop-Ins Brought Comfort & Joy

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area
VOS community members at a wreath-making wellbeing activity.

December saw a merry mix of veteran meet-ups everywhere from the Royal Maritime Club (RMC) to the Military Museum in Cowes and beyond.

As per, our Portsmouth and Isle of Wight Drop-Ins went off without a hitch, connecting local veterans with in-person support this month. You may have also joined us at the Donkey Sanctuary in Wroxall, where our Isle of Wight veteran community decorated a super ‘VOS Christmas Tree’! Our Brew & Biscuits Social Group met up at the Acorn Community Centre as well, and our Tea & Stickies crew came together again at Becket Hall.

Our Brew, Butties, and Banter social group met at the Crofton Club while our Thursday Online Social Group hit Zoom for some casual chats and catch-ups. If you’d like to join in on the fun, feel free to give us a shout at 02392 731 767 from Monday to Friday from 0900-1700hrs or at anytime.

On 13th December from 1830-2000hrs, VOS hosted the second ever ‘Mid Month Muster’ at the RMC. We loved seeing many of you stop by for hot food and a good chat- it always hits the spot!

Our last meet-up of the year is the IOW Social at the Tandem Tea Rooms in Brighstone, Newport. We’ll be there December 30th from 1030-1200hrs.

Wellbeing Activities Kept Us Jolly

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area
Check out our lino printing and painting at the Royal Maritime Club.

Our ‘Paint & Chill’ sessions are always popular, and this month had us making festive little gnome paintings with rainbow backgrounds. Lino Printing with Nusye (SouthSeaEyes) was another hit, featuring tasty mince pies provided by Southern Co-op. We also enjoyed a lovely Christmas candle-making activity and a wreath-making session with great results that you can see in a picture further above.

RELATED: Video: Christmas Lino Printing with SouthSeaEyes 

In early December many of us participated in another great ‘Models for Heroes’ session at the Royal Maritime Club. If you haven’t tried it, we’d love to see you there! The satisfaction of assembling something very detailed is a great way to clear your mind. It’s also a lovely opportunity to connect with those among us who share an appreciation for various ships and aircraft, or just for the delicate work of model painting.

All of these workshops are led by some incredible facilitators who bring out the very best of our creativity, while providing a calm and cheerful space for our community members to express themselves through art. We’re keen to find out what you all make in the new year!

Another stand-out activity was our walking tour at Cowdray Park, ‘Light Up Christmas at Cowdray‘! It was very well attended and fully booked up, with many of our veterans coming together to enjoy the scenery and snap some photos of the beautiful lights on display.

Good Tidings We Bring, with New Free Resources

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area
BAE Systems Maritime Service donated over 400 free flu vouchers to members of VOS!

Thanks to an amazing donation from BAE Systems Maritime Service, December brought hundreds of free flu jab vouchers for us to offer our veteran community. Want some for yourself and your family? Email telling us how many you’d like and we’ll send you some codes you can use in Boots for free jabs. We are so pleased that BAE is helping many of you stay healthy this season!

“We are completely thrilled at this generosity,” says VOS Wellbeing Manager Pips Clare. “It’s a brilliantly practical contribution to our community’s wellbeing and health, especially at this time of year and in this cost of living crisis.”

Speaking of cost of living, December also featured the launch of our interactive veteran resource round-up. We worked together to find a long list of free local resources that veterans can use to make life a little easier as prices rise and temperatures drop.

EXPLORE: Cost of Living Veteran Support Resources in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight, and Surrounding Areas

Click the link above to learn about the many life-changing resources available in our area, including free meals, discounted transportation, grants and benefits for veterans and much more.

Building a ‘Voice as Big as the Sea’

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area
Lighting up the night with happy faces and a positive message.

We were proud to promote information about several other important issues for our veteran community in December. Along with helping veterans have their voices heard in the ongoing Veterans Survey, we shared new info about the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC). The AFC is a promise British employers are making to support veterans and their families. You can read about its latest update here.

VOS CEO Ian Millen took some time this month to speak up on how we can honour those who have served in the Merchant Navy beyond Merchant Navy Day. You can read his words here (or by visiting the link below) to learn how you can continue raising awareness for Merchant Navy veterans.

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area
Members of Veterans Outreach Support celebrating the Merchant Navy.

READ MORE: Merchant Navy Appreciation: Raising Awareness Beyond Merchant Navy Day ’22

December also saw the release of Sophie Personne’s podcast series on PTSD and relationships, where some of VOS’ own veterans spoke about their experiences firsthand. You can listen to the podcasts here, and we highly recommend them!

“It is often the case that people suppress traumatic events rather than talk openly about them and this was very much the case in my family,” Sophie shared. “I really want people to understand the help and support that is available to them and, through my podcast, highlight the issues faced by those who have served in the Armed Forces.”

VOS Staff Rocking Around Town

Veterans Outreach Support December events in Portsmouth, Isle of Wight and Solent Area

We were grateful to be included this month in conversations led by Gosport Voluntary Action at the new Gosport Community Hub. This is a fantastic facility, run by GFMAT schools and supported by Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity for serving and veteran families. With the South of England being one of the largest veteran communities in the country, as shown by the recent census, there is a real opportunity here for coordinated support.

You may have also caught a member of VOS staff speaking at the Isle of Wight College in December. VOS IOW’s fantastic veteran manager Tony Gear spoke at a Royal Aeronautical Society event there, describing his time on Sea King SAR Helicopters and his involvement in the 2005 Hurricane Katrina Operations during his time with the USCG.

Many of you also joined us for the VOS Christmas Celebration at the RMC! A happy time (and excellent dinner) was had by all, including a stellar group of volunteers, staff members, and valuable friends of Veterans Outreach Support. If you were there, we’d love to see your pictures!

A massive thanks goes out to every person who helped make this final month of 2022 such a success. We can’t wait to see what 2023 will bring!

Did you enjoy any events this December with Veterans Outreach Support? Reach out at the contact information below to share your thoughts.

VOS is here to support veterans from the UK Armed Forces service, the Merchant Navy, and their partners. If you know a veteran (from any time of service), please pass our details along. If you’re a veteran or partner and are thinking about getting in touch, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 02392 731 767, visit one of our drop-ins, or email

VOS is immensely grateful to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity, as without their support and funding we would not be able to provide such a wide range of activities.

Get in touch your way

Scroll to top of page