An introduction to Walking With The Wounded, one of VOS’s partners within the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme
Veterans Outreach Support is proud to be the grant holder for the South-East region Portfolio of the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme, working with our partners to provide activities, services and support to local veterans. To showcase the excellent support and mental health resources for veterans that these organisations offer, we’re giving you a deeper insight into what they do and shining a spotlight on the hardworking people who run them. Here we’d like to give you an introduction to Walking With The Wounded (WWTW).
What is Walking With The Wounded?
Walking With The Wounded is a military charity founded in 2010 that operates with the philosophy that ‘those who served, deserve’. They work in collaboration with the NHS to help people who have served, whether they are physically, mentally or socially wounded, and their family members to get back on their feet so they can function in society and make a positive contribution to their community again.
What does Walking With The Wounded do?
The programmes that Walking With The Wounded provides are delivered in collaboration with the NHS and cover four key branches of support: employment, mental health, care coordination and volunteering.
WWTW’s employment programme helps unemployed veterans to find employment and begin to rebuild their lives. Their dedicated Employment Advisors work within veteran supported accommodation residences and with NHS regional veteran teams, meaning they are excellently situated to help unemployed veterans. These Advisors provide support to veterans by building their confidence, organising work placements for them, sourcing funding for any required training and ultimately helping them to secure sustainable employment.
“I wish more people would reach out. It’s hard to ask for help but if you do then the help is there. My WWTW Employment Advisor, Chris, did so much more than just support me into work. His own experiences with mental health helped me to get a grip on my issues and guide me to where I am now.” – Walking With The Wounded beneficiary, Mark.
Mental health support is often crucial for unemployed veterans, and WWTW provides private 1-2-1 therapy sessions, both in person and online, for ex-service personnel with mild to moderately severe mental health difficulties through their Head Start programme. This programme is a referral partner with the NHS, which is central to ex-service personnel accessing support for their mental health.
WWTW also provides assistance through their Support Care Coordination programme, which recognises that each person’s challenges and needs are individual, and therefore offers support tailored to each client. Some of the challenges that clients may be dealing with include mental health issues; loneliness and isolation, low confidence, low self-esteem and low self-worth; unemployment; debt problems; accessing benefits and services; relationship challenges; housing issues; physical rehabilitation needs; alcohol or drug abuse; and low educational attainment or qualifications. The Support Care Coordination provides these clients with the tools and knowledge to look after themselves and their mental health, to feel ready to address their challenges and to feel able to ask for and access support and services. This in turn means that they believe change is possible and regain their sense of self-worth, meaning they can act independently, make positive choices, enjoy life and positively contribute to their communities.
“The support and advice that WWTW provided, turned my life around. I still have my down days and I feel challenged every so often, but these are becoming fewer. I am a better person to be with and I feel my family love me more than ever and in turn I feel I have the right to love them back. I feel I am the father I want to be to my young children. I am so grateful. Thank you.”- Walking With The Wounded beneficiary, Matthew.
The final branch of support that WWTW provides is their volunteering project, OP-REGEN. This project enables ex-military personnel to recognise their inherent skills and feel empowered to demonstrate their skills through volunteering. For individuals facing hard times and their families, this helps them to reintegrate back into society and to have a positive impact on their community. For those who are not in employment, the project also assists them in returning to the workplace.
Walking With The Wounded Expeditions and Events
Over the years since WWTW was founded, they have run ambitious expeditions with teams of servicemen and women with both physical and mental injuries, including tackling the North and South Poles, walking the length of Britain and crossing the USA. The reason they’ve done these expeditions is to raise awareness of their work, provide inspiration to those coping with injury and disability, to show the wounded community that they are able to achieve at the highest level and to highlight to Corporate UK the skill, determination, ability and courage that members of the wounded community possess despite their injuries.
WWTW also take part in a variety of organised events such as the Great North Run, London Half Marathon and others. In addition to this, they run their own annual nationwide walking challenge, ‘Walking Home For Christmas’. The fundraising from this goes towards supporting their work helping wounded veterans to get back on their feet and find a sense of purpose again.
(Written by Saskia Egeland-Jensen)
Veterans Outreach Support is proud to work in partnership with Walking With The Wounded to provide welfare and wellbeing support to veterans, serving members of the British Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy and their families.
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 email@example.com.