The veterans that help to deliver Active Plus have been keeping a blog about their activities and thoughts that tells us a little more about them:
Active Plus - Craig
Hi my name is Craig Foster. I would like to thank you for sponsoring me for this project. My active service was with the Prince of Wales division Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters.
After I left the services I went on to be a drugs and sexual health worker in Nottingham and Leicester working with young people from 13 to 21.
My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was triggered when a man from the village where I lived committed suicide through the window of my car when I was coming home from work in 2006. I was informed by the hospital that there was no treatment for me and consequently was unable to maintain my job or my relationship and after 3 years I ended up in Spain with my two children at my parents home. I came back to the UK last year and started treatment; this has helped me to undertake some training which I would like to use to help others.
I have been involved with Surf Action and this has led to the opportunity to train with Active Plus and hopefully help other people, I would like to continue this work when my treatment is over.
I would like to thank Richfords again for sponsoring me and allowing me to participate in this project
Blog for the 25th May
My first course is at Helston Fire Station where 14 people over 50 years of age were referred from the local job centre.
I was unsure what to expect from the day, and if I could do what was being asked of me, but within the first five minutes I was at ease and found the day one of the best things I have done since the accident in 2006. I got so much out of it just by knowing that I had helped a group of people, and what a group they were, with so much knowledge and so many skills all across the board.
Everyone was a bit unsure at first, including us, but soon they were split into groups and we helped them achieve the set of challenges designed to improve their teamwork and communication skills. Everyone mixed in and they all left happier than when they came. I can see that by the end of the six weeks they will be able to see what they have achieved by working as a team and hopefully give them more confidence to achieve their own goals. I know I will be so much more confident by the end of it!
I’m looking forward to the next session.
Active Plus - Pip
My name is Pip Harris l am a combat veteran of HM Forces Royal Navy.
During my service period I have travelled a great distance, all around the world and have seen many sights.
I have a commendation for bravery award but suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), although I still try to carry on serving the community as best I can.
I have been involved with Surf Action and this activity has allowed me to begin training and help others, and I am now honoured to be asked to join the team of Active Plus.
I would like to thank my sponsors Mark and Paul from Blue Flame, your support has enabled me to develop my skills in order to help others.
Active Plus - Mike
41 years old, spent 4 years after leaving school longshore fishing and working in family Blacksmith business. Doing neither properly and realised I had picked two of the fastest dying careers in the country.
I joined the Royal Navy, serving for 9 years as a radio operator mainly on small patrol crafts.
I had major problems settling down after finishing my service, with periods of homelessness and an increasing drinking problem. I then came to Cornwall to the relatively new treatment centre at Bosence Farm in 1988 that helped me to get clean and sober and I pretty much stayed that way. I started and ran my own blacksmiths and agricultural engineers and through that became involved in cattle & pig farming and rediscovered my childhood passion for horses.
In 2009 I began drinking again and managed to throw the whole lot away, fortunately I was able to return to Bosence Farm for rehabilitation.
I have been sober since and met Tim & Active Plus through Surf Action which I was attending to address a long ignored diagnosis of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). My work with Active Plus is helping me out especially with self confidence and self esteem and I am also enjoying the work which is a bonus.
Becoming involved with Active Plus for me is about my own personal growth, doing something I would not normally choose to do and giving something back. My number one fear is public speaking of any kind but thanks to Tim I was well prepared and not as nervous as I expected.
After introductions and a general chat about the course everyone seemed relaxed and enthusiastic.
I took half of the group through some of the problem solving tasks which we all enjoyed and really highlighted the different characters of the group.
For me today was all about having fun and getting to know each other which I think we achieved.
I joined in the group today as there were other combat veterans instructing. I really enjoyed it as it gave me a chance to observe the group and recognise the various strengths and skills the participants have, but often do not recognise themselves. Watching the problem solving tasks was interesting as I was able to focus on the interaction of the group rather than the tasks, as I did last week.
A busy day mainly presentations by outside agencies. Again the interesting part for me was watching the changes in the group dynamics with some of the quieter members emerging as stronger characters depending on the situation and becoming more confident in themselves.
I really enjoyed the talk on the Fire Service/Rotary and their work delivering equipment to Kosovo. Some of the group have volunteered to help! I realise how much I take for granted it was also interesting hearing about the work from the PCSO’s. I do think everyone had a bit of information overload at the end, but it was another good day!
I couldn't attend today, as I was in London instead for a meeting of concordat graduates. Sounds posh! It's actually a group of representatives of various rehab centres around the country, all of whom have been through rehab and are now successfully treating their various addictions as a result.
The aim is to show the Government that residential rehab works and in the long term is a cheaper option. So for me anyway, a very interesting day, and I can now say that at least I’ve graduated from something.
It's the last day, and it's good to be back and see everyone still on the course. It's great to see real positive changes in people, from the initial scepticism to seeing people grow self belief, motivation and optimism. That's down to the members of the group being open-minded and willing to give anything a go, and putting action into moving their lives on, and it's been great to be a part of it.
It was good of the various guests to came along and made for a positive ending to the course, and I hope a new beginning for those on it.