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Supporting a Socially Isolated Veteran with Horticultural Therapy

This case study focuses on a 61-year-old veteran of the Royal Navy who served during the Falklands and is currently struggling with social isolation and potential service-related PTSD. Despite being actively engaged with mental health services, the veteran was not aware of the support services offered by Op Courage. After discussing the options, he expressed interest in peer mentor support and funding for an electric bike to help him get out and about more.

The veteran is a keen gardener and expressed interest in learning more about horticulture. While he would be a suitable candidate for the DGS 8-week horticultural therapy at Chicksands, he currently feels too anxious to leave the house. However, he is being encouraged to attend weekly Tea & Banter sessions and will consider making a referral to the Veterans’ Community Navigators (VCN).

Horticultural therapy

This case study highlights the importance of providing tailored support for veterans struggling with social isolation and mental health issues. By offering peer mentor support, funding for mobility aids, and access to horticultural therapy programs, veterans can feel empowered to take control of their mental and physical health. The collaboration between different organizations such as Op Courage, RBL, and the Veterans’ Community Navigators is also crucial in ensuring that veterans are aware of the support available to them and are able to access it when needed.

The Veterans' Contact Network (VCN) is a UK-based charity that provides a range of support services for veterans and their families. The charity was founded in 1991 by a group of former servicemen who wanted to create a support network for veterans who may be struggling with the transition back to civilian life. Today, the VCN continues to provide vital support for veterans and their families across the country.

One of the core services provided by the VCN is peer-to-peer support. This involves matching veterans who may be struggling with mental health or other issues with a volunteer mentor who has had similar experiences. The mentor acts as a listening ear and provides practical advice and guidance based on their own experiences. This approach has been shown to be highly effective in helping veterans to overcome their challenges and improve their quality of life.

In addition to peer support, the VCN also provides a range of other services, including access to welfare benefits advice, housing support, and employment advice. The charity also runs regular social events, such as tea and banter sessions and community gardening projects, which provide opportunities for veterans to connect with others and build a sense of community.

Overall, the work of the VCN is crucial in supporting veterans and their families as they navigate the challenges of transitioning back to civilian life. By providing a range of services that address the diverse needs of veterans, the VCN is helping to improve the health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life of those who have served their country.


For more information on the organisation please email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The names of all veterans have been changed to protect their anonymity.