Foundation Introduce Two New Veterans Projects

Hull FC Community Foundation have successfully received funding from the Armed Forces Covenant fund to delivery two projects that tackle loneliness and isolation.

The ‘Stand To’ Project will aim to offer support for all veterans, particularly those living with isolation, via two, ninety minute sessions delivered weekly, supporting participants to interact within physical activity and team sport activities.

The final thirty minutes of each session will involve group mental resilience activities delivered with a sport theme that promote coping skills and stress management techniques

‘Stand To’ will empower participants to achieve an accredited Rugby Football League coaching qualifications. The award offers a sport based opportunity to develop employability and leadership behaviours through project, planning, working in a team, and delivering activity to peers.

Alongside the mental health benefits, volunteering within the Hull FC Foundation will support participants to develop work related behaviours.

Participants will be encouraged to complete community coaching activity within the Foundation’s children and young person programmes. Putting their qualification to use in this way will boost confidence, increase self-esteem, and encourage communication skills.

Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey paid our veterans taking part in the project a visit as they assisted in cleaning up the club’s Community Hub garden after a year of lockdown.

Meanwhile, the ‘Part of the Team’ project will offer targeted personal development, social, and wellbeing activities for members of the armed forces and veteran’s community who are living with loneliness.

Daily in-person and virtual sessions will improve emotional resilience and healthy lifestyles, whilst tackling determinants of loneliness including poverty, unemployment and health conditions.

‘Part of the Team’ will deliver early intervention and prevention based activities that support personal development, social, and wellbeing improvements within armed forces and veteran families (particularly those with young children), older service children aged 16-24, and older veterans.

We recognise that mental health concerns and anxiety are affecting young people aged 16-24. The pandemic has led to increased feelings of loneliness and worries about education and employment. Hull FC Community Foundation will use its experience of delivering accredited and non-accredited education programmes to deliver short, work readiness engagement programmes supported by local employers.

Four hours of activity will be offered each week in small group settings with virtual one to one support also offered. These activities will improve confidence and facilitate pathways into employment, apprenticeships, or long term education programmes.

The project will support older veterans living within care homes and independently to access online wellbeing activity that promoted reminisce, social connections, and positive mental health. Having seen the positive impact this has achieved, ‘Part of the Team’ will sustain delivery further, maintaining two weekly one hour virtual reminisce sessions, as well as adding a weekly digital upskilling class for older people within our IT suite, alongside a morning ‘Faithful Coffee Club’.

‘Part of the Team’ will be overseen by a project steering group involving Hull City Council and colleagues from local third sector organisations who also provide support to the Armed Forces and Veteran communities. We will work closely with all organisations withing the Covenant Group to develop inward, and outward referral pathways, linking them into session delivery where beneficial and of value to participants.

Staff Sergeant Steve Sampher said:

“Whilst currently serving 25 years in the Army and soon to leave the forces and become a veteran myself, I understand the difficulty’s some people face when transitioning out of the Armed Forces. The Hull FC Veterans Project aims to support veterans through this testing time by providing physical and mental well-being activities, education and employment training delivered by Hull FC.

“My personal experience is the support I’ve received from Hull FC has been life changing, finding a way of playing Rugby League in the form of Wheelchair Rugby League due to my injuries has been a life saver, You get that camaraderie, Drive and ambition to succeed back. Its been a massive part of my rehabilitation.”

“I was delighted when Hull FC Foundation asked me to come on board to support the veterans project. I feel like I’m now in a position where I can use my experiences to help other veterans.

For further information, please contact Hull FC veterans project manager Mike Swainger via email on michael.Swainger@hullfc.com

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