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    STEPPING-STONES TO A BETTER FUTURE FOR NICK

    STEPPING-STONES TO A BETTER FUTURE FOR NICK

    Royal Navy veteran Nick Martin lived with undiagnosed PTSD for over 30 years before he sought help. ''For 35 years I drifted through life, never accepting responsibility at work, sabotaging anything that began to look good or successful''. 

    Since being involved with Help for Heroes three years ago Nick says, ''Help for Heroes has enabled me to start putting my head above the parapet. My confidence and self-esteem have improved immeasurably. I no longer dwell in the past but am finally starting to look to a successful and productive future. I have a long way to go but being supported has allowed my initial steps to be on stepping-stones rather than stumbling blocks''. 

    For Nick, art takes him away from dwelling on the past, ''My art began as a way of filling time during some dark days. I would take a canvas, paints and sit for hours with music playing and tea and biscuits. I would need to concentrate on the art rather than dwell on a troubled past''. 

    Nick's artwork has been used to produce a stunning T-Shirt and set of tea towels. He says, ''Seeing my own designs on merchandise ideas is exciting. It helps me to believe that I have finally begun to give something back to a Charity that has been instrumental in my recovery journey so far. I am extremely proud''.  

    Shop the Festive Tree T-Shirt >

    Shop the Landscape Tea towel set >

    TRUFFLE LEADS THE WAY ON FIONA'S ROAD TO RECOVERY

    TRUFFLE LEADS THE WAY ON FIONA'S ROAD TO RECOVERY

    Fiona Gray served for 20 years in the Army as part of the Royal Artillery and AGC (SPS). Fiona first came into contact with Help for Heroes through sports recovery and undertaking resettlement courses, before being medically discharged from the Army.

    ''I have been a bit of a Sport Billy all my life with playing Cricket, Golf and I enjoy Skiing. I play cricket for Help for Heroes and like to get involved in activities such as photography, singing, and I recently went skiing this year for the first time since my having all my injuries. Amazing''. 

    Fiona says it feels, ''Absolutely fantastic'' to see her artwork on a T-Shirt. She says. ''I'm telling everyone about Truffle (her dog) and what she has achieved''. Her next plan is to learn how to draw from photographic images she has taken.

    Fiona joined us for a photoshoot, along with Truffle and Poppy to model her Truffle T-Shirt design and pieces from our Heritage collection. Shop her T-Shirt below.

    SHOP THE TRUFFLE T-SHIRT >

     

    FROM CREATIVE FORCE TO A CAREER - ANDREA BARTLETT

    FROM CREATIVE FORCE TO A CAREER - ANDREA BARTLETT

    Andrea Bartlett served for 12 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, before being medically discharged in 2011 for an eye condition that affects her optic nerve.

    In 2014 Andrea joined the Band of Brothers Fellowship; a network open to veterans and serving personnel who have served alongside serving forces members.

    In 2018 Andrea exhibited her artwork as part of the Mall galleries, Creative Force exhibition. She says, ''Being involved in the Creative Force exhibition confirmed to me, what I wanted to do as a career, inspiring me to follow my passion for art. It gave me back my passion for painting that I had lost many years ago, since joining the Army. It was from this, that Bart & Eddie Design Studio was created''

    Andrea uses art as a form of relaxation as part of her recovery. ''Art, especially when I paint, relaxes me and settles my anxiety. It's given me so much more confidence and a path to new possibilities. And that's really exciting for me!''.

    Andrea's beautiful artwork has been transformed into striking designs for T-Shirts and tea towels. On having her artwork turned into products she's ''Immensely proud!'', ''It gives me a huge boost in confidence and self-worth, knowing that I'm giving back to a cause close to my heart, and even more so, that it is something that I have created''. 

    Andrea's husband Ian and son Josh joined our photoshoot to wear wonderful creations designed from Andrea's paintings. 

    SHOP NOW >

    Follow Andrea on Instagram: bart and eddie design

    ART GIVES SARAH A HELPING HAND TO HEAL

    ART GIVES SARAH A HELPING HAND TO HEAL

    Sarah Newman served for 26 years in the Royal Military Police, 12 years of which was spent within the Forensic Department, dealing with repatriations and many other distressing scenes. She was medically discharged in December 2017 with PTSD. 

    ''When I was first diagnosed with PTSD I had been stationed in Newquay Cornwall, I had pretty much been left to deal with my situation on my own, I became very isolated. This was probably the lowest point in my life''. 

    In 2016 Sarah found Help for Heroes and began undertaking several courses, she says, ''It became my home from home. I believe after all this time that I can still return to the comfort and safety of Help for Heroes should I need to''. 

    While at Tedworth House Sarah was introduced to art, through art teacher Jenny Arthy. ''Through the encouragement of Jenny and several visits to the art room, I believe I had found my niche, it helped me to relax, and to disappear into my own little world where nothing could ''get at me'', the intrusive thoughts and stresses would simply not be there. It became my safe zone''. 

    To anyone buying from the Help for Heroes shop Sarah says, ''I believe that purchasing anything from Help for Heroes is helping towards the much-needed rehabilitation of others that are not so fortunate. Everybody deserves a second chance at life and Help for Heroes can provide that through the continued support and assistance of others''. 

    We caught up with Sarah in the art room at Tedworth House to unveil her Helping Hands wire sculpture design, transformed into a wonderful new T-Shirt. Available to buy here

     

    Artwork created by Sarah, including her Helping Hands sculpture. 

     SHOP THE HELPING HANDS T-SHIRT > 

    SHOP MENS >

    '' I found that Help for Heroes gave me back my sense of purpose and belonging, and that I was somebody that mattered. Being amongst like-minded people and the wonderful staff who honestly cared about what you were going through made the healing process a lot easier. It became my home from home''.  Sarah Newman

    FROM HIDDEN WOUNDS TO HELPING OTHERS

    FROM HIDDEN WOUNDS TO HELPING OTHERS

    Matt Neve was a Senior Aircraftman in the Royal Air Force before being discharged in 2004. Following mental health difficulties, which led to several challenges including depression, Matt felt a lack of self-worth and purpose. 

    In 2016 Matt joined Help for Heroes' Band of Brothers fellowship and began recieving help from our Hidden Wounds service for this mental health and engaged with Sports Recovery, which introduced him to archery. A grant from Help for Heroes enabled Matt to buy his own kit and benefit from sport. In 2017 Matt was selected to compete in the Invictus Games in Toronto.

    He said, ''The focus of archery, when I am looking down the range at the target, I just switch off and all the tension builds in the draw of the arrow and then it goes with the arrow when it's released. It's an escape''. 

    Matt regularly takes part in Community Recovery activities in Wales and has taken part in positive challenges, like trekking across the Sahara desert, and has represented Help for Heroes in his home city of Swansea where he met Prince Charles at a civic event. Matt said, '' To be asked to so that was quite an honour. It was a real privilege to be asked to represent the Charity at such a prestigious event, so it was really nice to be able to go along and have a chat with him about how Help for Heroes has helped me and my family''. 

    Matt is a keen fundraiser for Help for Heroes, undertaking sponsored Motorcycle rides and supporting other veterans needing help. He was part of the Help for Heroes 'Cut the Clock' campaign, encouraging veterans to come forward for mental health support. 

    ''I got involved with the Cut the Clock campaign because, for me, it was all about trying to reach out to those that either don't feel they deserve support or they don't think they need support. And it's about reaching out to them. They may be isolating themselves at home or isolating themselves away from anyone else''.

    Matt and Zoe joined us on our Christmas photoshoot on a very warm July day! On taking part in the photoshoot Matt said, ''It's been great fun, I've really enjoyed doing it, but it's just a bit mad wearing bobble hats at the end of July! But it's been really good fun''.