Cardiff City FC Foundation have teamed up with the Royal British Legion to create a Veteran's Project, designed to use the power of Cardiff City FC to engage with socially isolated retired and ex-armed forces personnel or those at risk of becoming lonely in and around Cardiff.
We want to help veteran's re-build old connections, develop new relationships and help them to become more mentally and physically active.
Our project seeks to focus on these key issues and provide structure and support that allows them to come together, have fun and take part in a range of new activities led by their interests that target physical and mental activity.
Working closely with the Sporting Memories Foundation, we are also developing sporting and military reminiscence materials that will be used to support those suffering from dementia, as well as working with the team at the Sporting Memories Foundation to up-skill and train members of the group and wider community to deliver reminiscence activities.
Wales has one of the largest proportions of veterans in the U.K with 7% of all veterans currently living here. Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan has a veterans’ population of around 27,320 and 8% suffer with mental health issues including depression and anxiety.
The latest research shows that more than three in ten of the veterans polled (31%) admitted they have just one or no close friends and would be unlikely to discuss any feelings of loneliness with a close family member or close friend (53%), suggesting a limited support network for these veterans.
The most common reasons veterans gave for feeling lonely and isolated: losing touch with friends in the Armed Forces (41%), physical or mental health issues (33%), and struggling to relate to anyone in civilian life (23%).
Over a quarter (27%) of the veterans surveyed stated that they felt they would benefit from meeting someone regularly from a military background to talk to, someone who can empathise with their experience of the Armed Forces. Challenges to accessing local services need to be addressed, this new project will work to improve the challenges faced by isolated veterans young and old, by connecting them with services together and serving as a hub facility. (SSAFA 2017)