We currently run courses for veterans in all manner of things from learning how to sow, grow and harvest vegetables, to flower arranging, building bug hotels, stone carving and pottery. Veterans come to site to learn about horticulture and to spend time outdoors, in the fresh air of the amazing countryside which surrounds our 5 acre site. Sometimes just being outdoors surrounded by nature is enough to give someone a boost which lasts for days.
With your help, we would like to extend these courses to veterans' family members and carers, who are often the unsung heroes behind a veteran's journey to wellness. Your donation will allow us to run one-day workshops and taster sessions in some of the activities the veterans take part in themselves. The workshops will be sociable and relaxed and family members will have the chance to meet others who are in a similar situation and to share experiences. It's an opportunity for us to celebrate the vital role they play and for them to feel included and valued.
Veterans' Growth was founded by Jason Stevens, a veteran of 16 years in the Army. Jason undertook tours in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sierra Leone and spent time in Germany. He was medically discharged from the MOD in 2016.
After reading a report of the 42nd veteran suicide in 2018 and with the number rising on a sometimes daily basis, he knew he had to do something. If he could just save one life no matter the cost he wanted to do it. What better way than the way that still helps him, through horticulture? He sold his business to fund the start of Veterans’ Growth and is committed to providing Horticultural Therapy to Veterans suffering with mental health issues.
The physical and mental health benefits of horticulture have been widely reported. Participants in our programmes gain confidence, knowledge and experience and some will go on to find work experience and employment within the industry. The aim of the charity is to provide support and a place on the programme to every veteran in the UK who wants to attend and/or is unable to access help through other channels. If one life is saved as a result of contact with the charity we will call it a success.