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Devon charity receives National Lottery funding to provide transformative outdoor therapy for veterans

When COVID-19 hit, the Veterans Farm-Able Foundation was inundated with referrals. Over the past year, the support it offers, along with a programme of therapeutic outdoor activities, has proved vital for many local ex-service people experiencing PTSD, anxiety, depression and other long term mental health issues.

For a significant number of veterans, a return to civilian life is difficult. Many feel cut off from their service, family, friends, and their communities. For some, the increased isolation, as a result of the pandemic, has exacerbated anxiety levels still further.

To cope with the rise in demand for its services, the group has been awarded nearly £10,000 from The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK.

The money will be used to outdoor events – from gardening and vegetable growing on some of the region’s iconic estates, to animal husbandry, kayaking, and moorland walking. The experiences are designed to improve confidence and help veterans develop new skills and friendships after leaving the forces.

Ashley Lamb, Welfare Officer at The Veterans Farm-able Foundation and an RAF veteran herself, said: “The armed forces isn’t your typical job: it’s a way of life and your colleagues become your family. When you leave, it can be devasting - especially to people already suffering from trauma. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it is that people who may look like they are doing ok, could be struggling even more. We don’t want them to suffer in silence.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding helps us to provide a fantastic programme of activities that allows veterans to learn something new, build their confidence, and make new friends.”

The Veterans Farm-able Foundation is just one of 177 charities and community groups across the South West to have been awarded more than £5 million of National Lottery funding in the past quarter*, supporting them to overcome social and economic challenges raised by the pandemic.

The South West isn’t alone in benefiting from National Lottery funding. Yesterday it was announced that almost £65 million has been distributed to over 1,700 community organisations across England in the past three months*.

Rowan Miller, Head of Funding for the South West at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this funding is having a much needed positive impact on people’s lives across the South West. It’s inspiring to see dedicated volunteers and groups, The Veterans Farm-able Foundation, supporting their communities to thrive. This funding has given a vital cash boost to communities, so they can build and emerge stronger from the pandemic.”

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes. Thanks to National Lottery players, last year we awarded over half a billion pounds (£588.2 million) of life-changing funding to communities across the UK. Over eight in ten (83%) of our grants are for under £10,000 – going to grassroots groups and charities across the UK that are bringing to life amazing ideas that matter to their communities.

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Notes to Editors

* These figures are for funding awarded from 26 June – 10 September 2021.

About us

We are the largest funder of community activity in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. National Lottery players raise £36 million each week for good causes throughout the UK. Since The National Lottery began in 1994, £43 billion has been raised for good causes which has supported over 635,000 projects, benefiting millions of people - that’s 255 projects per postcode area.

We are passionate about funding great ideas that matter to communities and make a difference to people’s lives. At the heart of everything we do is the belief that when people are in the lead, communities thrive. Thanks to the support of National Lottery players, our funding is open to everyone. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.

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