Shoulder to Shoulder in Birmingham is so popular we're expanding!

Last year the Shoulder to Shoulder project was expanded to Birmingham, and it’s going from strength to strength.

The project includes a weekly drop-in centre where ex-servicemen and women can come for coffee and advice or just a chat with friends. In just a few months it has become a huge success with well over 20 regular members every week. In fact it’s growing so fast that we’re now having to look at expanding it to two days a week to cope with demand.

The veterans seem to be enjoying the opportunity to meet up and chat. They’re hoping to set up football and rugby teams and a weekly gym club.

And we’re achieving some great results. Our first big success was helping one ex-serviceman who was living in temporary accommodation to register with a housing charity. It was fantastic when he received an offer of accommodation soon after.

Shoulder to Shoulder in Birmingham has received close to 40 referrals in the last month alone, with eight ex-servicemen matched with volunteer mentors. I think this project shows just what a difference a bit of friendship and support can make.

Shoulder to Shoulder is a TimeBank mentoring project in London and Birmingham. It matches volunteers with ex-servicemen and women who are recovering from mental health problems. Around 20,000 service personnel return  to civilian life every year. Most resettle successfully – but nearly 20% have a mental health problem resulting from traumas and injuries they experienced during active service. This doesn’t just make adjusting to life after the military difficult. It can also lead to homelessness, unemployment, loneliness, relationship issues and physical health problems. Find out more here.