TIMEBANK CALLS FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT EX-SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN TO ADAPT TO LIFE AFTER THE MILITARY

TimeBank has joined forces with Combat Stress to launch Shoulder to Shoulder, the UK’s first mentoring project for ex-servicemen and women recovering from mental health problems and is actively looking for people from a military background who live or work in London who would like to become mentors.

The national volunteering charity has drawn on its expertise in mentoring and paired it with the military charity’s expertise in mental health to offer additional support to ex-servicemen and women with mental health problems to help them adapt to life after having served in the military.TimeBank will match ex-service men and women with a volunteer who has also served in the armed forces and returned to civilian life or who has experience of friends and family doing so. The pair will then meet on a one-to-one basis for five hours a month for six months to a year. Together, the pair will set goals to help reduce social isolation and support resettlement into civilian life.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive, TimeBank, says,

“We’ve already shown how valuable a volunteer can be in supporting young people with mental health problems and Shoulder to Shoulder allows us to apply what we’ve learnt to a new group who are often socially isolated and struggle to cope. Research suggests that mentoring might be particularly valuable for ex-service personnel and we’re delighted to be partnering with Combat Stress to provide additional support to the clinical treatment they offer. We know that volunteers can play a huge part in supporting people with mental health problems and help aid their recovery”.

David Hill, Chief Executive, Combat Stress says,

“It’s tremendous that our clients who have post-traumatic stress disorders will be able to have additional support from the community. There’s a limit to what our treatment and our community outreach teams can do, and ex-servicemen and women really need support and encouragement from someone in the community. Our clients were all well trained soldiers but some are now extremely vulnerable. It’s very easy for them to shut down so just by encouraging them, advising them and being by their side to call on will make a vital difference.”

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For more information or to register to be a mentor log on to www.timebank.org.uk/shoulder-to-shoulder<

Press Contact:

Heidi Budino on 0207 785 6388 or heidi@timebank.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • TimeBank is a national volunteering charity that supports individuals and businesses to find rewarding volunteering
  • TimeBank is funded by and a strategic partner of the Office for Civil Society
  • Shoulder to Shoulder will pilot for one year in London in partnership with Combat Stress and will then be rolled out to other regions across the country for another two years through partnerships with other military charities
  • The project is funded from November 2010 until Nov 2013 by the Department of Health, Henry Smith and The Dulverton Trust
  • Shoulder to Shoulder builds on TimeBank’s experience of running Back to Life (www.backtolife.org.uk), a mentoring project that matches young adults experiencing mental health issues with a volunteer mentor to help combat social isolation and speed recovery