April 30, 2022

Archery beginners’ course for Help for Heroes inspires veterans

Archery GB joined forces with veterans' charity Help for Heroes in a pilot project funded by The Fletchers' Trust.

Help for Heroes helps veterans and those still serving by providing physical, psychological, financial and welfare support, for as long as they need it. They also support families, because they too can be affected by their loved one's wounds.

In a pilot event organised by Archery GB and funded by the Worshipful Company of Fletchers and The Fletchers' Trust, Help for Heroes' contacts were invited to book a place on a full beginners' course of six sessions, as one of the ways the charity seeks to support veterans in their local communities.

Long Mynd Archers in Shropshire was keen to support this pilot, with some of the club being veterans themselves. The team has worked hard to provide an accessible, welcoming environment, with quality coaching, and support for the participants.

All participants have thoroughly enjoyed the course, and more than one participant is considering making the move to join the club as a full member: just one of the ways he has accessed support from Help for Heroes after leaving the army more than 30 years ago.

Positive feedback from the Heroes

So what did the new archers have to say about the beginners' course experience?

"I love the sense of discipline archery instils. I haven't been in the army for over 30 years and I love that discipline and already I can feel it coming back, and it's awesome.”

"It's my first time, and I've just been amazed everyone is so friendly. It's just been nice to get that buzz again and lift your mood, especially if you've got mental health problems.”

"It's everything I expected it to be, and more.”

"It's just been the most fabulous day. In the last six months, it's been hard for me; really tough, but suddenly I forgot about all of that today. It's wonderful.”

Course completion

Congratulations to the five participants who all completed the course on 27 April: four veterans and Gareth Short, the Help for Heroes Sport, Activity & Fellowship Practitioner for the East and Midlands areas.

Gareth said: "It's been fantastic - really good fun, great club, great feel. It's good there is nice environment here: friendly, welcoming, accessible, so our veterans would be really interested in engaging with this sort of activity and this sort of club environment.”

Meanwhile, Bowbrook Archers' Jenny Collins has trained to become a Session Coach, as part of the Help for Heroes Coaching Academy. Jenny, 41, was one of just 12 veterans selected by the charity to join the Coaching Academy pilot programme, which is designed to support participants on a coaching pathway in the sport of their choice. Read the full story here.

Find out more about Archery GB and the Worshipful Company of Fletchers' disability funding partnership.

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