Pop-up shed encourages ex-forces personnel to be more creative

Members of the healthy horizons team are pictured with ex forces personnel and woodturner Peter Jenkins.

A free scheme to encourage ex-forces personnel to be more creative has launched its first pop-up shed.

The Healthy Horizons programme aims to improve the physical and mental health of veterans over the age of 65 and ex-military people within Richmondshire who may need support and advice.

The project is part of a three year North Yorkshire wide partnership being delivered by 14 partners – including Richmondshire District Council – and led by Community First Yorkshire.

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The partnership has secured £1,004,664 funding from the Aged Veterans Fund with Richmondshire receiving £63,866 of it to deliver the ‘Healthy Horizons’ scheme.

The healthy lifestyle programme has two elements – Step by Step provides the opportunity to improve physical health and nutrition focuses on improving lifestyle choices, nutrition, physical activity, healthy cooking, healthy eating and improving physical health and wellbeing.

The second element, the ‘Pop up Shed’ is based within a local workshop and provides therapeutic sessions in arts and crafts including woodwork, creative writing, photography and painting to improve mental health related issues.

“The two components interlink, overlap and complement each other with veterans able to take part in both programmes, but directed to whichever element meets their priority health concerns, either mental or physical health,” said Callum McKeon, corporate director.

“The pop up shed element will see people trying out woodturning, painting, upcycling furniture, photography and much more. Our shed provides a safe, supportive and friendly setting where ex-forces can socialise, learn new skills and hone existing skills by working alongside each other.’’

The project entry is free to all participants who live in North Yorkshire, are aged 65 and over and have served in the armed forces, completed National Service conscription, or worked in the Merchant Navy in support of the military at some point.

Donations for equipment and materials for the Pop up Shed have been gratefully received from Jude and Kit Brown, Pete Jenkins and Hedgehog Furniture.

Referrals to the Healthy Horizons programme can be made by either individuals, friends, family or carers and by health professions or support services by contacting the Healthy Horizons Team on 01748 829100 or exforces@richmondshire.gov.uk

For more information check out http://communityfirstyorkshire.org.uk/projects/ex-forces-support-north-yorkshire-aged-veterans-fund/