One wise chap, reflecting on his time at Brathay told me; the journey from Friday to Monday is like a gentle walk. No-one forces you to move forward faster than you are ready to go, but if you stop, there is a gentle hand in the small of your back, encouraging you to keep moving. You can resist, but it is so comforting and supportive, that you decide to keep moving. When you get to the end, you know you have done it yourself, with help, but on your own. That gives you the confidence to move into the wider world again, and keep moving forward.
One of the most inspirational programmes we see at Brathay is the Future for Heroes course; around 10 veterans, any rank, any service, perhaps just leaving the services, or maybe having been out for over a decade, spend four days in the Lakes. For many, this weekend is a defining time which will shape their life in the coming months and years. For all, it is a time that they look back on with fondness and enjoyment.
Like all veterans, they bring their stories of service life. Some are free with tales of adventure and humour. Some are much more reserved about their experiences, and it is clear that many of the memories are raw and often troubling.
Future for Heroes is not therapy; it is a development programme. The trainers are civilian, and while there is plenty of experience of serving life on the team, the focus is on living as a civilian. Celebrate the past but focus on the future.
Brathay’s emphasis is on increasing wellbeing. Our approach of AWARENESS-CHOICE-ACTION offers a reflective journey for each attendee. We provide a space that builds confidence – to acknowledge the things that are working, and to identify the areas that are not. But most importantly, the weekend encourages everyone to want to make changes; and those changes are massive in almost all cases.
The F4H programme is delivered as a partnership between Brathay Trust and Future for Heroes, both registered charities. The programme is free to attend, funded by private donation. The goal is to increase the wellbeing of former service personnel, and their families, and focuses on the person, and their goals; employment, rebuilding family relationships and engaging positively in the community.
Find out more about our Personal Change courses, including Future for Heroes, here.
You can view a selection of videos of Future for Heroes delegates talking about their experiences here.