Four hands hold up exercise equipment, a water bottle and an apple to demonstrate a healthy lifestyle

New funding secures future for ‘life changing’ veterans’ support programme

A mental wellbeing support programme for military veterans, created by Loughborough University and the Royal Air Forces Association, has secured further funding.

The investment by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust means six new residential programmes for former members of all three military services – the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force – can take place at the campus over the next two years. 

For the programme small groups of veterans will visit Loughborough for a two-day stay, where they will take part in range of activities, including social resilience workshops, practical healthy cooking lessons, sessions on improving sleep quality and team-based physical activity such as wheelchair basketball, walking football and pilates.

All the activities have been specifically designed to enhance the mental wellbeing of attendees. 

The University first ran the Veterans’ Resilience Programme in 2022 and attendees praised the programme. When asked for feedback, one veteran said ‘This course sets the standard for how veterans struggling with their mental health and wellbeing should be helped. You gave me a safe space to work through some incredibly difficult thoughts, whilst also providing practical education in how to get and keep myself well going forward’. 

Another said ‘This has now provided the light I needed and a compass of where I want to go and how to get there. I cannot thank you enough for all you have allowed me to achieve’. 

Dr Jamie Barker, from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, is one of the creators of the programme. He said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure further funding for the programme. 

“Many military veterans struggle with their mental health and wellbeing, which leaves them isolated and makes it difficult for them to move on with their lives. From our previous residentials we know our programme has the ability to transform lives, and we look forward to supporting even more veterans on their road to recovery.” 

Rory O’Connor, Director of Welfare and Policy at the Royal Air Forces Association added: “We know how important exercise, sleep and diet are when it comes to good mental health. However, we also know that many veterans struggle with their mental health and often do not know where to turn. We are delighted that even more veterans can benefit from the programme thanks to this further funding from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.” 

The Armed Forces Covenant Trust supports the Armed Forces Covenant by delivering funding programmes that support Armed Forces communities across the UK. The Loughborough scheme is being funded by the Trust’s Research and Supporting Armed Forces Communities programme.

Further information about the Veterans’ Resilience Programme can be found here: 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: PR 24/44

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme and named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2024, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.