OPENING UP A POSITIVE FUTURE
We’re delighted to share our vision for the Head Up Retreat. As our charity grows and our plans take physical shape, we’ll give regular progress updates on our website and social media pages.
The Head Up Retreat is the start of an 18-month programme of holistic support – support that is specifically tailored to the needs of Forces personnel, that understands and respects what they have been through, and enables them to visualise and create a healthy, rewarding future.
The seven-day residential course will teach simple but highly effective positive-mindset techniques. Guests will work with a comprehensive range of wellbeing strategies for optimum nutrition and fitness, better sleep, meditation and communication. They’ll also be exploring therapies such as anger management, music therapy, animal and nature therapy, breathing work and cold-water therapy.
Following the retreat, we’ll provide 18 months of ongoing, proactive care and contact. This will include free access to the Swiss8 app, developed by the Australian veterans’ charity of the same name, which uses digital tools to inspire and guide personal growth.
We’ll do this by creating a unique, holistic countryside retreat that removes the existing barriers to getting the right help. Seven-day residential courses will provide personalised mental-health support for serving and retired members of the Army, RAF, Navy and Royal Marines. We will catch those at risk of falling through the cracks in current provision.
By design, the retreat will have a non-militarised atmosphere – no triggering Forces paraphernalia, photographs, uniforms or hierarchies. A calm, natural and luxurious environment will help guests feel welcome and valued, and give them space to work on their mindset and learn new skills for challenging negative thought and behaviours.
Although guests can be recommended to us by military organisations and charities, the NHS and businesses who employ veterans, they can also self-refer. This is a real point of difference from most other services.
And guests won’t have to pay a penny to access Head Up’s services. We don’t want money worries putting off anyone who would benefit from our services.
I have served for nearly 18 years in the British Army, completing several frontline tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have been blown up by RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) and with an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), experiencing hundreds of firefights and seeing my comrades, my friends, blown up on numerous occasions.