• Over the top, image created by a wellbeing workshop participant

Aldershot Military Museum, which is operated by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust, has secured £24,435 in funding for community projects working with local veterans.  

The funding - from the MOD Covenant Fund, MOD Forces Connect and Hampshire Gardens Trust - will enable the museum to run three projects: a community garden aimed primarily at people recovering from mental health problems, including veterans; a volunteer programme for the maintenance and care of the museum’s military vehicles and the continuation of a wellbeing programme for veterans recovering from PTSD.

The Resilience Garden project, which has received funding from the MOD and Hampshire Gardens Trust, will involve local veterans, serving forces and civilians coming together to create a garden at the museum. Its aim is to increase wellbeing and aid mental health recovery by bringing these different parts of the community together through collaborative, practical activity in a safe and inspirational space. The project is an alternative intervention to local support services for participants who are unlikely to utilise traditional therapies such as counselling and is also working with North East Hants Recovery College. The project began in August 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by July 2021.  

Aldershot Military Museum has also secured status as an Official Veterans Hub. The museum received the funding from Forces Connect South East, enabled by the MOD Covenant Fund, to build a programme of volunteering centred on the care and maintenance of the museum’s military vehicles. With the funding, the museum will be able to purchase key resources such as paint, PPE for participants and conservation tools, as well as offer training, provided by the Hampshire Cultural Trust collections team, to develop a core group of volunteers who will be able to maintain the vehicles and pass on their knowledge to others.

Funding from the MOD Covenant Fund Communities Together Programme will enable the continuation of the museum’s Veterans’ Wellbeing Programme, aimed at veterans who have received clinical treatment for PTSD.  Previously held at the museum, the project will now move online, with 20 sessions taking place between September 2020 and February 2021. Working with the same group who visited the museum regularly before lockdown, as well as welcoming new referrals, the sessions will continue to make use of objects from the museum’s collections as a basis for exploring memories, experiences, hopes for recovery and positive wellbeing. As well as offering the opportunity for discussion, the sessions give the participants time and guidance on putting together a creative response to the objects as a way of contributing to their wellbeing.

Deborah Neubauer, Head of Community at Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented: ‘We are absolutely delighted to have received this funding to enable us to run these three really crucial projects to support veterans and help improve their wellbeing. With its collection of military objects and vehicles, as well as the contacts and support it has locally, including Combat Stress and the Aldershot Garrison, Aldershot Military Museum is uniquely placed to offer these different projects. Through them, we aim to reach at least 50 veterans in need of support over the coming months.’

Aldershot Military Museum is a place where military and non-military meet and share experiences through exploring the heritage of the area and the Army. The museum is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust, an independent charity established in 2014 which manages 23 venues in Hampshire and Dorset, cares for 2.5 million objects that relate to the county’s rich heritage, and runs targeted social impact programmes working with 2,000 people each year.

Aldershot Military Museum is open to visitors. Tickets and admission times can be pre-booked at https://www.hampshireculture.org.uk/aldershot-military-museum.