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Cornish Veterans Scheme Rolled Out Across Southwest

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:01am 14th August 2013.

Cornish veterans battling back from post traumatic stress and injuries praise a project that is helping turn their lives around.

Active Plus sees ex-military personnel lead courses for over fifties in the Duchy.

It includes everything from helping older people back into work, to boosting confidence and fitness levels as well as tackling isolation and loneliness.

Ed Farndon from Truro left the RAF because of a severe knee injury. He said without Active he would still be unemployed:

"Still angry, still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Not coming to terms with the way that my life had changed. It is very unnerving. Everything that you think wouldn't be an issue, all of a sudden becomes an issue, because you haven't experienced it before.

Pete Botheras from Redruth suffered a back and leg injury in Afghanistanan in 2008. He then struggled with PTSD after his 21 year RAF career ended two years later.

Pete said: "When I left the military, I felt absolutely useless, worthless. I wasn't getting any employment aspects and as soon as you say, PTSD, physical injury, people don't want to know you.

"All of a sudden you start feeling more worthwhile. You feel better about yourself, everything that you're lugging around that people can't see. But in a way, we're helping people."

Tim Cocks, Director of Active Plus said: "I believe older people are the biggest wasted resource in Cornwall. By utilising the skills, knowledge and experience of injured veterans, to inspire older people to use their lifetime of skills and knowledge to help younger people, to help families.

"People were on the ships that got attacked in the Falklands, and indeed Afghanistan. The fact that people accept them for what they are. At the moment, a lot of them struggle for their family and their friends to relate to what they've been through."

Active Plus is now being rolled out across the South West, with sessions being run through job centres in Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

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