Motivated to Change

Written by
Alan Mairs
Veterans Mentoring Service

Staff from Sacro’s Veterans Mentoring Service (VMS) recently took eight armed forces veterans to the Galloway Activity Centre in Dumfries & Galloway for a three-day motivational and team building event.

The service aims to support men and women who have completed service with the armed forces and are at risk of becoming involved, or are already involved in the criminal justice system. VMS is an intensive mentoring and one-to-one support service that is focussed on supporting veterans, the mentees, at a time of significant challenge in their lives. It assists mentees to recognise and develop their life skills including accessing education and employment training, sustaining their tenancies and accommodation and building the confidence to make critical changes in their lives. These critical changes include addressing their offending behaviour, understanding the effects of this on their lives and the lives of their families and friends and addressing alcohol and substance use issues.

This event was generously funded by Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland with the aim of building confidence and teamwork among the participants; attributes that can be crucial in achieving successful desistance and independent living.

Not all those attending knew each other beforehand but the group soon bonded well. The three days were structured so as to encourage team working and peer support, and to rebuild self-esteem among the participants by engaging in activities including competitive sports, collaborative exercises, discussions and educational presentations.

Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive:

“A brilliant four days, well planned and carried out. Sacro staff were always on hand to offer support and encouragement. Equally, peer support was excellent”.

It was clear the participants gained a lot from the three days, not just in rediscovering the importance of supporting and working with others but in making new and genuine friendships. Exercises such as this are an important part of the rehabilitation process and assist greatly with motivation to change, engagement with others and self-esteem.

Find out more about Sacro's Veterans Mentoring Service.