VETERANS ANGLING ACADEMY

The Veterans Angling Academy was developed to introduce former armed forces veterans living in the North of England to an outdoor activity that was accessible to both disabled veterans and able bodied personnel. The angling academy includes members which range from beginners to those with prior match fishing experience who are adapting their skills to their new abilities. All the angling equipment is provided to the participants at no cost and with the support of the Northumberland Angling Development Board. Fishing trips, both one day and multi-day are also provided at no cost to the participants at a variety of venues across the North East. The Veterans Angling Academy is unique in that it provides a sea, course or fly fishing activity on a weekly, on-going, long term basis. It is much more than a one day fishing trip.

The Project relies on the generosity of other charities such as the National lottery, the Angling Development Board and the donation of equipment by angling equipment manufacturers. The project is led and coordinated by Mel Creighton, a fully qualified Level 2 angling coach with disability awareness training who works closely with the Angling Trust and the Angling Development Board. He is also trained in the protection of vulnerable adults, first aid, health and safety and has been CRB checked.

The project is delivered in rural, outdoor settings dependent upon the type of fishing the participants are involved in, For example sea fishing is from the shore or on a boat and a river or a lake is the setting for course or fly fishing. The majority of the participants have involvement with the CJS, drug and alcohol services, mental and physical health support networks and the homelessness sector.

What are our plans for developing the project further?

We would like to mainstream this provision during the next two years as it is clearly an important route to possible employment but also a great catalyst for getting those subject to Probation Orders to positively structure their lives whilst acting as a therapeutic activity. We would like to employ a CPN to participate in these activities and utilise those former servicemen and women that have made the transition back to the civilian community and now work in a professional capacity as Probation officers, Social workers etc.

The veterans have also expressed a desire to share their newly acquired angling skills with others. This will necessitate members taking more Level 1 and Level 2 Angling coaching courses. To this end Forward Assist are applying for grants from a number of sources.

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