Damian Cowlishaw, Ex-Lance Corporal, 3WFR joined our Forest Forces programme over 18 months ago and it has made a huge impact on his life.
Our ‘Forest Forces’ programme is designed to support local Veterans to lead a more healthy and connected life. We aim to tackle social isolation by providing a variety of regular activities and events that brings veterans together from different backgrounds and armed forces constituents. From coffee mornings, comedy nights and day trips, we work with our veterans to come up with different initiatives that everyone will enjoy.
We caught up with Damian to see what he had to say about the programme…
Do you enjoy the Forest Forces programme and if so, what do you enjoy the most?
There’s lots of things I enjoy about the Forest Forces programme, it’s a good get together and brings everyone from different armed forces backgrounds together socially. It’s great to see my old friends and now my new ones as well. We get to catch up about life and speak about stories from back in day, it’s great.
What have you been up to as part of the Forest Forces programme?
We’ve done lots of interesting and fun activities and events, recently we’ve taken part in the socially distanced foot golf which has been great, especially to see everyone safely again. I especially enjoyed the carolling event at Christmas, the remembrance fixture was really good with us, the derby trip to pride park where we met other veterans, there’s been so many good ones.
Have you joined any other programmes since starting the Forest Forces programme?
I found out about the walking football programme through Forest Forces and me and a few of the guys thought it would be fun to try out so we attended and we’ve been coming every week since. It’s great way to keep fit, there’s good banter with everyone there and it’s just another fun thing to do; it’s good to engage with people of the same age with the same interests.
How has it been since the Covid-19 pandemic?
Even throughout the pandemic the Forest Forces programme has been great, you guys have kept in regular contact and checked to see if we are okay. We’ve done virtual activities and have been seeing what everyone has been getting up to whilst being in lockdown and like I said, more recently we’ve got to do socially distanced activities like the foot golf which was good fun.
What would you say to a veteran that’s not already a part of Forest Forces?
It’s just a great thing to be a part of, we have the opportunity to do things we might never get to experience to do otherwise, we are all such good mates now and all look out for each other but most importantly we just get to have a laugh and socialise.
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