Blind veteran, Anthony Hebditch, aged 67, a Gunner in the Royal Artillery – British Arm, has been attending our Forest Forces programme since its early stages and has developed a great relationship with all of the Nottingham Forest Community Trust staff. Tony is always keen to get involved in any of our activities and events and on many occasions has expressed his gratitude to the programme explaining just what it means to be given such opportunities as well as introducing him to new friends.

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.

Since lockdown started, we’ve had to change how we deliver our programmes, including our support for veterans and older participants. We teamed up with the EFL Trust to do just that; The Tackling Loneliness Together programme allows us to continue to support our elderly participants and fans across the community during these difficult times.

We’ve been doing whatever we can to help those like Tony throughout the pandemic, keeping them engaged with virtual games, activities and workout sessions, socially distanced events when possible and providing regular communication and home visits.

Last week Tony even managed to win our first virtual bingo game of 202, taking home a brand-new signed Nottingham Forest football!

We caught up with Tony after the bingo game and during the conversation he said, “It’s just great. It gives me the chance to speak to others and shows you’re not alone because it can get very lonely.”

If you would like to know more about our Forest Forces or Tackling Loneliness Together programmes, please email commununity@nottinghamforest.co.uk