AROUND 20 veterans attended the inaugural Cornwall Connected by Pain’s ‘Veterans’ Pain Café’ at the Eden Project – a turnout that delighted stakeholders, who are, consequently, keen to see the event repeated.
The Pain Cafés have been developed by local communities working closely with health services and other key stakeholders, but this was the first time the Help for Heroes charity had supported a veterans-only event.
Cornwall has one of the largest veterans’ populations in the country, and a 2022 study, by Help for Heroes, revealed that 78 per cent of veterans who responded struggled with chronic pain that affected their ability to live – and that pain is one of the top issues veterans have.
The Pain Café provides a space where veterans can learn about why they are in chronic pain, gain strategies on how to help control it, and where they could garner information about accessing local pain services and specific pain support.
Imagineif’s Libby Huddy, Cornwall Pain Café coordinator, said:
“It was a fantastic day, really great attendance and participation. I am so delighted to be working with and supporting veterans in Cornwall and am planning more events.”
Attendees heard from Kevin Feaviour, director of Imagineif; Sean Jennings, who spoke about his own experience; Dr Kerry Elliott, consultant in anaesthesia and pain management; Dr James Huddy, GP; and received some basic chair-based mindfulness and light movement techniques from yoga therapist Toni Blay.
Huddy’s comments were echoed by Janine Whitley, Help for Heroes’ Veterans Clinical Advisor, who teaches on the charity’s Recovery College pain course.
“The event went really well and was very beneficial for all who came. The veterans could ask questions of a GP and lead pain consultant and the breathwork Toni taught the group was some very useful tips for helping to reduce their pain. The location was great too. We hope the next one will be just as successful.”
The event was hosted in the Eden Project’s Vounder Therapy Garden, which supports individuals living with anxiety and depression. It is also part of the Defence Gardens Scheme, a national network of gardens that hosts the delivery and evaluation of nature-based therapy for Armed Forces leavers, veterans, and their families.
Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 30,000 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.
The Charity supports veterans, and their families, from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.
For further information on the next Veterans Pain Café in Cornwall, contact Libby Huddy, Cornwall Pain Café coordinator, at 07496 825 523, or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Help for Heroes’ Veterans Clinical Advisor, Janine Whitley, at 07483 082 711 or email@example.com.
To get support, please visit: helpforheroes.org.uk.