Moving Forces began in 2018 as a three-year Sport England-funded pilot programme looking to provide activities to military veterans and their families throughout Greater Manchester. Over the three years we have funded sessions which have allowed over 500 veterans and family members to get moving and meet other vets. Paul is one of those veterans and kindly shared his story about the difference Moving Forces made to him.
After interest from our deliverers and some underspend from the pandemic, we were able to create Moving Forces Clubs. This was an opportunity for eight activity sessions to receive a small grant from Moving Forces for them to set up a sustainable session for veterans and their families. We have funded activities from archery, to tai chi, to horse riding and power lifting. For a full list of activities and details on how to join them, please go to the Moving Forces ‘Find an Activity’ section on our website.
The primary role of the Moving Forces programme was to learn what works, and doesn’t in creating veterans programmes. Through this we have worked with many veterans charities, GMCA, activity providers and veterans themselves and this learning is extremely valuable. There is a steering group leading a learnings project called the Moving Forces Legacy, with a goal that this learning influences future programmes and therefore enable veterans to access more opportunities across the country. We will be sharing the learnings later in the year and also putting together useful resources, such as a Moving Forces Deliverers’ Toolkit, for future programmes based on the findings.
As part of the Moving Forces programme we worked with Moving Forces members to co-develop 'Moving Forces Connect'; a 6 week programme that helps military veterans, and their family members, to learn more about the connection between mental wellbeing and physical activity. The initial pilot was delivered via Zoom in December 2020 and January 2021 and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. A digital version of the programme (with online videos and downloadable tool-kit) will be launched in August and will be made available to veterans and their families all over the UK. If you are interested in this programme as a veteran yourself or as someone working with a group of veterans then please contact [email protected].
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the Moving Forces programme and those helping to provide a legacy through the evaluation, the clubs programme and the Connect programme. If you have any questions or think the evaluation would be useful for you then please contact [email protected].