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Former servicemen and women can face many challenges when they leave the Armed Forces, and among the toughest of these challenges are reintegrating into civilian life and replicating the sense of purpose and self-worth they experienced while serving.
Many will find new purpose through employment, but volunteering can also be an effective means of meeting new people, reducing social isolation and discovering activities that increase well-being and may lead to employment opportunities.
To help those willing to engage in this way, Keep Britain Tidy and Walking With The Wounded have come together to launch OP-REGEN, a partnership that will work with local people to help regenerate areas in the community.
Our new programme, which is being piloted in Manchester, aims to recruit veterans and to help them to reintegrate into society by using the skills they acquired in the military – planning, logistics, coordination and communication – to work alongside local businesses, councils, schools and individuals to regenerate their communities.
OP-REGEN – Frequently Asked Questions
What is OP-REGEN
OP-REGEN is a unique partnership between Keep Britain Tidy and Walking With The Wounded. It will provide a platform for ex-military personnel and their families to re-integrate back into society and have a meaningful positive impact on their communities and the environment on their doorsteps. The aim is build confidence within ex-military personnel and help them on their individual journey back into employment.
Many ex-military find themselves upon returning to civilian life, that they are living in new unfamiliar locations with limited support networks. This can impact negatively on various aspects of health and can lead to social isolation. OP-REGEN aims to address this through the use of promoting volunteering opportunities, without barriers to participation, tailored to meet the skills and desire of each individual in a safe and supportive environment.
Where is OP-REGEN based?
OP-REGEN is currently operating out of Walking With The Wounded’s offices in Manchester.
What is Keep Britain Tidy?
Keep Britain Tidy is an independent charity formed in the 1960’s with three goals; to eliminate litter, end waste and improve places. This means more than just picking up litter. It means creating clean beaches, parks and streets. It means creating sustainable practices and eliminating unnecessary waste. Keep Britain Tidy works with people, businesses, organisations and public bodies to care for the environment.
What is Walking With The Wounded?
Walking With The Wounded is a charity established in 2010 to help injured former British Armed Forces servicemen and women transition from the military to civilian life. This is done by recognising the inherent skills of ex-military personnel and complementing these qualities, as well as providing support to transfer their skills into the civilian workplace. Support is offered to those vulnerable veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assistance given in sustaining their independence through new sustainable careers outside of the military.
What does the OP-REGEN Project Manager do?
The OP-REGEN Project Manager’s role is to develop, manage and coordinate the delivery of OP-REGEN by working with a range of key partners and funders. This includes working with the OP-REGEN Project Officer to engage local veterans and work with them to develop plans to make environmental improvements to their communities. This is done through a training and support programme for volunteer veterans to become Captains who engage with local residents to co-create, organise and promote environmental improvement activities in their local areas.
What does the OP-REGEN Project Officer do?
The OP-REGEN Project Officer works within the local area to recruit OP-REGEN volunteers and Captains, to ensure they have the skills to deliver community focused regeneration events. They also liaise with local councils and organisations to help support OP-REGEN Captains to access work related opportunities to prepare them for paid employment.
Who can volunteer with OP-REGEN?
Anyone can be a OP-REGEN volunteer if they take part in community events organised by OP-REGEN Captains. The minimum age is 6, with children aged between 6-18 being accompanied by a parent/guardian.
What are OP-REGEN Captains?
OP-REGEN Captains are ex-military veterans who have signed a Volunteer Agreement and have undertaken the necessary training to deliver events in their area, OP-REGEN Captains form and lead community groups to do this as well as other activities.
What are the benefits of becoming an OP-REGEN Captain?
OP-REGEN Captains receive support from OP-REGEN to developing their existing skills, as well as gaining new ones. This is intended to provide the work experience they need to re-join the paid employment workforce, as well as build community cohesion by setting up groups in their local area to tackle environmental issues. This is aimed to reduce the sense of social isolation that some ex-military veterans experience.
How can I sign up to be an OP-REGEN Captain?
Anyone wishing to become an OP-REGEN Captain should contact their local OP-REGEN Project Officer, this can be done by approaching Walking With The Wounded who will put them in touch with the right person.
I work for a company that would like to support OP-REGEN, how can I do this?
Companies should speak to the OP-REGEN Project Manager who will be able to discuss what kind of contribution you want to make and formalise any agreements, click here
I would like to see OP-REGEN active in my community, how can I make this happen?
The OP-REGEN Project Manager will be able to check for any OP-REGEN events taking place in your local community and put you in touch with the OP-REGEN Captain leading them, alternatively they can support your enquiry by engaging with potential OP-REGEN Captains and encouraging them to sign up. For more information, click here.