Veterans with PTSD volunteering during coronavirus lockdown to help the community and themselves

  • Video report by ITV News Reporter Martha Fairlie

ITV News has met with veterans who are helping others while keeping active during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Veterans in Action charity has been delivering food parcels to those in need, with vehicles normally used for expeditions around the world.

The vehicles were set to be used to help improve veterans' mental health but now they are at the heart of Andover's response to the coronavirus crisis and are being used to help deliver essential goods to those who are most vulnerable.

Many of the veterans who are volunteering have told ITV News it is having a positive impact on their mental health.

Keith Tucker said helping the community has really helped his mental wellbeing. Credit: ITV News

Veteran Keith Tucker and the team are collecting and distributing food to the community.

Mr Tucker told ITV News: "With PTSD, isolation is the biggest problem, you start by isolating yourself from everyone you know, you then isolate in your house, you then just stay in one room and in the end you just stay in your head."

Another Veteran, Stephen Reilly, added: "It's [volunteering] having a massive positive impact to my mental health because I've wouldn't have been doing this a few months ago, I just wouldn't have been out of the house, in all honesty."

The Chief Operating Officer of the charity, Billy MacLeod, said it has done more than just get them out.

The charity says it has done veterans a world of good and not just get them out of the house. Credit: ITV News

"I think it has proved to them that they are a valuable part of the community and that'll give them real help to continue this way after Covid-19 is over," he said.

The Veterans for Action group are part of a team with the local pub in Andover which has now been turned into a food bank.

"There are some people that are repeat customers, as it were, so they are getting to know those people as well so it's much better to have the Veterans In Action do this that know the addresses and know the people than those isolating from people having a new face every week which can be intimidating," Victoria Harber, part of the Isolation group, said.

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