"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

From Sangin To South Yorkshire

An organic farm just outside Sheffield is opening its doors, workshops and acres to troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who need space to come to terms with life in civvy street.

The project, Rural Life Skills, has been endorsed by the Royal British Legion. Paul Mulingani, RBL County manager: "It's a wonderful concept. If I was coming out of combat I would rather be on a farm doing what's on offer there, than being in a city. Invariably in the towns, in the city, you'll go to the pubs and become liable to whatever's going on."
"A farm can give them some breathing space, it gives them support," says the project's organiser, Elizabeth Hill. "If they're here they get 24-hour support, it means they're not alone, they're also with other people who have been through similar situations. They're out in the countryside. If they want to go out into the middle of a field and scream they can, and nobody will lock them up or think they're mad."
As well as strenuous general farm work there are workshops in carpentry, blacksmithing, dry stone walling and agricultural engineering and so on.  In addition, professional counselling and, eg, cognitive behaviour therapy will be on offer.

The Hills already run the Game Lea Countryside Training Trust, a charity working with adults who have mental health problems and with teenage children facing exclusion from school.

I think this is a really great idea and I wish it every success in helping our troops.  The full article is here and here's a website with info on Gamelea & the Hill Family.  Any interested veterans can contact Elizabeth Hill 01246 568 206.


  1. Sounds like a good idea. Well done to all involved.

  2. Brilliant. The countryside is still how life ought to be!

  3. I guess I'm just a dyed-in-the-wool sceptic. No mention on the web-page of where the funding comes from. Farmers 'diversifying' into care work? I don't know, GV, just sounds fishy to me.

  4. Finally some respect and understanding for our returning soldiers. What a great idea, and the fact that the Royal British Legion is involved with the scheme shows that everything has been done properly.

  5. I agree with you all - even Edgar! I nearly wrote a proviso about the funding but thought how negative that would be. They talk about funding and it is a charity so costs should be kept down. The RBL swinging behind it can only be good plus the owners have experience in the field (sorry!) of caring for those who've had bad life experiences. I really hope it succeeds and perhaps becomes a model for future charitable enterprises for our returning troops.


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