Just over 20 years ago, Paul Bromwell from Treorchy was diagnosed with PTSD. A former Welsh Guardsman and Falkland Islands campaign veteran, Paul was left feeling like there was nowhere to turn for professional advice and support or to talk to people going through similar things.
“It felt like there was no formal support for veterans like me who were struggling with PTSD, we just had to look after one another. After I was diagnosed, I started a group with other veterans where we would get together and talk in my local community centre. I didn’t realise it then, but it was the start of something that would change not only my life but the lives of others like me.” Paul said.
Paul has put in years of hard work and is now the founder and CEO of Valley Veterans, a veteran-led charity based in the heart of the Rhondda Valley that is a vibrant hub offering support and activities to more than 140 participants.
Valleys Veterans was registered officially as a charity in 2019 and, since then, work has been ongoing to support as many people as possible through the activities such as weekly breakfast clubs and caring for the charity’s horses, provided from its Ton Pentre base.
Valleys Veterans recently received a grant of £5,000 from Trivallis as part of its community investment fund. This money will go towards purchasing security fencing and a gate for the charity’s garden area, which is just up the road from Ton Pentre community centre.
Nigel Locke from Tonypandy is the Secretary of Valleys Veterans. He is currently serving in the Army Reserve as a Combat Medical Technician and is trained to identify the potential signs and symptoms of PTSD. He said: “We aim to support anyone who comes through the doors, whether it’s just to socialise with likeminded people or to take part in activities, like gardening, to help take their mind off things. This funding will make a huge difference to us all and provide some much-needed facilities so we can continue to improve how we support veterans in the valleys.”
The Trivallis Community Investment Fund, managed and promoted by Community Foundation Wales, is designed for constituted community groups and voluntary organisations supporting people within Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Lisa Roberts, partnerships officer at Trivallis, said: “Paul, Nigel and the team are providing an outstanding and unique support service for veterans in the valleys and it’s amazing to see the difference this is making to the lives of those that attend the activities here. We are incredibly pleased to see the work they have done so far and how the group is growing in strength day by day.”
To find out more about the fund, visit www.trivallis.co.uk/community-investment-fund
This story is from the Summer 2022 issue of our Trivallis Valleys Magazine. To read the full issue, visit our Valleys Magazine page.