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Inspiring podcast showcases veterans’ resilience

Veterans who’ve been injured in the line of duty have come together to launch a new podcast that shares their stories of overcoming tragedy and disability.

The Resilience Sessions podcast series features compelling in-depth interviews bringing to light life-changing experiences of veterans who have suffered devastating injuries, and the unknown personal struggles of celebrity guests who have fought to overcome hardship, including mental health problems, disability, devastating injury and bereavement.

In the first series, guests Carol Vorderman, Jonny Benjamin, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Michael Caines, Vick Hope and Ray Winstone and veterans Si Harmer, Stewart Harris, Nerys Pearce, Mark Ormrod, Shaun Stocker and Ken Bellringer share their inner most thoughts and feelings about resilience and adversity, and how it has shaped them.

The celebrities and the veterans hope the podcasts and sharing their experience will help others improve their own mental health.

The idea for a podcast was born out of a conversation between Alice Driver, founder and MD of the Drive Project social enterprise, and military veteran Si Harmer, who came close to death after losing both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2009. He said:

During my rehabilitation in hospital, the days were busy with people coming and going, but at night it became a very lonely and sad place. I wanted to put in my headphones and listen to something positive that would give me a sliver of hope and be part of a positive conversation.

Alice added:

The Resilience Sessions podcast aims to create meaningful and inspiring conversations between two unlikely individuals, to talk about their experiences, careers, challenges and how they have handled resilience in their own lives, to act as an inspiration and support to those listening.  We are using technology to connect veterans with others who have faced similar difficulties in life, to encourage their resilience against feelings of anxiety and poor self-esteem.

The opening podcast episode sees Carol Vorderman paired with Si, revealing how her challenging childhood motivated her to achieve amazing things.

Carol, whose father stood on an IED and was injured whilst working as a radio man in the Dutch Resistance, said:

I think it was hardship that motivated me, it gave me a fire and a feistiness.

The Resilience Sessions are supported by Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans and Openreach.

Kevin Brady, Openreach HR Director at Openreach said:

As one of the largest recruiters of ex-services personnel in the country, we know what an incredible contribution our veterans make to the Openreach workforce, helping to build and maintain the UK’s broadband network. These conversations demonstrate how much we can learn from them, especially about resilience and inner strength, which are vital skills. We are delighted to support these podcasts and encourage everyone to listen.

The podcast is available at smarturl.it/resiliencesessions. Please note, if you access this link via a desktop, it’ll take you to our webpage, and if it’s via a phone then it’ll open a podcast app on your device. Alternatively visit https://blesma.org/making-generation-r/the-resilience-sessions/ to find out more.

Image:  Drive Project

About the author

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise communications.