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  • Writer's pictureDr Joe Giordano

Chairman Talks : Warriors Of Hope

Welcome to the “Chairman Talks blog” this week. I have been asked this week to explain a bit about our Warriors of Hope” Animal assisted therapy program and what it is all about. The program helps to treat mental health trauma and PTSD in veterans to provide them with the tools they need to combat their mental health and aid them in making the difficult transition into “civi” life after leaving the forces.

How Does The Savsim Warriors Of Hope Program Work?

This program is split into two sections with two days at London Zoo and with a further five days residential at Whipsnade. This program is supported by our partnership with the Zoological Society of London and allows us to provide the chosen veterans with the animal-assisted therapy they need.

How Are The Veterans Chosen?

The six veterans are selected for the program following an initial questionnaire. This is then followed up with a face-to-face interview. This will determine their needs as well as allow us to put together a plan of action for the treatment that each veteran will require. From there we then begin to organise their treatment plans and ensure that they are ready to begin receiving treatment as soon as possible.

What Does The Warriors Of Hope Program Involve?

The program centres around nature and its ability to heal. There are several scientific studies linking the use of animals and spending time outside in nature to improvements in mental health as well as overall mental resilience. As a result, we have generated a course that involves the use of animal therapy to engage with the veterans as well as utilising tools such as therapeutic art/ yoga and breath work.

With detailed journaling, reflective therapy and of course, engaging with the animals we provide the veterans with the tools needed to combat their mental health and take on life challenges one step at a time. Though this program is only a week-long, the team at Savsim continue to provide ongoing support through further updates as well as online support.

How Much Does The Course Cost?

The program does not cost the veterans a penny. It is fully funded by SAVSIM, through fundraising, grant applications and donors, raising funds for accommodation, transport and the course itself so the veterans can be fully immersed in the course with no financial limitations. Each course costs us £10,000.00 for 6 veterans and we work tirelessly all year round to fundraise and provide this course to those in need.

Throughout our time helping those veterans in need, we have had many testimonials about how their mental health has suffered since leaving the armed forces. With many struggling to transition back into civi life, the help of courses such as ours is a must to ensure they have the tools they need to combat their mental health as they transition into this new way of life. Here are some testimonials from some of the veterans themselves:

“ 3 weeks ago I was contemplating suicide, glad I came on this. This is a great program, it is individually tailored and provides an amazing non-medicinal solution and coping mechanisms “.

“ You have saved my life “.

Nature has the power to heal and the benefits of this are not just for the veterans but for the rest of society. We all experienced the benefits during the recent pandemic and are continuing to recognise the importance that spending time surrounded by nature can have on our mental and physical well-being.

We need to conserve and protect the environment for the benefit of humanity.

Please visit our website

and please take time to follow us on Instagram, we really appreciate all of your support.

On behalf of the animals we protect and the veterans we support.

Thank you


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