Foundation | Positive Pathways: Mel's Story
Army veteran Mel was battling isolation, mental health, and addiction issues when he became involved in Cardiff City FC Foundation's Positive Pathways project.
Positive Pathways uses the power of Cardiff City FC to connect and support veterans, with the aim of reducing social isolation, loneliness and improving physical and mental wellbeing.
Weekly online and face-to-face sessions provide structure and support for veterans to get together, connect, and participate in a range of activities that improve physical and mental wellbeing.
Mel says that joining the project allowed him to make new friends and develop a rapport with other veterans experiencing similar issues to him:
"I was made to feel so welcome in the group, and I've enjoyed meeting and building friendships with other veterans. Not only has this project got me out socialising again, but it's allowed me to access support I didn't even know existed from other organisations in this space.
“I’ve made friends that I regularly see in my own time, so this project has been life-changing on many levels for me."
Mel particularly enjoyed taking part in a memorial gardening project at Cardiff City Stadium and said he was "over the moon" to win an award for 'Most Outstanding Contribution' to the project:
"Being part of this project has given me some incredible experiences, like trips to Pen y Fan and the National Arboretum.
“I’ve also loved working on the memorial garden and catching up with new friends at the Stadium.
"Working with other veterans like me has helped me to open up and talk about my wellbeing. Because we've shared similar experiences, they understand me and never judge me.
"Being part of the Positive Pathways project has given me the self-confidence to speak up in bigger groups and recognise that I have something to offer.
“I now want to help others who have served in conflict zones and need support in the same way I did.
“We all help and look out for each other in this group, and I can't thank Cardiff City FC Foundation enough for giving me this fantastic, life-changing opportunity."