Newport Veterans Hub

Newport RFC are delighted to announce that they are entering a partnership to support the excellent work of the Newport Veterans Hub in their activities in and around the city.

The veterans are also based at Newport Stadium just like ourselves and have a wonderful group of volunteers, ably led by CEO David Watkins, who provide support in a very wide range of activities to former service men and women.

We were pleased to welcome some of the veterans to our cup victory against Bridgend last Saturday and hope that we will be able to support the hub with other activities as the relationship grows.

Veterans Hub CEO David Watkins explains just some of what they do now and plan to do in the future:

Newport Veterans’ Hub (NVH) was in August 2021 by a small group of veterans who have themselves experienced mental health difficulties.  The Hub operates in partnership with several local organisations to provide mental health and well-being support and signposting for veterans and their families. With the support of Newport County AFC and Newport RFC, NVH has created a partnership with Newport Live and has the use of a room and facilities at Newport Stadium.  

We are now open every Thursday 15:00-18:00 at our new facilities at Newport Stadium. Our drop in Hub holds coffee evenings where vulnerable veterans can come together in a non-threatening, comfortable environment, allowing our specialist volunteers to identify those most at risk, offer them well-being strategies, and signpost them to alternative therapies and treatments. Newport Live is a charitable trust which provides sporting, leisure and cultural activities in Newport to support by the health and well-being of people in the city and beyond and inspire them to become happier and healthier. 

We have activity sessions available to veterans and families every Thursday 17:00-18:00 at the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome of Wales where funding is provided by the National Lottery Community Fund. In addition to these activities, NVH helps raise awareness among organisations and the general public of the problems affecting veterans with mental health issues, and how they can help. Our aim is to bring veterans out of isolation and give them a place to socialise and make new friends creating their own support network. 

Our organisation is run by a team of volunteers and We support veterans and their families as a unit. Demand for our services is expected to grow exponentially and we now seek to extend the range of services we can offer local veterans so that we can not only provide more high-quality activities specifically designed to tackle mental ill-health, but also strengthen and enhance referral pathways to external sources of specialist help.

Organisations supporting people most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Medical professionals and recognised support groups have identified the huge impact that the enforced lockdown has had on the mental and physical well-being of certain vulnerable groups of people in our communities. Veterans and their families who were struggling with various issues before the pandemic have found that their problems have escalated whilst at the same time seeing a severe reduction in the availability of professional support services. Many members of the armed forces have PTSD, physical injuries, disfigurements (including amputations) and need help building confidence and developing coping strategies to prevent suicide, substance misuse and depression. With our group’s support we can help them to access the support they need as well as provide opportunities to socialise and build support networks. We fully embrace and support The Armed Forces Covenant by ensuring that those who serve or have served in the armed forces – and their families – are treated fairly. We are the only place in Newport to offer face to face interactions for veterans their spouse and children which makes us unique as this can often be a barrier to veterans that need help but are dependent on their partner.

We provide veterans and their families with free match day tickets by creating partnerships with sports clubs charities and work together to provide a wide range of support to the veterans community. We do this by working with the local authority, Gwent AFLO and armed forces champions, Veterans NHS Wales and organisations that support veterans in the region. We have created a partnership with Veterans NHS Wales and have peer mentor support available.

Children and family can be victims of PTSD often combined with other MH problems and is why it should be across the board that the families and children should also receive our support. It’s also important to recognise that not all MH issues are service related and support should still be given as untreated it can often develop into more severe symptoms and can then trigger PTSD symptoms due to added levels of stress. 

You can donate direct to NVH: The Co Operative Bank. Sort Code: 089299. Account number: 67196669

Veterans and members of the  public can offer their support by choosing to support our hub via the ‘Veterans Raffle’. If we find 55 members through this avenue it will cover our annual costs for our drop in hub we currently only have 20 subscribers. This is £10 per month and will give the opportunity to win £25,000 in their monthly prize draw.

Our annual cost are £3120 this cost is broken down to £60 per week for use of the stadium’s building and facilities. Match day tickets are provided free of charge by the clubs charities.

To help support mental health NVH will provide free training in: MH First Aid level 1+2 and level 3, trauma recovery module with active listening and counselling skills, 3 day first aid at work and 1 day first aid at work.

FASTT this is designed to support families where a family member has experienced trauma, by providing tools to support mental health in the home. This will be available to their partners or Carer and service children 16+. This will also be made available to professional support services that also support veterans and their families which will include doctors, mental health workers, support workers, teachers that have service children in their classrooms 

The idea behind this is to not just strengthen the services provided to veterans and their families but also give the family unit itself the tools and the skill set to be able to spot early signs of mental health within the home, this will significantly improve the chances of early intervention. So if we can teach the service and the partner of the veteran to look out for signs and symptoms of PTSD and other various forms of MH we teach them the tools and give guidance on what forms of support to teach out for and essentially work out what stage they are at. This will greatly improve the chances of a better outcome. Training provider is Noble training Solutions.

Our plan for this year is to open our gardening allotment plot to veterans and their families including access for the disabled.

We are in the process of setting up a triage service with a psychotherapist.

For more information please email

Thank you for your support