Ex-Military Veterans Support

Why the programme is needed 

There are an estimated 3.8 million veterans in the UK, and a further 20,000 personnel leave the forces each year.  It is estimated that there are over 20000 veterans living in neighbouring boroughs that we cover, Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Kingston and Richmond.  

According to government figures - 1 in 5 of these are likely to be suffering from a mental health issue such as PTSD.  PTSD’s symptoms range from nightmares and hallucinations to anxiety and inability to control emotions, and is often accompanied by addiction to alcohol and or substance abuse.

Ex-Military veterans also might suffer from other issues. For example they are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-veterans (8% compared to 4%). They are much more likely to experience prison, be homeless and/or socially excluded, have a lower level of qualifications, and have a much higher rate of depression and other common mental disorders. MoD figures show that 25% veterans drink to dangerous levels compared to 4% of the general population. These issues also affects their families, particularly as they often act as carers to the soldiers

What we aim to achieve

Funded by The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and The Force Trust, CDARS  delivers a programme which supports the re-integration of ex-military veterans.

The aim of this project is to improve the skills, health, and prospects of disadvantaged veterans living in Merton, Sutton, Wandsworth, Richmond and Kingston.  

The services are provided within our premises in Wimbledon Chase, acting as a specialist hub. This is a large building equipped with a cafe, training suites, and smaller rooms for group work or one-to-one support.

The Hub will bring together a holistic set of services aimed at meeting some of the needs that veterans present with, while referring them to other local services when appropriate.

Our aim is to cover a four stage programme to support service users as shown in the diagram below.

What we offer

The table below shows the services that we offer at each stage of the programme.


Phase 1

Access and Engagement

Phase 2

Skills Building

Phase 3


Phase 4

Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

  • Outreach
  • Assessment
  • Preparation
  • Advice, guidance and information
  • Peer Mentor involvement  
  • Counselling and Key work,
  • Support Group 
  • Outreach
  • Family support
  • Mental Health and Health and Well-Being
  • ETE
  • Peer Mentor involvement
  • Benefits support
  • Promoting independence
  • Employment and voluntary work support
  • Community engagement 
  • Parenting skills and  Family  Support
  • Relationship building
  • Budgeting & Money Management
  • Personal Development
  • Aftercare support group
  • one to one relapse prevention
  • Mutual aid access
  • Key worker/keep in touch/telephone/skype/home visits

The choir and Music Programme

As part of the programme, we do also offer a choir and music sessions, designed to use music and singing as  therapeutic tool for veterans for re-integration in the local community.  The weekly sessions are run from our premises in Wimbledon Chase.

We are extremely lucky to have as a Master Choir who has  designed it and manages the Choir, Ben Saul, the UK Chairman of the British Association for Music Therapy, with the involvement and support  from Nicholas O Neill, Chorus Master and Composer in Residence to the Parliament Choir.

Participation to the Choir, allows veterans to mix and do regular activities with non-veterans, so to support their re-integration in the local community, as well as to acquire various skills, including:


  • Developing awareness of physical regulation including breathing and encouraging relaxation techniques to focus on the singing work
  • Developing posture and stamina. Singing is a physical exercise which encourages an engaged and dynamic attitude
  • The skills are encouraged and developed throughout the session but are most closely worked on in warm up and warm down. 


  • Developing social skills. Choir music happens in a social setting. Choir members acquire new skills in partnership working, recognising individual contribution to a group exercise, leadership and team working. 
  • Developing a resilience about presentation and performance.  

This is a performing choir and the choir works on preparing for performance and managing the challenges this presents in every rehearsal. 


  • Developing an ability to read music 
  • Developing a literacy about musical terminology and presentation

There is no expectation of musical ability needed to join this choir. However, participants get the chance to develop their musical skills.

Who can access the programme

The programme can be accessed by any Ex-Military Veteran.  We also offer support to carers or family members of Veterans.

How can the programme be accessed

We maintain a very simple referrals process. While any professional can contact CDARS for a referral, anyone who feels at risk can call the service via:

Email at: info@cdars.org.uk

Telephone: 0203 8728217

Or to speak directly to our Veterans Programme Co-ordinator, or leave a message at: 07943 171752


This service is funded by