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Veterans And Belonging.

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One of the greatest human needs is to belong. Our earliest ancestors lived in small, dependent groups. The tribe was a matter of life and death. If you were cast out, the sabre-toothed tiger got you, or you starved. In evolutionary terms, this happened about five minutes ago. So it’s no wonder that in this rushing, techno-dazzled, modern world, people are still forming tribes.

Tribal has become an insult, especially in politics, but it’s really a plain urge of humanity. Pretty much everyone wants a place where they feel understood, and supported, and seen. They want to count. In those small, prehistoric tribes, every human counted.

You can see a clear parallel to this in the armed services. On active service, every single cog in the wheel is vital. The team is not just a cheap word used by self-help charlatans: it is, like it was in the dawn of the species, a matter of life and death. The most raw recruit has to do their job, just as the senior officer must. That is how the unit gets out alive.

The sense of belonging is intense. There is a special language, a distinct sense of humour, a shared experience. When all that is taken away, when servicemen and women are thrown into the civilian world, there is a sense of emptiness and isolation.

The pain we deal with at HorseBack is not just from physical wounds. It’s often a pain of the psyche, of the spirit. The sense of belonging has gone, and that is what we try to give back. It’s why we have veterans on the team, and why we train the veterans who have been on our courses to come back and work as mentors, and why we set up structures so that the veterans who have been through our gates can stay together as a group. They get each other like no civilian can ever get them. The support they give to each other is a crucial part of the recovery process.

When veterans come to us, they belong again, in a place where they don’t have to explain themselves. They rediscover their tribe, in the most positive, encouraging, galvanising sense of the word. This is a vital part of what we do, and it makes an astonishing difference to the men and women we serve.

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We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.

We do not rely on government funding so any donations will greatly assist with the running of our charity.