The concept for Made by Veterans (MBV) came about during a walking expedition in 2012 where the VIA Team and a group of veterans suffering from PTSD were wild camping next to a river in the North of Scotland.
The group had covered around 60 miles that day and the VIA Team had set up camp next to a river with a large tarp set up and hammocks. A fire was built and the evening meal was cooking in a Dutch Oven on the fire.
The VIA Team gave each person a blank piece of wood and a carving tool and demonstrated how to carve a spork with the tool which they would use to eat their evening meal. This they set about doing with much laughter and concentration with differing results at the end with some ending up with more or less a matchstick and others a club but it was the concentration and doing something constructive that was the main reason for the exercise.
This continued throughout the month long expedition and was the foundation for MBV.
The VIA Team started making other items to pass the skills on to those taking part on expeditions such as Para Cord wristbands and dog leads.
The aim of MBV was to run it as a project from the VIA ALIVE Centre moving into making printed mugs to sell where the funds would be put back into the project to help finance more machines to enable more items to be made and more veterans able to get involved.
In late 2015 VIA received a donation from Target Engraving to enable some items to be purchase such as a a mug press, hat press and heat press and the veterans started to produce printed mugs to sell. This enabled the project to purchase a 5 mug press to keep up with demand.
The aim was always to try and raise enough funds to purchase a T Shirt Direct to Garment printer and during 2016 VIA received a huge anonymous donation of £20,000 to purchase top of the range equipment and after some training courses the veterans started to produce T Shirts which will in time finance an embroidery machine.
MBV is an ongoing project which will help many veterans as a form of occupational therapy in a safe place at the VIA ALIVE Centre with many different items being produced.