Scuba Diving rehabilitation charity Deptherapy has announced a substantial grant from military charity the Veterans’ Foundation. The grant of £25k will allow Deptherapy to return to Roots, its base in the Egyptian Red Sea, funding RAID Open Water 20 courses and continuing education courses for scuba divers in 2022.
The grant is a significant boost to the funding of Deptherapy’s work – rehabilitating UK Armed Forces’ Veterans who have suffered life-changing mental and/or physical challenges through adaptive scuba diving programmes and 24/7 support.
“Sometimes at night he comes into my bedroom, sits at the end of my bed and we talk. He was my best friend. It seems so real; he is alive. Sometimes we are back on patrol and he steps on the IED and all there is, is pink mist. He died that day, but he is always in my heart.”
The Veterans’ Foundation has supported Deptherapy since 2017. During COVID restrictions, when travel to Egypt was not possible, the Foundation funded an Open Water course that was run at Eton College Pool and Wraysbury Dive Centre. The course was the first of its kind for the charity in the UK.
Deptherapy beneficiary Grant, who has MS and is a wheelchair user, said:
“I was part of the group that undertook their open water course in the UK. Unfortunately, I could not finish it as I was unable to complete the 200-metre non-stop swim. I have put in a lot of work in my local pool and can do the 200 metres easily now. The Veterans’ Foundation grant means I can travel to Egypt on this year’s expedition and complete the course in warm water. I know I can achieve something that many would say is impossible.”
Deptherapy’s announcement of the Veterans’ Foundation grant comes in a week where ‘mental health’ concerns dominate the headlines with so-called ‘Blue Monday’, as well as a compelling article that appeared in The Times on 15th January.
The Times article, written by war correspondent Anthony Loyd, reports on the terrible impact on the mental health of UK Armed Forces’ Veterans who served in Afghanistan. In particular, the article focuses on soldiers from the Rifles Regiment and the concerning number of suicides amongst the troops post-conflict.
Deptherapy Ambassador and author of Bombs for Breakfast, Gary Green, is a former Rifleman, who lost his sight in one eye and has Chronic PTSD as the result of an IED blast while on patrol in Afghanistan. Gary said:
“I would imagine many members of the public will have struggled to read or were moved to tears reading the reality of life on the battlefields of Afghanistan. The mental health toll is immeasurable. Deptherapy has had a major impact on helping Veterans like myself return to a healthy lifestyle. Among those we work with, suicide ideation is high. The Veterans’ Foundation grant coming, as it does, hard on the heels of lockdown means we can once again deliver our core programmes and developmental programmes at Roots. Deptherapy works because we understand what Veterans have been through. We are a family.”
Deptherapy, as part of its ongoing research programme, is commissioning a medical study to look at the apparent unique benefits that Roots Red Sea offers in terms of mental health. Previous research suggested that the experiences of beneficiaries at Roots, and in particular in what became known as the ‘Reflection Room’, contributed significantly to an environment where beneficiaries could speak openly about their mental health problems. Researchers will travel on expedition this year alongside beneficiaries and will be able to experience the Roots environment first-hand.
Deptherapy Ambassador and Mental Health Champion Tom Oates said:
“PTSD destroyed my life as it has many of those our charity works with. I was detained in a secure ward after I tried to take my own life. I know what Deptherapy delivers. We deal with more than PTSD – there are the major physical injuries too – but many have depression or anxiety, adjustment disorder, severe learning difficulties and survivor guilt. Many of these are at the top end of the scale. When the phone rings or you get a message from a partner, a parent or a friend saying ‘X’ needs help now, the charity swings into action and we are there to support. Deptherapy saved my life and it has saved the lives of many others. The Veterans’ Foundation grant will save lives, it will change lives.”
Deptherapy has a stand at the Go Diving Show on 4th, 5th and 6th March and the team will be speaking on the main stage on the Saturday and Sunday at 1500 hours about their work. The charity will also be using the show to kickstart a campaign to recruit new beneficiaries, which it has been unable to do during COVID.
Medical and academic research shows clearly that the Deptherapy programme works. Without ongoing support from the Veterans’ Foundation and other fundraisers, it would not be possible to continue the charity’s life changing work. Deptherapy hopes to attract new sponsors at the Go Diving Show and will be encouraging visitors to sign up to a new Direct Debit scheme, so that individuals can give easily and regularly to the charity to help their crucial work continue.
For more information about the work of Deptherapy visit www.deptherapy.co.uk.
Header image: Roots Red Sea. Photo – Richard Stevens
Save the Manatee Club launches brand new webcams at Silver Springs State Park, Florida
Save the Manatee® Club has launched a brand-new set of underwater and above-water webcams at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, FL. These new cameras add to our existing cameras at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida, and Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in Homosassa, Florida, which are viewed by millions of people worldwide. The cameras are a collaboration between Save the Manatee Club, Explore.org, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who made the new live streaming collaboration possible via support of their interpretative program.
The above-water camera is a stationary pan/tilt/zoom camera that will show manatees and other wildlife from above water, while the new underwater camera provides the viewer with a brand new, exciting 180-degree viewing experience. Viewers can move the cameras around, trying to spot various fish and manatees.
The Silver River, which originates at Silver Springs, provides important habitat for manatees and many other species of wildlife. Over recent years, more manatees have been seen utilizing the Silver and Ocklawaha rivers. “The webcams provide a wonderful entertainment and educational tool to the general public, but they also help us with the manatee research,” says Patrick Rose, Executive Director of Save the Manatee Club. “We have learned so much through observing manatees on our existing webcams, and the new cameras at Silver Spring can add to the existing manatee photo-ID research conducted in this area, as well as highlighting Silver Springs and the Silver River as an important natural habitat for manatees.”
The webcams are streaming live during the daytime, with highlights playing at night, and can be viewed on Explore.org and on Save the Manatee Club’s website at ManaTV.org.
Save the Manatee Club, established in 1981 by the late renowned singer-songwriter, author, and entrepreneur Jimmy Buffett, along with former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham, is dedicated to safeguarding manatees and preserving their aquatic habitat. For more information about manatees and the Club’s efforts, visit savethemanatee.org or call 1-800-432-JOIN (5646).
Dive Worldwide introduces three new resorts ahead of Go Diving Show
Ahead of Go Diving (2-3 March, Stoneleigh Park), the leading scuba diving exhibition that marks the start of the dive season, Dive Worldwide has introduced three new resorts, each one set in a world class diving location. Among them is Coral Eye Resort in Indonesia, an eco-friendly island retreat with a welcoming community vibe where like-minded people get excited about the marine world and all its wonders.
Dive Worldwide has the largest programme in the UK of tailor-made and small group liveaboard and resort-based diving holidays to over 200 destinations worldwide, catering for beginners and experienced divers alike.
Founded as an outpost for marine studies, Coral Eye is a boutique resort on Bangka Island, east of Sumatra, which has been transformed into a diver’s paradise. Today Coral Eye, set in the heart of the Coral Triangle, attracts a community of visitors who share a passion for the sea. Its eco-friendly villas are designed to blend seamlessly into the natural surroundings.
From Coral Eye and the Coral Eye Dive Centre, it is possible to discover more than 30 world-class dive sites– each within 40 minutes of the beachfront dive centre – along with the fascinating volcanic topography and varied marine life around Bangka Island in North Sulawesi. From the beautiful house reef to steep coral-covered pinnacles, charming critters, turtles, and abundant reef fish, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Dives, up to four per day, are guided in groups of four by local guides with a wealth of experience and keen eyes.
Price: 9 nights at Coral Eye Resort from £2,775pp based on 2 sharing including Full board, transfer, 10 dives, tanks and weights
This resort is an oceanfront haven where luxury meets adventure. Against a backdrop of lush greenery and a white sand coast in Playa del Carmen, The Fives Beach Hotel’s location in Riviera Maya provides access to a plethora of renowned dive sites, including the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and the world-famous Cenotes. Within the resort is The Fives Dive Centre with its range of SSI courses, from beginner to advanced. Guests can dive with eagle rays and look for a splendid toadfish in Cozumel. Puerto Morelos has such a cool vibe above the water, but below the surface the National Park is also the best the Caribbean has to offer.
With a diverse range of accommodation, choose from stylish rooms with balconies to vibrant suites and oceanfront residences providing more privacy and a panorama of the Caribbean Sea. Beyond diving, guests can indulge in the hotel’s array of restaurants, relax with a cocktail by one of the hotel’s seven outdoor pools, explore the vibrant local culture at the nearby Mayan ruins or enjoy the hotel’s numerous cultural offerings.
Price: 7 nights at The Fives Beach Hotel and Residences costs from £3,145pp based on 2 sharing, all inclusive, including 8 ocean dives and 2 cenotes dives, tanks, weights and transfers
Located in Puerto Aventuras, these stylish marina and lagoon view apartments, each with tasteful Caribbean interiors, are the perfect location for an ocean and Cenotes diving adventure. The 19 marina apartments offer views over the marina, while eight luxury lagoon apartments overlook a private bay in the lagoon and benefit from a small private beach and a swimming pool.
Diving the magical caves and passages of the world-famous Cenotes in Mexico is conducted with Maya Blue Dive Centre while ocean dives are provided through a local dive centre. The Mesoamerican reef system along the Riviera Maya is home to colourful coral gardens and marine life aplenty, providing an exciting and varied week of diving experiences including plenty of hawksbill turtle encounters. Travel between June and September and add in a snorkelling trip to see the incredible gathering of whale sharks around Holbox Island or Isla Mujeres.
For further information visit Dive Worldwide (diveworldwide.com, 01962 302087).
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