Swindon Trauma Group
Swindon Trauma Group


Mental Health First Aid Course for the Armed Services Community

Saturday and Sunday 17/18 March 2018

The tutor is Doctor Richard Castle. Please see page entitled MHFA Course.

     Running for Parliament and STG!

STG members are delighted that Sarah Church, Labour Candidate for South Swindon, ran the Swindon Half Marathon for STG on Sunday 3 September 2017 in 1 hour 51 minutes and 46 seconds. The money raised so far is over £300.

This will go towards a Mental Health First Aid course run by Doctor Richard Castle.

    The plan is to run the course in 2018 at a venue yet to be decided.

    For those wishing to donate please click here


Lydiard Park Conference Centre

Date: Friday 11 November 2016

Timings: 1245-1700 including a visit to the Poppy Field of Remembrance (those that can attend don’t forget the 11th November service at 1100 hrs)


Quality means doing it right when no one is looking

                               Henry Ford                                           

1030-1055: Cuppa in the lounge bar (Cost £3-50 for tea, or coffee and biscuits) for those wishing to have a drink

1100-1130: Remembrance Service in the Poppy Field of Remembrance. For those who attended the service why not an autumn walk around beautiful Lydiard Park prior to workshop

1245-1330: Meet and greet Registration-Why not a cuppa?

1330-1345: Introductions /Administration - Richard Hilling ARRC

1345-1530: Sounder Sleep for Veterans-a New Approach for Stopping Nightmares Justin Havens Trauma (EMDR) Therapist currently researching a Phd at the Veterans and Families Institute Anglia Ruskin University

1530-1630: Break with afternoon tea with tea or coffee with scones, cream and jam with a visit to the “famed walled garden” and the Poppy Field of Remembrance                                                                                              

1630-1645: Mini Draw including a copy Sister Edith Appleton’s 1st World War Diary turned into a bestselling book  

1645-1700: Endings / Resources available                                                                  


Delegates who would like to stay for chicken or fish and chips in a basket will be available from 1730 hrs in the lounge bar. Please place your orders beforehand and pay over the bar-thank you

May I wish all delegates a safe journey home

    Planned Dream Intervention - nobody understands fully why we dream, but for many suffering from PTSD, nightmares haunt almost every night. PTSD specialist and mental health specialist Justin Havens is currently investigating a new technique. It is hoped “planned dream intervention” may put a stop to traumatic nightmares disrupting the lives of so many servicemen and women. Please see http://forces.tv/43611136

                                                                                   Hannah King for Forces TV

   Cost of the workshop will be £12-50. Included in the price is an afternoon break of tea or coffee with scones jam and cream and free entry to the “famed walled garden” and historic house. Any profit will go to Swindon Trauma Group.  Download a booking form below.

Annual Draw

Thursday 16 June 2016


   The draw raised £117.50 which included donations. Thank you all who sponsored the draw:

Joan Haddrell STG member

Swindon Basepoint

   Swindon Marriott Hotel

Cineworld Shaw Ridge

Sweets Galore

 Lydiard Park

  Isla St Clair 




  Saturday 25 June 2016

Held at The Ruby Club on Greenbridge Road near WH Smith.  The day was wet particularly in the afternoon, yet there was a variety of Armed Forces and Veteran Charity stands to look around at the arena which made the afternoon enjoyable.






Mental Health First Aid Course for the Armed Forces Community


Asda West Swindon Community Training Room

Saturday and Sunday 19 and 20 March 2016

On the 3rd weekend of March the Swindon Trauma Group had the opportunity to invite Doctor Richard Castle, a psychologist and survivor of the Paddington Rail Disaster and retired RAF Group Captain, to run the above course.

The Setting

As chair of STG I would like to thank Jan Kilby and Asda West Swindon for sponsoring the event with superb buffet and refreshments on both days and the opportunity to learn in an excellent training environment. The technical backup was as good as ever thank you to Peter Mead of Wingletang.


It was nice to meet new and old members to STG and attendees from the armed forces community based at Tidworth and Colerne in Wiltshire

The Course

Mental Health First Aid founder was Betty Kitchener a nurse and Professor Antony Jorm from Australia in 2001 and is now run in 25 counties of which Bangladesh is the latest country to run this two day course.

The course was excellent - thank you Richard - and I was impressed how he covered the civilian element as well as that for the Armed Forces Community. The mental health first aid was covered in depth with members of the group reminding the tutor it was like a physical first aid course yet this time of the mind.

Throughout the two days the course covered extensively the various mental illnesses people may encounter at home, in the workplace or in the community. A video from Australia showed very well how a neighbour through empathy (NOT counselling skills may I add) can talk a very frightened neighbour down to seek professional help.

I was impressed with the exercises we did with little role play for a two day course, which I feel would have been a little rushed.

The manual that accompanies the course is very compressive in easy to read language and produced by Mental Health First Aid England.


An excellent two days during which attendees were encouraged through presentation, exercises and group discussion to participate in the proceedings.  One of the civilian members stated that the weekend just flew by due to an interesting and worthwhile course

Dick Hilling ARRC

Chair Swindon Trauma Group

Contact Details
Richard Castle - Mental Health First Aid England instructor on mobile (07039)33269 email rcvilla@aol.com or visit Mental Health First Aid England www.mhfaengland.org

Swindon Trauma Group - on mobile (07505)476139 email info@swindontraumagroup.org.uk or please visit STG website www.swindontraumagroup.org.uk reference interest in further training in Mental Health First Aid. 

Annual Conference 2016

 Friday 14 October 2016

STG 7th Annual Conference Venue again will be Swindon Marriott Hotel in the Uffington Suite. Timings – 0900 to 1700 (room available from 0800 to 1800). Cost per attendee £30 to attend function which includes tea, coffee and biscuits on arrival, sandwich lunch with cold refreshments and afternoon tea or coffee with "doughnut therapy".

Presenters confirmed include Professor Gordon Turnbull, Sheila Beer, Rev Frank Parkinson, Doctor Richard Castle, Brigitte Bodill, Kim Rayner, Robert Buckland QC MP, Doctor Jo Billings and Ivor Bermingham.  The range of presentations will cover the historical aspects, in relation to trauma, of treatments and how trauma effects people, both physically and psychologically, and treatments available today.

The Evening - If members, speakers or delegates want to stay for an evening meal the cost is £25 per person and will take place in the hotel restaurant.  People have to pre-book and I have provisionally booked for twenty attendees.

Accomodation - A special rate is available to any delegates wishing to stay at the Marriott Hotel on Friday 14th October.  

Click here for programme and links to booking forms

Mental Health First Aid Course for the Armed Forces Community

Saturday / Sunday 19 and 20 March 2016

Venue: Asda West Swindon Community Training Room

09:00 to 16:30 each day

Dress Casual but smart


Cost £30 per attendee to cover individual handbooks, course materials and individual costs of presenter. There will be a mini draw during the course to raise funds for STG

There will be a maximum of 16 attendees on the course which will be a closed group. Asda West Swindon are sponsoring the event with tea, coffee, biscuits on arrival and in the afternoon with a buffet lunch with refreshments around midday


Course Tutor

Swindon Trauma Group would like to welcome Doctor Richard Castle as course tutor. Richard is an independent Mental Health and trauma Rehabilitation Consultant and Clinical Psychologist.

He is hoping to have Dawn Collins as a co-deliver who is also a Mental Health First Aid England instructor.

Richard is a survivor of the Paddington Rail Crash in West London on the 5th October 1999.  Following treatment for severe burns Richard undertook a part time research project at Cranfield University studying the psychological aspects of burns trauma.

Leaving the RAF in 2012 as a Group Captain, Richard is now a freelance Consultant in trauma and burns rehabilitation. He is also a Lead Facilitator for service provision of acid burns in Bangladesh.

Click here to read Richard's biography.

Then and Now...

A member of the Armed Services, a medic, is in a hostage situation in a foreign land in the 1980s. What the person witnesses is extreme bravery and competency from strangers protecting the person. The person is released from the hostage situation. Yet on the flight home he becomes so very he ill thinks he is going to die. He arrives back in Blighty and receives an excellent psychological and physical debrief. The result is no signs of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is amazing is that this happened nearly 30 years ago. Yet a couple of years later thousands of people return from a war where their stories are not believed with the resulting physical and psychological trauma.

As far back as March 1994 the Nursing Times did three excellent articles on PTSD with the emphasis for support for nursing staff post trauma and allowing people involved in a disaster permission to mourn and not be under pressure to get over it.

Also in 2005 two soldiers and a RAF medic successfully won their war pensions tribunal to recognise Gulf War Syndrome with the excellent support of Maria Rusling of the National Gulf Veterans and Family Association

On the 8 May 2007 The New Scientist magazine stated the Government of the time should acknowledge that 6,000 British veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War were physically disabled due to their wartime service. This was based on independent research carried out in the UK by a committee headed by Lord Lloyd of Manchester - plus research carried out by the Advisory Committee of the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Symptoms of Post Trauma Stress (PTS) can develop when a person is subjected to an event considered outside the realms of human experience. If the symptoms persist for longer than four weeks the person may well develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Swindon Trauma Group exists to provide help, advice, guidance and mutual support to those suffering from these conditions along with their friends, family and colleagues. STG has been running for a number of years with a lot of support locally.


Treatment and Support, the Myth or Reality

The aim of the workshop is to review how the Invisible Injuries are assessed and treated-before and during The 1st Gulf War and now

Venue: Lydiard Park Conference Centre

Date: Friday 13 November 2015

Time: 1245-1730.


'Give us the tools and we will do the job'

Winston Churchill

1245-1315:  Meet and greet Registration -Why not a cuppa?

1315-1340:  Introductions /Administration - Richard Hilling ARRC

The role of the Armed Forces Psychiatric Teams before, during and after the 1st Gulf War and also a look at a video from the University of Melbourne Australia entitled “A new way at Looking at Trauma”

1340-1400: Sounder Sleep for Veterans - Justin Havens

A new approach for stopping nightmares by Justin Havens, Trauma -EMDR- Therapist- currently researching a PhD at the Veterans and Families’ Institute, Anglia Ruskin University

1400-1500: “A Short Journey into Trauma” - Frank Parkinson

Understanding trauma and treatment by Frank Parkinson BA DipTh., Psychological Debriefer, university lecturer and trainer in counselling and traumatic-stress

1500-1600:  Break - afternoon tea or coffee with scones, cream and jam and visit to the “famed walled garden” and the Poppy Field of Remembrance                                                                                                

1600: 1620: An introduction to Transactional Analysis - Maxim O’Brien.

Maxim is Carers Groups and Breaks Co-ordinator at Swindon Carers

1620:1645: Discussion -The Way Forward

What about today? What have we learnt from the past? What facilities are available now for those suffering from Post Trauma Stress?

1645-1700: Mini Draw of two copies of Sister Edith Appleton’s 1st World War Diary turned into a bestselling book

1700-1730:  Endings / Available Resources

Anyone wishing to stay can order chicken goujons or fish and chips which will be available from 1800 hrs in the lounge bar. Cost £8-50 per person. Please place your order before midday on Thursday 12 November 2015 by emailing info@SwindonTraumaGroup.org.uk

“I wish all delegates a safe journey home”.

Cost of the workshop will be £12-50 including in the price afternoon break of tea or coffee with scones, jam and cream and entry to the Famed Walled Garden and free parking. Any profit will go to Swindon Trauma Group.

Click here for the booking form

As well as Professor Gordon Turnbull’s book, ‘Trauma’, on PTS and PTSD, and other relevant books, including Frank Parkinson’s book, ‘A Short Journey into Trauma’, available as an eBook on Amazon Kindle, please click here for details

Swindon Trauma Group 6th Annual Conference

Theme: ‘Has treatment and support for the “Invisible Injuries” changed since the early Twentieth Century?

Date and Time: Friday 2 October 2015 - 0915 to 1630

Venue: Uffington Suite, Swindon Marriott Hotel

Dress: Smart Casual

Cost: Free (due to Sponsorship) but bring at least a fiver for the draw!

Click here for Booking form / Invoice

(subject to change)

Title: How do we deal with Post Trauma Stress in the Armed Forces and “civvy” street?

Is there Treatment and Support?

Thought for the Day

‘The only way is forward - we will win’

Edith New

(Quote from new film ‘Suffragette’ starring Helen Bonham Carter as Edith New)

0915:0950 Meet and Greet. Why not a cuppa? Tea, coffee and biscuits

0950:1000 Introductions for the day and administration. Richard Hilling ARRC Chairman Swindon Trauma Group

1000:1010 Welcome to today’s conference to the speakers, delegates and a brief of charities represented. Doctor Simon Manchip Consultant Psychiatrist in Old Age Clinical Director Swindon

1010:1055 Acid Attacks and the Mental Health Rehabilitation Challenge in Bangladesh - Dr Richard Castle Psychologist, Paddington Rail Disaster Survivor, Lead Governor 2together NHS Foundation Trust and UK Advisor for the Innovation for Wellbeing Foundation, Bangladesh.  Click here to read Richard's biography.

1055:1125 The Hidden Story Sheila Beer Physiotherapist - living locally who has specialized in Craniosacral and Trauma work for past twenty years

1125:1140 Break

1140:1200 Equine-Assisted Therapy, TheHorseCourse Approved Facilitator - Jackie Evans

1200:1230 Providing improved support for Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide - the new Police Protocol developed in Gloucester. Trish Thomas, Chairman Gloucester Group of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

1230:1330 Chef’s choice of Sandwich Lunch (includes crisps, cakes and fresh fruit juices)

1330:1345 Introductions to the afternoon. Doctor Simon Manchip

1345:1400 Mini Draw - Prizes include: Sunday Lunch for 4 at the Source Grill Swindon Marriott Hotel, a CD from Isla, plus books by local authors Frank Parkinson and Professor Gordon Turnbull and David Kinchin from Witney and the diary of Sister Edith Appleton OBE RRC (1st World War Nurse)

1400:1430 Engaging and Involvement of Survivors of Trauma. Ivor Bermingham - Involvement Coordinator Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Foundation Trust

1430:1500 Mental Health First Aid - Dawn Lewis, Member of the Council of Governors for the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust and supporter of Herefordshire Veterans Support Group

1500:1530 Break: “doughnut therapy” with tea and coffee

1530:1550 Review of day introduced by Veteran of the Rhodesia Bush War Vet: Rank Sapper Rob Fenton, Deputy Chairman of Swindon Trauma Group.

1550:1630 Brief summary of the day and any questions?

Proceeds after expenses to STG and a donation to the Swindon Therapy Centre for Multiple Sclerosis.


The evening function commemorating the closure of Princess Alexandra’s RAF (Hospital) Wroughton in 1995 will be £25 (reduced from £50 due to sponsorship). Click here for Booking form / Invoice

By popular demand Isla St Clair has been booked for the 2nd October evening function. This commences at 1930 and includes a three course meal with tea and coffee and after dinner mints.  See below for details.


Isla St Clair Concert Poster Isla St Clair Concert Poster

“Eyes Front” Show Starring Isla St Clair

Dress: Lounge Suits. Miniature medals may be worn


Click here to go to Isla's website

1900 for 1915 Meet and Greet in Uffington Suite Bar

1915-2045 Three Course Dinner with a cup of tea, or coffee and after dinner mints to follow

Click here for Menu

2045-2200 Isla

2200-2215 Short Break

2215-2315 Isla

2315-2400 Draw and Last Post

On behalf of the Swindon Trauma Group thank you Isla and Patrick for the opportunity to enjoy your concert again.

We wish all that gave their time free of charge and delegates a safe journey home; Swindon Marriott for their support; Swindon Borough Council and Royal Wootton Bassett Town Rotary Club for their help in sponsoring this important event, and also Waitrose Mill Lane Wichelstowe Swindon, Asda West Swindon and Swindon Community Church. Not forgetting the excellent support from Basepoint Swindon, Lydiard Park Conference Centre, Cineworld Shaw Ridge Leisure Park and the Link Magazine

Afternoon Workshop

Post Trauma Stress / Shellshock Treatment and Support - Myth or Reality?

Lydiard Park Conference Centre 
Friday 24 July 2015 

The aim of this workshop is to review how the Invisible Injuries are assessed and treated.

Thought for the Day.......

Give us the tools and we will do the job.

Winston Churchill

1245-1315: Meet and greet Registration-Why not a cuppa?

1315-1345: Introductions – Professor Gordon Turnbull and Richard Hilling ARRC
Post Trauma Stress (a history) and how treatments have developed.

1345-1445 : : Group Discussion

1. Staff Support - What about Critical Incident Debriefing?
2. How to prevent PTS/PTSD in ourselves. What is the difference between hyper vigilance &  paranoia?
3. What about the future?
4. Review of treatments

1445-1530: Break with afternoon tea with tea or coffee with scones, cream and jam with a visit to the “famed walled garden”

1530- 1600: Reconvene into your group - summary from the group leaders.

1600-1645 Group Discussions

A. The Way Forward. What about today and what have we learnt from the past? What facilities are available now for Trauma Stress? The consequences now

B. Setting up what? - Champions not just for Veterans but civilian survivors of trauma too, attached to each NHS Trust. National PTS/ PTSD Unit for veterans and civilians

C. What about carers, children and pets? Support for them following trauma

D. The private sector, voluntary sector, charities, the Armed Forces and the NHS. Can they all work together?

1645-1715: Reconvene into your group-summary from group leaders

1715-1730: Endings / Resources available

May I wish all delegates a safe journey home.  STG members thank Gordon for giving his free time today.

Cost of Workshop will be £12-50 per person, including afternoon tea or coffee with scones jam and cream and visit to garden - please complete booking form - click here to download. Any profit will go to Swindon Trauma Group. Free parking.

As well as Professor Gordon’s Turnbull’s book on PTS/PTSD  please click here for details of other books dealing with the consequences of trauma including Frank Parkinson’s book on Amazon Kindle.

Workshop: Gulf War Syndrome

Lydiard Park Conference Centre 
Friday 5 June 2015 

Thought for the Day.......

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.......

Winston Churchill

1245-1315 Meet and Greet. Why not a cuppa?

1315-1345 Introduction by Richard Hilling ARRC one of three service personnel that won a war pensions tribunal in 2005 to recognise Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). Precursors leading to GWS during 1990 to 1991 - historical perspectives of 1st Gulf War

1345-1415 Are the various agencies tackling this immense problem?

1415-1445 PTS/PTSD - Mental Illness v GWS

1445-1530 Break with tea or coffee with scones, cream and jam. Opportunity to visit the “famed walled garden”

1530-1630 Group discussion - the way forward

1630-1700 Endings.......review of the day

May I wish Delegates a safe journey home.

Cost of Workshop will be £12-50 per person, including afternoon tea and visit to garden - Any profit will go to Swindon Trauma Group. Free parking.

Excellent feedback from Workshop:

The comments from the workshop have been very encouraging as follows:


·Very enlightening

·United you go divided we fall.

·What about funding into treatment of GWS?

·Hold the Government to account!

·Very useful

·Thoroughly enjoyed today; how do we go forward?

·Nobody in civvy street knows about GWS

·Need for complimentary therapies

·Very nice lovely venue

·Delicious afternoon tea as always

·Link up with like minded groups

·The War Forward - GWS/GWI to be de-stigmatised and not seen as a mental Illness

As presenter for the day I enjoyed doing the workshop on a lovely sunny day. Support from the staff at Lydiard Park Conference Centre was excellent as usual. We covered the historical aspects of the causation of GWS from the possible attacks from Sarin gas at the holding camps of Blackadder and Baldrick lines at Al Jubail in Saudi Arabia to the affects of multiple injections with the likes of Bubonic Plaque to fit and well people taking NAPS tablets (pyridostigmine bromide).

The successful War Pensions Tribunal of 2005 was highlighted into the recognition of GWS and the consequences since.

We watched a film from USA on how thousands of their troops suffer the physical and psychological effects of GWS. For sufferers in the United Kingdom we discussed that GPs were more aware of problem and that professionals like nurses carry out a proper care plan including Assessment including taking bloods etc.

Planning including contact with other agencies including the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association please see www.ngvfa.org.uk

Implementation of care including the complimentary therapies

Evaluation of patient care- has the nursing for example worked. If not why hasn’t it worked?

Before afternoon tea members of STG were delighted to receive a cheque from Swindon Community Church of £250-00. Thank you

The afternoon ended with members attending looking forward to the PTS/PTSD workshop on Friday 24 July 2015 at the same venue



Swindon Trauma Group 5th Annual Conference

Theme: The 100th Anniversary of the 1st World War

and the D Day Landings on 6 June 1944 

Beyond the Mud, Filth and Trauma of the First World War

Shellshock to Post Trauma Stress: Treatment and Support?

Venue: Uffington Suite, Swindon Marriott Hotel

Thought for the Day

'I should have liked to keep them here and treat them. Would have been very interesting'

Sister Edith Appleton OBE RRC (First World War Nurse) referring to traumatised soldiers

0915-0950 - Meet and greet. Why not a cuppa? Tea, coffee and biscuits.

0950-1000 - Introduction and administration - Richard Hilling ARRC (Chairman, Swindon Trauma Group).

1000-1010 - Welcome – a brief on charities represented - Dr Sammad Hashmi (Consultant Psychiatrist, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Trust).

1010-1030 - Opposition perspective on PTSD - Anne Snelgrove (Labour candidate for South Swindon, Election 2015).

1030-1115 - Loss and Discovery – support yourself through major changes - Jane Cordell (with a lipspeaker and note-taker). Deaf since her early twenties Jane, with her company Getting Equal, promotes coaching communication equality.

1115-1130 – Break. Elevenses!

1130-1150 - Leading the Way - Sue Mead and Milly. Totally blind since her late teens, Sue is secretary of the Swindon Guide Dog fundraising Group. She also helps to maintain the STG website.

1150-1210 - Not Just a Veteran’s Trauma - Maria Rusling (National Gulf Veterans & Families Association).

1210-1230 - Working with Trauma – or How Trauma Manifests in the Body - Sheila Beer (Physiotherapist - has specialized in Craniosacral and trauma work for past twenty years).

1230-1330 - Chef's choice of Sandwich Lunch (includes crisps, cakes and fresh fruit juices)

1330-1340 - Afternoon introductions.

1340-1400 - Asda in the Community - Jan Kilby (Community Life Champion, Asda West Swindon).

1400-1420 - Engaging and involvement of service users and carers in the Development of Services - Ivor Bermingham (Involvement Coordinator, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Trust).

1420-1500 - Where Are We Now? Military psychiatry in 2014 - Group Captain (retired) Geoff Reid (Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Community Mental Health, Donnington).

1500-1530 – Break. “Doughnut therapy” with tea or coffee.

1530-1615 - PTSD, Friend or Foe - Professor Gordon Turnbull (Consultant Psychiatrist- Team leader Post trauma support 1st Gulf War POW’s and Beirut Hostages-BMI Ridgeway Hospital Wroughton Swindon/Visiting Professor Chester University).

1615-1635 - Parity of Self Esteem between Mental Health and Physical Health in the NHS - Robert Buckland (MP for South Swindon).

1635-1700 - Summary of the Day - Dr Sammad Hashmi.

1700-1730 - Endings and wash-up.

On behalf of the Swindon Trauma Group we wish everyone a safe journey home and also thank the speakers for giving their time free of charge; Swindon Marriott for their support for Locality West Swindon Borough Council, Royal Wootton Bassett Town Rotary Club and Basepoint Business Centre Swindon for their help in sponsoring this important event.

5th Annual Conference Great Success

Our conference at Swindon Marriott Hotel on 6 June 2014 was enjoyed by all participants:

'Friday was a really interesting enjoyable day. I enjoyed the presentations'

'The day itself I really enjoyed and liked Shelia’s presentation as it was a different tack on PTSD'

'I really enjoyed my first STG Conference, hopefully the first of many. Interesting speakers'

'So much still needs to be done particularly for civilian survivors of trauma'

'It was one of the best and well organised Conferences and brought the need for PTSD services to the forefront'

'To everyone involved in this Conference I think you surpassed yourselves. So much to learn - so heart rendering - so inspiring and informative with some great speakers'

Overview by Dick Hilling Chairman STG

'I thoroughly enjoyed the Conference and would agree that members of STG surpassed themselves in helping organising the Conference from its inception last year.

I found the Conference moving and worthwhile. Thank you to the speakers who gave their time and effort free of charge with some speakers travelling from Hull, Manchester and Cheltenham. The same goes to the delegates travelling as far afield as Peterborough, Isle of Wight and Salisbury.

A particular thanks to Doctor Hammid Hashmi Consultant Psychiatrist for his support and mentorship during the day

Sponsorship - without the support of Borough of Swindon West Locality the Conference would not have gone ahead. The same goes for the support of the Swindon Marriot Hotel; the professionalism on the day as well as their generosity was great particularly sponsoring our second draw of the year (although this one more mini) with the prize being Sunday lunch for four. Generous support also came from Swindon Basepoint, Royal Wootton Bassett Town Rotary Club, and two kind members of the Swindon Community.

Swindon 105.5 and BBC Wiltshire Radio covered the day and STG thank them and all sponsors for their support'

Lisa Kennet carried out several interviews at the conference for Swindon 105.5 FM. These were broadcsat on Lisa's show 'Feeling Good'.

The station has kindly given permission for the interviews to be available on this website. Note that it may take a few seconds before the audio starts playing:

Interview 1

Introduction by Dick Hilling

Interview 2

Dr Sammad Hashmi - Conference Chairman

Mick Porter - Former Mental Health RAF Social Worker

Rob Fenton - STG Vice Chairman

Interview 3

Jane Cordell

Roy Selstrom

Interview 4

Professor Gordon Turnbull

Interview 5

Sheila Beer

Summary from Dick Hilling

Listen to 105.5 live online at: www.swindon1055.com/player/



Archive of previous events and activities

Wednesday 3 September 2014 - Swindon Trauma AGM

Venue Asda Community Training Room Timings 1930 to 2100 hrs.  Thank you Asda West Swindon for free tea and coffee

Friday 5 September 2014 - Meet and Greet

 ...with tea, coffee, scones with jam and cream. Cost £3-50 Venue Lydiard Park Conference Centre. The afternoon was very enjoyable and STG members met one of the speakers for the workshop in October - scones are the best in town.


24 February 2014 -  Meet and greet at John Lewis

This event went well. Six members attended and enjoyed lunch or snacks with tea or coffee. Two members put in a bid to John Lewis for funding.


10 January 2014 - Educational Charity Hub

This took place at Asda West Swindon Shopping Centre. Charities and organisations represented included Swindon Trauma Group, Swindon Guide Dogs, Swindon Carers and Lift Psychology. Although a big chill factor from the centre existed for a few hours an enjoyable and worthwhile day was had by all. Thank you to Jan Kilby Asda Community Champion and Centre Managament for allowing the “hub” to become a regular three month event.


CBT / Stress Management Course Feedback

Lydiard Park Conference Centre 9-12 July 2013

The feedback from the attendees was very positive. Here are some of their comments:

• The venue was very quiet - this allowed the group to talk and practice
• Excellent customer service from Lydiard Park Conference Centre staff
• The whole group gelled together very quickly in a safe environment
• Brilliant and unique course, the very best - please repeat
• Tutor very kind and helpful
• A good fresher course and very enlightening - thank you
• Very good thought-provoking course
• Very useful course but don’t forget time restraints!
• The course met my needs and has given me the tools to work on. Thank you so very much for this course
• Course would be a great opportunity for the NHS
• The whole course has been a very helpful stepping stone for me
• This is the most supportive group I have come across. Topics covered very relevant and helpful
• Overall the best course I have been on


Poet Raises Money for STG

Keith Hilling published a collection of his amazing poems.

£5 from the sale of each book went to Swindon Trauma Group.

The money raised from the sale of the book totalled £85.

Many thanks to Keith.

See Recommended Reading


2nd RAF Psychiatry Reunion - 12th October 2013

A great time was had by all. The meal was superb as was the company.

Two excellent presentations were given:

RAF / Air Sea Rescue in Wales - Andrew Simmonds

'Me and my Guide Dog' - Sue Mead and Milly

Nine Swindon Guide Dog Calendars were sold, raising £45 for the charity.

Visits to the Walled Garden and Lydiard House then took place in the welcome sunshine.

STG in the news!

An article about the Swindon Trauma Group appeared in the Advertiser on 23rd October 2013, "Coping with the impact of trauma". It includes a picture of our chairman, three STG members and our ASDA liaison officer, Jan Kirby.

Click here to read the item and see the photo

19 March 2014 - 3rd Annual Draw

The draw, sponsored by Basepoint Swindon, took place at their premises in West Swindon. A welcome cup of tea or coffee with biscuits was available free for participants in the draw in the light and tasteful breakout area. STG raised £131.10 and would like to thank all people who participated in particular the local Swindon sponsors:

Basepoint West Swindon

Swindon Marriott Hotel

Cineworld Cinemas Shaw Ridge Leisure Park

Olga’s Hair Studio

Tesco Express Shaw Village Centre

Crunch Catering Havelock Street

Tuesday 9 July - Friday 12th July 2013

Lydiard Park Conference Centre

'Facing One's Fears' - A Course

This 4 day comprehensive course course will cover many aspects of trama and coping strategies. The course is for five to seven students - a closed group.
Presenter: Richard Hilling ARRC

For full details (including a booking form) please click here (PDF)

Swindon Trauma Group would like to thank ASDA West Swindon and Charteridge Conference Company for their support over the next three months.

Friday 12 April 2013

Chairman of STG attended Swindon Partnership Conference - Steam Museum in connection with being awarded £1500 grant from Swindon Borough Council - thank you to Gail Light (Locality Facilitator, West Swindon) for putting STG forward for the grant

Thursday 14 March 2013

Frank Parkinson the prominent local author on the “Invisible Injuries” Post Trauma Stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and loyal supporter of the STG was nominated for a Pride of Swindon Award. Members of Swindon Trauma Group are delighted that Frank received The Pride of Swindon Award 2013 Certificate


Friday 16 November 2012 - Lydiard Park Conference Centre

Baedekers Raids on Bath Survivors Reunion

The sponsored lunch by Lydiard Park Conference Centre was a great success. Our visitors from Bath had an enjoyable and moving day out. Thank you to the Mayor and Mayoress of Swindon Councillors Mick and Ruth Bray. Also to Roger Ogle of the Link Magazine for covering the event and not forgetting staff at Lydiard Park and help from SSAFA and Swindon Carers.

For further excellent coverage in the Link Magazine please click here

Monday 1 October 2012 to Friday 30 November 2012

STG was sponsored by Asda at their West Swindon Centre for two months in their Green Coupon Campaign. Delighted to announce STG won the £200-00 first prize. Thank you for Asda and Jan Kilby for their support. Cheque presented at a “meet and greet” event for STG, Swindon Carers and Veterans last December at Lydiard Park Conference Centre, as people enjoyed their mince pies.

RAF Psychiatry Reunion-Saturday 29 September 2012

Lydiard House Conference Centre - Lydiard Tregoze, Swindon, Wiltshire

This took place on Saturday 29 September 2012. It was a great success, the food was delicious, the company convivial and the veterans enjoyed a game of Whiff Waff! Veterans and partners were treated to a free walk around the famous walled garden.

Meeting to discuss agenda to be put forward to the Leaders of the Labour Party

1100 to 1400 hrs 29 June 2012 - Basepoint Business Centre

In early June Steve Wakefield (ex Mayor of Swindon), who has been a valued supporter and member of our group, was approached by Siobhan Feasey (Trainee Organiser, Labour South West) for a senior Cabinet Minister to visit Swindon during Armed Forces Week to “meet and greet” members of the Swindon Trauma Group and Veterans.

Sadly this didn’t take place, but Siobhan has stated that a Senior Minister will visit Swindon later in the year. Steve Wakefield attended the meeting and those present discussed the following topics:

  • PTS and PTSD: support or lack of support for the condition - needs much investment.
  • Gulf War Syndrome (GWS): The initiative taken by the USA to investigate the causes of the condition and support for veterans country wide.
  • Other mental health issues which very much focused on trauma where members felt that trauma is the basis of many psychological and physical problems. People didn’t always understand about trauma and how do people deal with family, friends and colleagues going through trauma? Members discussed the history of trauma going as far back as Battle of Rorkes Drift 22-23 January 1879 Change model of care - speak to those in power.
  • Some members present felt that Labour was the friend of the forces. Can Jim Murphy come to Swindon?
  • Is PTS/PTSD the Invisible Injury? Can they be in your face!? Members felt there was a need to mobilize a political force when dealing with the consequences of trauma.
  • What about support from the Private Sector and the experience of the Armed Forces? Also tap into the experience and knowledge of eminent authors on PTS/ PTSD who live in Longcot Faringdon, Oxford, Broad Town Swindon and Witney
  • Complimentary treatments were discussed concerning value with physiotherapy scoring high with pain associated with trauma. Finally discussion focused on charities, NHS, private sector and the Government working together.

Feedback: Conference and Workshop: Our Duty to Others

Wednesday 13 June 2012

The feedback from the workshop Our Duty to Others a review has been excellent. To quote what some of the delegates had to say......

Today was very helpful and informative-thank you.

Very interesting, not enough time to cover everything; good excuse to attend another conference!

Kind and professional.

I found Gordon’s Turnbull’s presentation particularly interesting and useful-the whole day worthwhile.

Although feedback has been so good some delegates have asked for timings to be stricter which the STG will try to abide with at our next Workshop / Conference.

Thank you Chartridge Conference Company Ltd for your excellent support particularly Sophie Mayes and the staff at Lydiard Park Conference Centre. The service and food are superb in a historic and beautiful setting. Also thank you from the STG to Professor Gordon Turnbull, Peter Mead of Wingletang Computing and Nigel Ashley of BMA (Insurance Services) for giving your free time and also making the day so successful.

Conference and Workshop: Our Duty to Others

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Venue:-Tregoze Room, Lydiard House Conference Centre, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Wiltshire


Venue:- Tregoze Room, Lydiard House Conference Centre, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Wiltshire

Thought for the Day

“Lo importantees no olvidar,” “The important thing is not to forget.”

Mayor Gorrono

0915-0950: Welcome: why not a cuppa?

0950-1000: Administration / Housekeeping. Welcome to the Mayor and Mayoress of Swindon Councillor Mick Bray and his wife Ruth

1000-1015: Introduction to the day. The Mayor of Swindon

1015-1030: Brief on what PTS / PTSD is, not Forgetting GWS

1030-1100 Better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad - Christina Rossetti Forgotten heroes –Guernica 1936, Calais1940, Cowes and Bath 1942, and Lima 1986. Resilience and Trauma Dick Hilling

1100 -1130: Morning tea or coffee with homemade biscuits

1130-1230: Shining a Light into the Black Hole of Trauma - Professor Gordon Turnbull

1230-1330: Two Course Buffet Lunch

1330-1410: “The Gulf Between”- poem by Keith Hilling MA., BA - BA-Baedeker Raids paintings by Davey-R (both local artists) followed by presentation by on Critical Incident Debriefing v Counselling v Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

1410-1430: The Importance of Insurance Nigel Ashley BMA (Insurance Services) Ltd

1430-1500: Walk and talk - a chance to see the Walled Garden or the historic house.

1500-1530: What about the Swindon Trauma Group?

1530-1600: Afternoon tea with homemade cakes - hopefully “Doughnut Therapy”

1600-1630: Endings – the future?

Cost £50.00 (inclusive of refreshments and buffet), plus visits also to the walled garden and the historic house. Money raised after expenses will be donated to STG and the Thanet Phobic Group

On behalf of The Swindon Trauma Group a safe journey home to everyone

Recommended Books to Read

·Hilling K R-J (2012) An Elephant Remembers Sticky Mud. Lulu

·Kennerley H (2001) Overcoming Anxiety - A Self Help Guide using CBT Techniques. Robinson

·Turnbull G (2011) Trauma from Lockerbie to 7/7: How Trauma affects our minds, and how we fight back. Transworld Books

For further recommended books and pamphlets please see Recommended Reading page.

The Thanet Phobic Group is celebrating its’ 40th Anniversary this year. Dick Hilling Chairman of the STG first came in contact with Sylvia Hadley the Chairman of the group way back in 1992. Sylvia was part of a comprehensive Flying Phobia Programme that successfully got people flying following significant traumatic events concerning people flying. This programme was implemented by the RAF Psychiatric Services at the Behaviour Therapy Unit at Princess Alexandra’s RAF (Hospital) Wroughton between 1991 and 1995.What I remember about Sylvia is her encouragement, empathy and humour in helping people to “face their fears” before embarking on their Fear of Flying Programme at Wroughton Hospital.



Swindon Trauma Group Presents

Our Duty to Others

Tregoze Room, Lydiard House Conference Centre, Lydiard Park, Swindon, Wiltshire

Thought for the Day: Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises - Demosthenes

0930-1000: Welcome - why not a cuppa?

1000-1030: Brief on what PTS / PTSD is, not forgetting GWS

1030-1130: One to ones: Walk & talk in The Walled Garden, relax in the lounge, watch TV, or read the newspapers

1130-1200: Morning coffee with biscuits

1200-1300: Critical Incident Debriefing v Counselling v Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

1300-1400: Two Course Buffet Lunch

1400-1500: The Way Forward - presentations by Peter Mead, and two representatives from Swindon LinK

1500-1530: What about the Swindon Trauma Group?

1530-1600: Afternoon tea with homemade cakes

1600-1630: Endings – the future?

Swindon Trauma Group wishes everyone a safe journey home.

Recommended book:

'Overcoming Anxiety' - A Self Help Guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techiques

Author: Helen Kennerley

Published by Robinson


Friday 5 August 2011

Coping with Post Trauma Stress .... Understanding and Dealing with Trauma

Conference - Swindon Marriott Hotel

Timings 0915 to 1700 – Dress casual, but smart

Programme (subject to change)

Thought for the Day

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mahatma Gandi

0915 - 0955 Meet and greet, why not a cuppa? Tea, coffee and biscuits

0955 - 1000 Richard Hilling ARRC Chairman Swindon Trauma Group

1000 - 1010 Councillor Ray Ballman Mayor of Swindon - Welcome to delegates

1010 - 1030 Councillor Steve Wakefield - ex Mayor of Swindon, Labour Councillor Toothill and Westlea: 'A history of PARAF (Hospital) Wroughton'

1030-1050 Frank Parkinson BA DipTh Lecturer, trainer on trauma and counselling. Post Trauma Effect

1050 - 1120 Trish Thomas MA FRSA - Chairman of the Gloucester Group - Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide 'Dealing with the trauma of suicide bereavement', will discuss a range of coping strategies, in particular the merits of SBM

1120 - 1135 Break

1135 - 1205 One day’s Service. A life time of support-Presentations by Sarah Prestwich, Sara Bottomley and Chris Leggett on Forcesline, and the local work of SSAFA

1205 - 1245 Tracey Compson - Armed Forces Lead Project Lead NHS Swindon 'Military Veterans and Health, the Way Forward'

1245 - 1345 Chef's choice of sandwich lunch with crisps, fruit cakes and fresh orange juice, apple juice and grapefruit juice

1345 - 1355 Richard Hilling Introductions for the afternoon

1355 - 1425 Maria Rusling - General Manager National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) ‘The other side’

1425 - 1510 Frank Parkinson - A short journey into trauma

1510 - 1530 Break - afternoon tea, coffee and biscuits

1530 - 1615 Squadron Leader Darren Redgewick OC Stress Management Training Centre (SMTC) - Defence Academy Military Mental Health Strategy through life approach to Stress Management, and the role of the SMTC. Major Mark Kingston Updated focus on Trauma Risk Management (TRiM), and its use across the military

1615 -1645 Keith Hilling MA BA, a graduate of Lancaster University’s Creative Writing programme will read a poem - 'The Gulf Between', followed by Debbie Bignell Parent Carer and Young Carer Team Manager Swindon Carers – Young carers and mental health

1645 - 1700 Endings, but not forgetting arrangements for tonight’s Cabaret starring Isla St Clair

Click here for further conference notes including Speaker Information


Isla St Clair Concert Poster Isla St Clair Concert Poster

We'll Meet Again - Eyes Front Concert


Click here to go to Isla's website

Evening Cabaret to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the opening of Princess Alexandra’s RAF (Hospital) Wroughton, July/August 1941


We’ll Meet Again - Eyes Front Concert

starring Isla St Clair

Dress - Lounge Suits. Miniature medals may be worn

Reveille - Matthew Walton - Cornet player Wootton Bassett / Brunel Brass Bands

1930 for 2000 Pre-Dinner Speech - the Mayor

2015 - 2130 Three course dinner

2130 - 2215 Eyes Front Concert- Isla St Clair

2215 - 2245 Break

2245 - 2330 Isla

2330 - 2400 Last Post...Matthew Walton

COST - PTS Conference £50 per delegate - Cabaret £50 per attendee

Attendance at both functions (discount) £90.

Any businesses wanting to hire a stand during the Conference: cost £75 per stand.

After expenses money raised will go to-National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA), Soldiers Sailors and Airforce Association(SSAFA), St.Dunstan’s and Swindon Young Carers.

Conference / Evening Cabaret Swindon Marriott Hotel

Friday 5 August 2011


Monies raised after costs will be donated to the following Charities- National Gulf Veterans and Families Association , Soldiers Sailors and Airforce Association, St. Dunstan’s and Swindon Young Carers.

Princess Alexandra’s RAF (Hospital) Wroughton was situated north of Barbury Castle the scene in Saxon times of the battle at Beran Byrg, where the hospital stood till it’s Closing Down Ceremony in December 1995 and gates closed in March 1996.The hospital was near the town of Swindon, a town totally industrialised by the arrival of the Great Western Railway. When the last steam train The Evening Star left the GWR Railworks in 1960-Swindon continued to expand with the RAF hospital assisting in supporting the health needs of the local population as well as service personal and their families.

Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) are describe as “the invisible injuries”, which can determine treatment and support both for the survivors of trauma and their carers be it families friends or colleagues at work. The Conference will hopefully address the many issues associated with PTS and PTSD, including the historical aspects, critical incident debriefing and diagnosis.

The Conference - it is for anyone and all who are interested in the subject of trauma, whereas the evening cabaret will give public the opportunity to come to the Swindon Marriott to celebrate the 55 years a RAF hospital stood with pride adjacent to the picturesque village of Wroughton near Swindon Wiltshire.

OF NOTE when booking into the hotel the reference number for booking into the hotel on the Thursday is S2510 and on the Friday is S250 see details concerning the hotel’s booking arrangements. For the 4th August 2011 cost double room £85-00 BB, single the same, for the Friday single £58 BB, double £65 per room BB - Central Reservations (0800)221 222

This will be the third time that Isla St Clair - has appeared at the Swindon Marriott Hotel and this year’s concert should be both moving and entertaining as Isla’s concert depicts the significance of music and song in wartime. The conference and entertainment will take place in the Uffington Suite of the hotel where guests can expect to enjoy, food, beverages and hospitality of a hotel of AA rosette standard. The hotel is situated in the old part of the town which has some picturesque streets and alleys. If visitors have time a visit to the museum is recommended where there is a “Lowry”. The Old Town gardens will be particularly pleasant in August. Finally back to the hospital a visit to the Memorial Site is suggested, although has caused some controversy .Don’t forget Barbury Castle and the stunning views if you are visiting Alexandra Park.

Our group would like to thank all those who are giving their time free of charge. Also the previous help of Trish and Dave Reeves Chairman of NRAH- see www.nrah.co.uk who have now settled in the Isle of Wight and hopefully enjoying all that the island can offer.

Finally the Swindon Trauma Group would also like to thank the support of the following organisations for helping to make the event possible to take place and help raise money for the four charities:

·The Swindon Marriott Hotel

·The Swindon and Wiltshire Foundation Trust

·Chartridge Conference Company

Speaker Information

Maria Rusling

I have been working as the General Manager of the National Gulf Veterans & Families Association since 1999. I was married to a Gulf War Veteran from the first gulf conflict 1990-91. My work with the Charity is mainly dealing with the welfare side and tribunals, so looking after and advising ill veterans and their families.

My talk is around more to do with the “living with a Gulf War Veteran who has Gulf War Syndrome and PTSD” and the affects this has and the changes that need to be made to help not only them but the family.

The National Gulf Veterans & Families Association Charity’s Aims & Objectives:
The Charity's mission is to enhance and improve the quality of the day to day lives of all Gulf War veterans and their families who served in the Gulf Conflicts through support, information, advocacy and counselling.

To provide a safe haven for veterans and their families to be able to talk about the impact their service has had on their lives.

To educate and provide information for the public and health care professionals to assist and improve the support and health care provided for the veterans and their families.

Our Charity Services

• Welfare and advocacy
• Tribunal representation
• A 24 hour free phone helpline
• Fact sheets and guides
• The Oasis Times - A quarterly newsletter
• Website - with a members only area
• Members' online discussion forum with a private members section.
• A Facebook group
• Respite break - A yearly five day respite break for veterans and their families
• Welcome pack for new members
• Counselling
• Legal helpline - a one off free enquiry and advice on legal issues
• The NGVFA attends and organises a number of information and open day events around the country every year. Our aim is to visit each region of the country at least once a year.
• VIPA – (Veteran’s Information and Personal Archive) is a bespoke database collating unique information and statistical data regarding veterans from desert conflicts.

Frank Parkinson

Frank Parkinson, a C of E Clergyman since 1962, previously served in the RAF as a National Serviceman and served 6 years in parish life before joining the army in 1967 as a chaplain. During this time he trained as a counsellor with Relate and became aware of psychological and family problems with service personnel and families during the troubles in Northern Ireland and after the Falklands' War and First Gulf War.

He pressed, unsuccessfully, for the psychological preparation of service personnel for the First Gulf War and for monitoring and help, where necessary, on their return. He was responsible for leading and training a team to Debrief the 85 British military families held hostage in Iraq before the First Gulf War broke out and conducted the psychological preparation and debriefing of the army War Graves' Registration Team.

He was involved in helping personnel following the Manchester Prison Riots, the East Midland's air-crash, the Baltic Exchange bombing and in Kenya, for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, after the bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi.

On retiring from the army from a senior appointment in 1992 he worked as a consultant and trainer on counselling and trauma and has worked with the Emergency Services, Social and Educational Psychology departments in many counties and with over 100 organisations. He was involved with individuals and groups following industrial accidents, armed robberies, fatal traffic accidents, fatal shootings, muggings, rape, bomb disposal work, murder, combat and other such traumatic events.

He lectured at Birmingham, Oxford Brookes, Gloucester and Cranfield Universities and especially at Bristol University for 25 years on courses for military personnel on general Welfare, PTS and PTSD and Bereavement and in teaching Psychological Debriefing to professionals. He was a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield University for 8 years and is the author of four books on counselling and trauma.

Retired, he now lives in Oxfordshire.

Patricia (Trish) Thomas

Trish Thomas was born in Saint Andrews, Fife, Scotland. Maiden name - Duncan - clan motto 'Disce Pati' - Learn to Suffer - has proved prophetic! Extensive education MA Hons in medieval history and a Fellow Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Has worked in education including special needs support and engaged in extensive voluntary work.

Husband Andrew died by suicide in1994 - no bereavement support. First made contact with Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) in 1996 - then only a very small organisation and has seen the charity grow. Attended various SOBS workshops / conferences and in 1999 set up the Gloucester local branch of the charity, which continues to this day.

Trish has been a carer for many years. Married Andrew in 1974, whose mental health problems – starting in 1977, caused six disappearances which included suicide attempts and sadly culminated in his death in 1997. The consequences of these very traumatic events have been prolonged, not just affecting Trish’s health but also that of one of her two sons and particularly her daughter.

Trish uses Cognitive techniques including Thought Distraction to help her to relax. This includes - a good read, visiting historical and archaeological sites, museums and antiques fairs. Also loves her garden, of which Andrew would be proud and amazed.

Chris Leggett

'The work of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Families Association - Forces Help (SSAFA), including dealing with psychological problems'.

SSAFA is the national charity helping and supporting those who serve in our Armed Forces and those who used to serve and families of both.

One day’s service in any of our Armed Forces is all that is needed to qualify for assistance of SSAFA. This includes those who serve in our Reserve Forces, as well as close relatives, widows and widowers. No two people have exactly the same experience whilst serving their country but they are all entitled to the support of SSAFA, if they face difficulties in civilian life.

Our trained caseworkers operate through a network of nearly 100 branches to support members of the ex-service community. They visit people in their homes to learn about and help with the problems they face. Anyone who approaches us is treated with dignity and respect. Each year we provide a reliable, caring and trusted service to more than 50,000 people.

Our volunteer caseworkers provide experienced non-judgemental and friendly advice. In addition we provide help to those with additional needs for equipment, home re-development and assistance in association with other charities and benevolent funds. Finally, where necessary, we provide emotional support for the lonely, ill or bereaved.

The Swindon Division is part of the Wiltshire Branch and deals with cases within most of the SN postcode area. We are all volunteer caseworkers from many different walks of life and many different ages and experience levels. It’s true to say that most the cases within a division deal with the ex-service community (local military establishments have their own in-service community). In turn most of our cases involve financial problems with a sprinkling of housing and mental health problems.

Finally we use funds donated to offer instant small-scale grants to clients where needed and to cover the costs of running the division and essential expenses for our caseworkers.


Forcesline is a free and 100% confidential helpline that is completely independent of the military chain of command. The experienced team provides a supportive, listening and signposting service for serving personnel and their families as well as former members of the Armed Forces. The free telephone support line is available 365 days a year and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. The line is open from 10.30am - 10.30pm (UK time). In addition Forcesline offers a confidential email and postal service. Additional information, including telephone numbers can be found at www.forcesline.org.uk

Swindon Young Carers

Swindon Young Carers supports children and young people up to the age of 18, who are responsible for looking after a member of their family who may have physical or learning difficulties, long term illness, mental health problems, or misuse of drugs, or alcohol.

Swindon Young Carers can offer individual support for young carers, and their families as well as a range of fun activities and regular groups to give them a break. We also work with schools and other services to raise awareness of this largely hidden group.




Review of the Year 2014

STG would like to thank Lyn Chapman and Basepoint West Swindon for sponsoring the rent of our virtual office and Gail Light and the councillors of Swindon Borough Council Locality West for their continued support. The Grassroots Grant of £1,000 certainly contributed to the success of the Conference. The Swindon Marriott Hotel was also very generous helping the group out with the mini draw, for example supplying our main top prize, a meal for four at the Marriott. 

We thank Royal Wootton Bassett Town Rotary Club for help in sponsoring on the conference. We also thank presenters who gave their free time.

Our other sponsors and supporters are Cineworld Cinemas Shaw Ridge Leisure Park, Tesco Express Shaw Village Centre and Crunch Catering Havelock Street Swindon - we thank you all.

I would like to thank members of the Swindon Trauma Group for their support, Wingletang for maintaining the STG website, BMA Commercial Insurance Consultants Swindon, local radio, Robert Buckland MP and Anne Snelgrove. The continued support of Jan Kilby of Asda West Swindon is much appreciated.

On the 2nd December we had our Annual Christmas Dinner at Lydiard Park Conference Centre which was delicious in a grand setting.

In 2015 we have our 6th Annual Conference at the Swindon Marriott Hotel with evening “do” starring Isla St Clair back by popular demand. The date for your diary is Friday 2 October 2015 and the objective of the day is to commemorate the closure of Princess Alexandra’s RAF (Hospital) Wroughton near Swindon in 1995. Any sponsors most welcome.

Members of STG would also like to thank the excellent Swindon Link Magazine who have covered stories of STG over many years.



'Thought for the Day' prompts message from Great Nephew

'I should have liked to keep them here and treat them. Would have been very interesting'

Sister Edith Appleton OBE RRC (First World War Nurse) referring to traumatised soldiers

STG recently received the following message from Edith's Great Nephew:

'I was surprised and pleased to see that you have quoted my great aunt Sister Edith Appleton on the flyer for your conference in June. How interesting that an echo from almost 100 years ago still has relevance today!

I knew Edie as a child in the late 1940s and 50s and set up a website – www.edithappleton.org.uk – in 2008 after I inherited the original journals in which she wrote her diaries. These were published in an edited form in 2012 and I guess that’s where you found the quote. You might be interested to see the original text from which that was taken; it’s on this page www.edithappleton.org.uk/Vol3/html/Vol3Text1.asp at 12 September.

In case it’s of relevance/interest, we are giving an illustrated presentation to the Ivor Gurney Society near Gloucester on Sat 3 May (see ivorgurney.org.uk/events.htm). I tell Edie’s story and my wife reads extracts from the diaries.

Best wishes for a successful conference in June.

Dick Robinson'


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