Forces C.A.R.P (Carp Adventures & Recovery Project)
Forces C.A.R.P is a carp angling project that is designed to introduce veterans from the UK Armed Forces to the sport of carp angling for them to use as a platform to assist them in their recovery from physical and mental injuries that they have received as a result of their service.
It is widely known that fishing is extremely theraputic and in turn lends itself to helping those that have suffered traumatic injuries and experiences, including helping those with PTSD and results from a research project carried out by the University of Essex has shown that angling has a very positive impact on those who suffer with PTSD sustained from military service.
Based in East Yorkshire, we travel up and down the country delivering programmes at various venues (lakes) with 3 levels of programmes for the individual to partake in, a basic programme for the novice, an intermediate programme for those who have undertaken a basic programme or have given the sport a go in the past and finally an advanced programme that individuals who have undertaken the basic and intermediate programmes can attend.
Not only do we introduce veterans to a new sport and offer progressive programmes so they can develop and continue the sport, but we also offer a mentoring service so that when they leave us they are given a point of contact who is local to where they live and will introduce them to their local carp angling community, again this is an important tool in recovery as many people on leaving service and suffering with mental and physical injuries and illnesses can become depressed and house bound, and with the mentoring service it enables the individual to meet new people and keep up their interest in the sport.
Currently we have 5 sets of equipment, however these are low end and make tuition difficult as the equipment often fails, this doesn't help us or the individual and we would love to be able to upgrade the equipment, in addition some of our participants have mobility issues and cannot cast a rod so we need to purchase bait boats (remote controlled model boats that take the line and bait out to the required spot in the lake) and we also need to purchase equipment that will enable us to transport the equipment from the car park to the lake, these are known as carp porters/barrows and are expensive costly.
The project is free to all veterans who have been medically discharged or who suffer with mental health illnesses such as PTSD but it costs to put these programmes on as lake fees, rod licenses, bait, terminal tackle, transport and food are all needed to be paid for for each programme and although we would like the project to be self funding we need the funds to assist us in upgrading the equipment, procurement of merchandise to sell via the website to help fund the cost of programme delivery and purchase specialist pieces of equipment to help the less able bodied angler.
So in short our £15,000 fund is required for:
- Promotional products such as clothing that will be sold to assist self fund the programmes, these will be sold via the website and at trade shows and laterley by retailers in the angling industry.
- To upgrade the current equipment so the participants get the maximum benefit from the programmes, in total we reuire 10 new rods and 10 new reels and 5 new bedchairs that are suitable for disabled anglers, plus other tackle items that will allow the users to enjoy their time with us and maximise the chances of them catching.
- The purchase of bait boats so participants with mobiity issues who cannot cast a rod properley can still partake in the sport by using a bait boat to put their bait and rigs in to position.
- To help with the purchase of barrows that will make transporting equipment around the lakes alot easier.
- To assist with the purchase of a vehicle trailer so we can transport the equipment to the venues without having to hire a van, currently this is costing us almost £1,000, which is a huge part of our operating costs and one that causes us many headaches.
- To help cover the costs of running an annual trip to France, this would enhance the participants experience and development and cement their enjoyment of the sport as the type of fish available in France are not easily accessible here in the UK.
I am the co-founder of the project and a former soldier who suffers with PTSD and medical issues that include mobility problems and carp angling has been a huge part of my life for the past 9 years and has taught me new skills, allowed me to enjoy my surroundings and nature and most importantly it has given me the opportunity to switch off from the constant pain and mental issues I endure and for a short period enjoy normality.
We have worked with individuals that have endured terrible suffering in sacrifice of our nation and Forces C.A.R.P can offer them a platform for their recovery which many will benefit from as it offers the following:
- Natural surroundings and being outdoors (most ex-servicemen and women find the outdoors second nature)
- The chance to partake in a sport (many individuals who become injured often feel that sport can no longer be an option due to their injuries)
- Carp angling is a social sport and through participating on the project and through our mentoring it will help introduce individuals to new social cirlces (many individuals who suffer with physical and mental injuries and illnesses can often become withdrawn, especially after leaving service, and the project offers them a chance to get out and meet new people)
- A challenge (carp angling is a challenge and requires the angler to have both the technical and tactical knowledge to catch weary big fish, and most servicemen and women enjoy a good challenge, something they maybe lacking after service)
- Learning new skills (Not only does the project expose individuals to new skills such as rig and knot tying to watercraft but also photography and nature spotting, something many carp anglers become interested in and in itself can be a huge help for those needing that space and time to help them recover)
This project has a huge positive outcome on those that participate and we would be massively grateful to anyone that backs the project to help us with delivering what can be a lifeline to some people, whether you're an angler or non angler we really hope you pledge and support our wounded.