Injured veterans join celebrities to create inspirational podcast series, ‘The Resilience Sessions’

Veterans who’ve been injured and public figures have come together to share their stories of the tragedies and obstacles they’ve faced and discuss how they’ve moved forward to lead happy and fulfilled lives.

The Resilience Sessions podcast series features compelling in-depth interviews bringing to light lifechanging and affirming experiences of veterans who have suffered devastating injuries, and the unknown personal struggles of celebrity guests who have fought to overcome hardship, including mental health problems, disability, devastating injury and bereavement.

In the first series, guests Carol Vorderman, Jonny Benjamin, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Michael Caines, Vick Hope and Ray Winstone and veterans Simon Harmer, Stewart Harris, Nerys Pearce, Mark Ormrod, Shaun Stocker and Ken Bellringer share their inner most thoughts and feelings about resilience and adversity, and how it has shaped them.

They have found that sharing their experience is the best way to help others tackle increasing pressures on mental health in the modern era.

The Resilience Sessions podcast follows on from the hugely successful Making Generation R – Resilience Through Inspiration, a campaign from Blesma, the charity for limbless veterans, and The Drive Project, the creative social enterprise, where wounded veterans deliver resilience workshops to 50,000 11-18-year olds and first responders across the UK based on their own stories of overcoming adversity.

The idea for a podcast was born out of a conversation between Alice Driver, founder and MD of the Drive Project, and military veteran Si Harmer, who came close to death after losing both his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2009.

He said:

“During my rehabilitation in hospital, the days were busy with people coming and going, but at night it became a very lonely and sad place. I wanted to put in my headphones and listen to something positive that would give me a sliver of hope and be part of a positive conversation.”

Alice added:

“The Resilience Sessions podcast aims to create meaningful and inspiring conversations between two unlikely individuals, to talk about their experiences, careers, challenges and how they have handled resilience in their own lives, to act as an inspiration and support to those listening. We are using technology to connect veterans with others who have faced similar difficulties in life, to encourage their resilience against feelings of anxiety and poor self-esteem.”

The opening podcast episode sees Carol Vorderman paired with Si, revealing how her challenging childhood motivated her to achieve amazing things.

“I think it was hardship that motivated me, it gave me a fire and a feistiness,” said Carol, whose father stood on an IED and was injured whilst working as a radio man in the Dutch Resistance.

The Resilience Sessions is brought to you by Blesma, the limbless veterans charity, and is based on an original idea by Simon Harmer and The Drive Project. The Resilience Sessions are supported by Openreach and produced by The Drive Project. Episodes will be:

• Carol Vorderman MBE and Simon Harmer (Podcast available from 9 April)
• Jonny Benjamin MBE and Stewart Harris (Podcast available from 9 April)
• Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Nerys Pearce (Podcast available from 16 April)
• Michael Caines MBE and Mark Ormrod (Podcast available from 23 April)
• Vick Hope and Shaun Stocker BEM (Podcast available from 30 April)
• Ray Winstone and Ken Bellringer (Podcast available from 7 May)

The podcast will be available from all major podcast platforms including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and more.

Ian Waller, Blesma Operations Director said:

“Our Members’ inspirational stories of dealing with life-changing injuries are powerful examples of how crucial resilience is to recovery. The Resilience Sessions are designed to help people draw strength to face their own challenges and they clearly resonated with the personalities. Blesma is committed to supporting injured veterans to regain their independence and it is typical that they want to help others by talking about their experiences. We hope it will help promote resilience for listeners.”

Kevin Brady, Openreach HR Director said:

“As one of the largest recruiters of ex-services personnel in the country, we know what an incredible contribution our veterans make to the Openreach workforce, helping to build and maintain the UK’s broadband network. These conversations demonstrate how much we can learn from them, especially about resilience and inner strength, which are vital skills. We are delighted to support these podcasts and encourage everyone to listen.”

To down load The Resilience Sessions click here.
To watch The Resilience Sessions trailer click here.

Notes to Editors:

Blesma is an armed forces charity dedicated to assisting serving and ex-Service men and women who have experienced loss of limb, use of limbs, hearing, sight or speech, either during or after service. We support these men and women and their families in their communities throughout the UK and overseas.

The Drive Project is an award-winning creative social enterprise which works alongside charities and businesses to inspire and empower people with arts projects, training and talks.

Openreach employs more than 33,000 people and is one of the UK’s largest employers of ex-service people.

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