Project information

Outside The Wire

To run group sessions with serving and Armed Forces veterans and their families in the area of substance misuse. The staff will themselves be veterans, who are able to provide a credible service which will reduce isolation, meet others and give advice and support to enable people to recover.

January 2016 - January 2017

Charity information

The Matthew Project

The Matthew Project logo
  • Need


    Clients seeking alcohol and drug support that we have worked with typically have a background serving during the Falklands, Northern Ireland and Bosnia conflicts. There are barriers to accessing treatment due to the culture of the armed forces and sometimes rural isolation. There is little mention of the effects of combat and service leading to substance abuse. This reflects ex-service personnel feelings of not being able to seek help when transitioning back to normal life.


    Therapy trained ex-forces personnel are very much suited to engaging clients from the military community who are seeking support for their substance misuse needs. There is a shared understanding of background and service life culture which enables trust to be developed at an early stage. We believe the service and approach we offer is unique and responds directly to the needs and desires of this client group and families involved. We provide a non judgmental and confidential environment to share

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Reduce isolation and low self esteem of veterans facing substance misuse issues in the community.


    » Holding monthly group sessions in Norfolk and Suffolk by bringing veterans together in a collaborative way.

    By monitoring any positive changes in their lives due to the work and support of these groups. We will collect and evaluate beneficiary feedback and ongoing monitoring.

    Aim 2

    Build confidence to reintegrate clients back into the community and employment opportunities.


    » Encourage sharing and listening to one another within a group environment which will help the client realize they are not alone and build confidence.

    Using feedback forms and monitoring any positive changes as well as comments and feedback from the client and relatives.

    Aim 3

    Reduce drug and alcohol use and encourage other ways of coping in everyday situations.


    » By building self esteem, looking at positive outcomes from talking about other coping mechanisms shared by others.

    Using the outcomes star which measures various aspects of the clients life towards becoming self reliant. Such as alcohol use, family and relationships, emotional health and money.

  • Impact


    We want to empower our clients to make informed decisions for coping with stress and transition back into the community and family life. Reducing the stigma of accessing this help for stress and substance misuse as well as reducing isolation veterans can feel when leaving the forces. Encouraging stronger relationships within the family, higher self esteem, self confidence, coping strategies, relapse prevention and integration back into meaningful employment.


    There is a risk of current and ex serving personnel being too proud or embarrassed to come forward due to the nature of the problem and the armed forces culture that sees seeking such help to admitting to a weakness or failure.
    By providing a confidential environment run by staff themselves who are ex-forces immediately breaks down one of those barriers. Continuing to promote our services at armed forces days, fayres, groups and associated events.


    We will provide updates on our work through our website and bi-monthly e-newsletter. We will send donors who support this project an update throughout the year to let them know progress of this project.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,187

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,765 Staff costs including NIC, Pension and overheads
      £252 Volunteer costs costs of volunteers to help at each group
      £1,200 Staff Travel Transport and fuel costs for staff to attend each group
      £720 Room Hire Costs costs to hire rooms for each group session
      £250 Materials Cost of promotion
  • Background


    There are a high number of veterans living in Norfolk and Suffolk. It is estimated up to 68,000 veterans in Suffolk and over 90,000 in Norfolk. There are 1024 children in Norfolk whose parents or carers are currently serving in the armed forces. With a high number of current serving personnel from the Royal Navy, Army, RAF, ATC Cadets and Cadet Force all being based in these areas. We aim to be accessible to everyone in these regions and provide a substance misuse advice service for veterans.


    Veterans and current serving personnel with substance misuse issues will be our primary beneficiary. These substance misuse issues could be caused by stress, post traumatic stress disorder, anger management, depression and a number of other events that act as triggers. Families and friends of the client will also be a beneficiary as we assist the transition back into the community and family life.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have a successfully ran our Outside the Wire one to one service for the past year and have now moved this service into Suffolk also. We are the only service that provides this support in Norfolk and Suffolk that is run by staff who are ex veterans themselves. We are also the leading charity in Norfolk and Suffolk that deals directly with substance misuse clients and their families.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Andy Wicks

    Andy originally came up with the idea for Outside the Wire and launched this in 2013. Andy served in the RAF for 22 years and now manages the project.

    Andy Craze

    Andy is a recovery worker for the Norfolk area. He has served in the army for 25 years and now provides 1 to 1 support for clients and their families.

    Phil Dunne

    Phil has recently joined Outside the Wire as a Recovery worker covering the Suffolk area. Phil served in the army for 25 years.

    Nicky Jones

    Nicky is an analyst for the Matthew Projects adult services proving monitoring, feedback and administrative support.

I was referred to The Matthew Project and felt straight away they could understand my situation.

Outside the Wire Service User