VETERANS accessing support services around Stirling had the chance to try sessions at the National Curling Academy in The PEAK in recent weeks.

People accessing Combat Stress and Stand Easy Stirling benefited form the sessions, which were a part of the wider Veteran Sports programme managed by Active Stirling.

The sessions were so successful that some are now hoping to set up a veterans’ curling team in the area.

Joanna Bird, senior occupational therapist at Combat Stress, explained: “Combat Stress has recently begun working with Active Stirling and this has opened up really exciting opportunities to the veterans in Forth Valley.

“Participants from a recent occupational therapy workshop chose to experience curling for the first time and loved it.

“Allen Gibson, Active Stirling community activation officer, ensured that the veterans would be comfortable in the environment and our curling instructor was very inspiring.

“It was fantastic to witness the veterans smiling and getting a real sense of achievement from the activity.

“They enjoyed it so much that some hope to continue curling and some voiced dreams of a veterans' curling team in the future.”

She passed on thanks to Allen, who said: “We will continue to offer sessions across many sports and forms of physical activities to gauge popularity and I am in awe at the response we are receiving both from veterans and their support workers.

“I am in the process now of engaging a veterans steering group who will shape sport and physical activity for Stirling and the surrounding area.

“If you are a veteran and interested in getting involved please get in touch.

“Similarly if you are a club that want to engage with this group please also get in touch.”

Stand Easy Stirling, one of the groups taking part, is an amateur dramatics group that engages with veterans and aims to create showcases of the past experiences and serving life.

Combat Stress is well-know across the UK for working with veterans who experience conditions like PTSD.

Leading the sessions was Active Stirling’s curling development officer and European gold and World bronze medallist Hammy McMillan Jnr.

He said: “Both of these sessions were a joy to coach, myself and the participants felt we got a lot out of the experience.

“It was amazing to see the feedback we received. It was great to see them try a new sport, in a new environment.”