Tri-Service

Coffee, A Chat, And Some Mindfulness: Edinburgh's Veterans Cafe

Drop-in centres for veterans are becoming more common across the country. They are designed to give former military personnel a chance to...

Drop-in centres for veterans are becoming more common across the country. 

They are designed to give former military personnel a chance to meet, and a place to talk about their problems.

In Edinburgh, the Veterans Community Cafe is one such place... but with a twist.

The cafe has been running for the last 15 months, working partly on a concept of 'invisible therapy'.

It involves talking with your peers to offload, gain perspective, and pick up tips. 

But away from the buzz of the cafe, there's also something else.  

Upstairs is all about contemplation. Every session includes classes in Tai Chi, meditation and mindfulness. 

These activities can help with everything from post-traumatic stress disorder to anxiety and sleep disturbance, and are vouched for by some who've tried them.

Keith McKenzie is a veteran of the Army and the Fire Service and now encourages other former military personnel to follow a calmer and more sociable path. 

Steven Cockburn, meanwhile, was a flyer in 29 Commando Regiment before he failed a drugs test and was discharged. He's now back on a much more positive path, and able to reflect on how far he's come, however. 

In a short space of time, the Veterans Community Cafe has established itself in the heart of the city centre and hopes to run every week in future, allowing veterans to catch up, but also clear their minds. 

More: 'Networking To Optimise Veterans' Care'