The Soldiers’ Arts Academy links serving and veteran Army personnel and their families with professionals from the creative arts. Through a range of workshops, projects and productions they give participants the opportunity to discover new interests, recover from difficult experiences, transition into civilian life and even find new careers. 

World Mental Health Day is on October 10 and this year it feels more important than ever to recognise that it’s not just our physical health that’s important.  The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has had a huge impact on us all. And the Chelsea Pensioners are no exception.

Here at the Royal Hospital, we’ve long observed the benefits that taking part in activities has on the Chelsea Pensioners. Evidence from medical professionals increasingly supports our view that having interests improves physical and mental wellbeing and combats isolation.

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Brompton Cemetery Seed Sowing
Sowing wildflowers in memory of past Chelsea Pensioners

On 6 May, Chelsea Pensioners and members of the Royal Hospital’s grounds team joined representatives from the Royal Parks, the Royal Parks Guild and the Friends of Brompton Cemetery to sow a patch of wildflower seeds in Brompton Cemetery as part of the Battlefields and Butterflies initiative.

Chelsea Pensioner Centenarians
100 years old and still going strong

Recent research backs up the anecdote that Chelsea Pensioners not only live considerably longer than their peers outside (by over five years, on average), but that their lifetimes once they come to the Royal Hospital are extending, year on year. This strongly suggests that the care and community here contribute to greater longevity – as well as improving quality of life. 

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