Red Sea May 2018

a deptherapy blog

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23 May2018

Roots Expedition May 2018 • Day #7 (Final Day)

by Mark Moore | 23rd May 2018

So our last day in Egypt for the Deptherapy Expedition has arrived but still it is full of action and the expedition members have a photoshoot with the Miss Scuba UK contestants. You may ask why? Miss Scuba UK supports Deptherapy as one of its nominated charities.

There is a full team meeting at 1300 to brief everyone on the journey home.  All around me there are discussions going on around individual action plans, some are still receiving support as they feel threatened psychologically by the prospect of going home.

Some of the team were measuring how much fishing line they had taken off the reef; it came to an amazing 1 kilometre.

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At the 1300 meeting, departure details are provided with an expectation that the expedition will receive the same support through Hurghada Airport as they did at Gatwick on the way out.  There are more ‘well dones’ and a further discussion around the charity’s need to ‘cut its cloth according to its means’.

When I came on the Pros’ programme I did not have a clear idea of what I would encounter. I have learned so much, not just about adaptive teaching, not just about Deptherapy, for which I can only use the word excellence, but about myself.

When you see a group of young people confronting their physical and mental challenges with such passion you cannot help to be moved. Some of these young men who have fought for their country suffer from psychological demons that they alone know. A person breaking down in tears in this environment is not seen as a weakness but a strength; hugging a fellow programme member is seen as the norm.

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For me I have learned to ‘never judge a book by its cover.’ This is very much the underpinning philosophy of Deptherapy; you look at the person inside not the physical or mental injury. I have also learned that it is only by constantly ‘thinking out of the box’ that you can develop the process of adaptive teaching.

Paramount is the commitment of the Deptherapy Trustees and the instructional team. As a scuba instructor I am used to turning up to teach an Open Water Class - theory in the morning and teaching in the pool in the afternoon, end of the day. On the Deptherapy expedition the staff are working with students from first thing in the morning to last thing at night. They work with programme members to help to heal them, not as counsellors or therapists, but as a listener and as a friend. The bond that develops is amazing; friendships have been made this week that I am sure will last a lifetime.

Such commitment comes at a cost. The staff are looking drained and very tired. Such dedicated commitment takes its toll. Programme members are probably unaware that while the team are here at Roots training them they also have the day to day job of running the charity. Emails need answering, social media needs addressing, new applications processed. All of this has to be put in the context that Deptherapy is staffed entirely by volunteers.

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At one of the team meetings, Simon Reed and Chris Middleton spoke very forcibly about the fact that the charity is staffed by volunteers. Deptherapy has no paid employees, it has no business premises, it has no lease cars, and none of the trustees or associate directors are paid expenses. He revealed a stunning figure that 99% of all monies raised go directly to delivering programmes with the remaining 1% going to items such as insurance, stands at Dive Shows etc. I doubt there is a charity in the country that can match those figures.

Being here I can understand why Ben Lee won the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund ‘Recognising Achievement’ Award and how the charity won the Healthcare and Rehabilitation category at the recent Soldiering on Awards.

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Tomorrow is another day for Deptherapy… work starts in earnest on the Truk Lagoon Expedition, now only two months away, and the planning for the next Roots Expedition in October.  During the week we have been at Roots the charity has received eight new applications to join the programme.

Deptherapy never wants to be a ‘big’ charity, it wants to retain its universal acceptance as a ‘family’. It does not want paid employees, or expenses. What it wants is a revenue stream of around £70k per annum to deliver its programmes and it is committed to maintaining a profile of 99% of all income going to the delivery of its programmes.

There is little more I can say - what an amazing week, working with an amazing charity and an even more amazing group of expedition members. Long may Deptherapy continue to support our Armed Services’ veterans.

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