MVCA was not born overnight. Suzie and Nigel Bradbery set up its registration as a community interest company (C.I.C. 12229585) on the 26th September 2019. It had taken at least five years in the making to build solid foundations and evidence-backed proof of the effectiveness of Suzie's concept.
Everyone that Suzie has shared her vision with has immediately bought into it. She's thrilled to have so much support from people and organisations that all, in one way or another, compliment and bring value to what MVCA aims to achieve.
"Every orchestra needs a conductor, every rhythm section a lead, here we have our orchestra of baton wavers and rhythmic leads... To guide our mission into the winds of success, we proudly present our Patronage, Captain and Crew".
Our work is our passion. The success of the MVCA is due to the great work our team does. Our directors have acquired a group of project leaders, capable of helping our veterans get through their difficult times.
C.E.O. Founder - Chair Director
We journey through life's rich tapestry sending us along a winding path of adventure, discoveries and enlightenment.
There's a story behind most adventures in life, and Suzie's is pretty remarkable.
Suzie has trod the long and weary path from a place of hopelessness to aspiration. This journey of hers and that of her loved ones gave Suzie the determination to see her dream become a reality by establishing Military Veterans Creative Arts (MVCA).
Suzie's vision back in 2005, was to run creative workshop retreats for Veterans with an array of activities so that they can reap the therapeutic benefits that she and many others have discovered, from exploring their creativity as a means of healing".
Suzie has complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including complex anxiety disorders, panic attacks, night traumas, and morbid tendencies. These experiences plus her training in Counselling, Psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, spiritual healing, self-development, fundraising and many more make her well placed to help people understand the problematic symptoms and suffering that comes with PTSD and anxiety.
Having been on a roller coaster of distress, trauma and discovery from a very young age, made a child's life incredibly confusing. Suzie says, "right up to my late 30's I realised I was still allowing things into my life that were quite traumatic". Suzie's prevailing personality meant she kept pushing through her struggles to come out the other side, with the resolve to tangibly show the world that people with mental health challenges can change their perceived label from "victim" to "survivor". Suzie's passion for aiding others in similar situations to her has created MVCA's alternative therapeutic route for people to move from "surviving to thriving".
Suzie feels "Being able to express words and feelings in a song travels much further than picking up a book and reading it plus it's therapeutic. It enables you to feel good about yourself; that you've created something unique".
"The creative arts have been a massive step forward for me in my recovery. I've seen incredible changes in myself and my mind. It's not as difficult as one might think to step away from the nightmares to a place of peace". Suzie wants to show others that engaging in creative arts can help one live life to its fullest and that it is achievable. You can get through the traumas without re-traumatising. "Trust your instincts believes in your talents, hopes and purposes".
"I am passionate about putting words to music for Veterans and supporting those that have PTSD because I don't believe they get enough help. I am lucky that I have had support, but I strongly that there's just not enough help out there for them. I know from my studies and experience that what MVCA offers can help and I'm looking forward to bringing to fruition the endless possibilities."
Suzie spent 4½ years caring for her father, a military man and "an amazing guy". He asked her what she wanted to do with her life and her answer, without hesitation, was to 'sing'. Spontaneously she decided to write a song that led to creating her first album 'Troubled Minds'. Tragically, just two months before the album was released Suzie's father passed away.
Suzie's very close friend, Richard, had PTSD, which led him to have so many difficulties in several areas of his life. Suzie loved and cared for him very much, but unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer and sadly lost the battle and passed away. That was a massive shock for Suzie, and she was devastated.
The first song melody came to Suzie following the loss of her dear friend Richard, who'd served in the Royal Marines and affected by PTSD. Suzie felt it only right that the album is dedicated to her dad George and friend Richard plus all the military suffering from PTSD.
Once Suzie realised that she had a passion for music as a therapeutic process, she decided to go back into training. Academic study has always been difficult for Suzie as she has dyslexia and learning challenges. Still, when she looks back at her doctor's notes when aged just seven years old and reads "severely disturbed and low intellect' this has driven her to change that label and thrives on training which has become creative training rather than therapy based.
Suzie began one-to-one private song writing training to help the veterans create their songs; then she went on to study music production and performance. Suzie left her hometown for a year and enrolled on a Level 3 Music Course at South Devon College in Paignton. It was the beginning of a new adventure. Having achieved a double distinction, she went home and began a three-year university degree. Suzie gained a First in a B.A. Honours degree in Music Production and Creative Recording in 2020. This solidified the direction in life that Suzie wanted to pursue and so began a new adventure for her.
She was the only student to have produced an album before joining her studies and produced three music albums. She donated these to various charities so that they can raise funds. Suzie organised a major project with Veterans and their families to sing and record a brand new single that she has built up into a song using words and phrases submitted by Veterans. That song called 'Stay Strong' is available to purchase and a video available on YouTube. This song was also performed by another group of veterans from the Blue Van in Eastbourne and used various arrangements to complement different versions. She eagerly looks forward to writing and producing more songs from Veterans' words and poems and supporting them to understand the full production skills to have a more significant part of the song writing process.
She looked for her inner talents after constant lifetime training in various subjects, including various self-development studies, counselling and psychology, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Spiritual healing and many more. Suzie spontaneously decided to write a song and created her first album called 'Troubled Minds'.
She is very much looking forward to writing more songs with veterans and their families.
Covid-19 put paid to the first MVCA weekend workshop for summer 2020. The event will undoubtedly be happening as soon as it's safe to do so. Please subscribe to our mailing list below so you won't miss out on this and other forthcoming events, our exciting new projects, progress, and how we can help.
Her ultimate goal is to run creative workshops of various activities that Veterans can attend either at a residential location or via Zoom hub sessions to explore their creativity as a therapeutic process to help in their recovery. She is doing all of this for a noble cause, and may she succeed in her aim. Suzie believes that she is very fortunate to have this fantastic opportunity to help people understand the problematic symptoms and suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety. Her passion lies in helping Veterans.
Nigel Bradbery is a Director of Military Veterans Creative Arts. Born in Guildford now living in South Wales.
I've always known of the benefits and power of art and when I met Suzie Stanford in 2019 knew that I'd like to help Suzie progress her fantastic vision. My curiosity and passion for the Military started when I was eight years old. I remember when our house shook and the windows 'rattled' in October 1974. Two pubs had been blown-up in the town centre which was 3 miles away! I was determined to understand why and get involved. I'd completed three patrols including a 'small' riot in Northern Ireland before my 18th birthday... I spent several occasions within the army, culminating in almost completing selection with 21 Regiment (V) in the mid-'90s.
My role in MVCA is to assist with the business structure, look after Suzie's interests and step-in as and when required. I will stay a 'grey' presence but close to help MVCA within the complex industry we are allied too.
The company secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of a company, particularly with regard to ensuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements and for ensuring that decisions of the board of directors are implemented.
Stacey, aged 38 was born in Glasgow and raised in Easterhouse until the age of 16 when she moved to a village called Baillieston. Stacey is the eldest of 3 children having two younger brothers. Growing up with my two younger brothers and my mum and dad worked very hard to provide for my brothers and me. We lived below my grandmother who helped look after us while my parents worked. There was always some sort of music on in our household featuring many different artists, from the 60's and 70's. We are a very close family who always helps each other out when it is required. Stacey is a divorced mother of a 16-year-old Son.
As a teenager she attended the Air Training Corp Cadets and worked her way up the ranks to cadet Warrant Officer, it was during this time that she decided she wanted to join the Royal Air Force and to follow in her family’s footsteps of being in the Military. Upon completing her degree in administration and information management at the age of 20, she joined up.
On the 3rd July 2002, she embarked on her career in the R.A.F. and became a stewardess in the catering squadron. She served for nine years and went to various camps throughout the U.K. including a tour within Northern Ireland during Op Banner. She also served on Op fresco fire strike while serving and Op Telic 2 where she served in Cyprus providing support for the troops going to and coming back from Iraq. After nine years she left to work for the Royal British Legion Scotland (RBLS) Glasgow and Western Counties Area as the area secretary. During this time she was asked to work for Glasgow's Helping Heroes (SSAFA) in the afternoon as they shared an office. She went to do her SSAFA caseworkers' course and became involved in helping veterans with their issues once they left the
Armed forces. It was during this time she got to meet many veterans with PTSD, and she wanted to do more to help them, so she started doing various courses in Mental Health, Suicide awareness and went on to get her COSCA skills in counselling. After three years with the RBLS, she was made redundant and embarked on a new career of an Optical Assistant part-time and helped start a charity in Glasgow known as Save Our Service Veterans Scotland with John Noble the founder which helps veterans with PTSD and social problems to re-integrate back into the local community through Gardening and Football therapy.
While doing her charity work, she came across Suzie and spoke to her about Military Veterans Creative Arts (MVCA) and offered to help. She is currently studying her BSc in Forensic Psychology; she wants to pursue a career in helping veterans with PTSD who ended up on the wrong side of the law through there issues. "I firmly believe that MCVA gives Veterans the opportunity to express how they feel about issues in their lives including PTSD through creative art and song writing as every veteran has their own story and, in every story can become a song. I believe that MVCA helps veterans to express their feeling freely while allowing them to start dealing with their issues."