BARRY John and his team at VC Gallery “deserve recognition for the amazing work they do to help others” – and recognition could come their way in this year’s West Wales Health & Care Awards, backed by Wendale Hospital.

The Haverfordwest charity, founded by Mr John following 24 years in the British Army, has been nominated for the Mental Health Award, sponsored by Western Power Distribution.

A panel of judges will meet next month to assess the merits of all the nominations before settling on their finalists for the big ceremony at Pembrokeshire County Showground on September 29.

The VC Gallery, which also has a hub in Pembroke Dock, helps service veterans and those in the wider community by getting them engaged in a variety of art projects.

With an artistic background and involvement in mental health work, Mr John realised that there was a need in the community for his expertise and experiences.

The team, which also includes project manager Steph Cross and veteran liaison Tim Phillips, passionately believes that art and culture can improve health, wellbeing and overall quality of life.

As well as veterans, they work with older people, children and anyone who feels they need time out to socialise and express themselves through art.

“The majority of veterans fair well after leaving the armed forces, suffering no ill effects, entering full-time employment and leading meaningful and fulfilling lives,” said the person who nominate them.

“However, some veterans need support to readjust back into civilian life. The VC Gallery is a "single point-of-access" welfare and support hub for veterans.

“In addition, they are a signposting and referral service, a community social hub and a charity working in partnership with public and third-sector agencies as well as specialised national charities.

“They run projects and workshops for the community and aim to engage people of all ages and enhance their personal, social and educational development.

“The work is not only limited to veterans. They are open to people with mental or physical disabilities, to both the young and elderly, and to anyone who feels alone, disadvantaged or isolated.

“Their projects run all year round and provide the ability to build self-confidence and new skills.

“They deserve recognition for the amazing work they do to help others.”

The aims in terms of socialising are simple – the community is everything to them.

You can make a nomination for this year’s awards by visiting