A Sheffield war veteran has moved to Kenya to begin a company aiming to benefit Kenyan society, its first project is focused on supporting veterans.

‘Re-Wilding for Veterans’ will see five veterans travel to Kenya to partake in holistic activities and aims to support veterans who might suffer from PTSD, alcoholism, or substance abuse issues

Birley Spa native, Robert Lindley, served 24 years in the Royal Signals as a Yeoman of Signals. In 2010, he was assigned a post in Kenya, where he met his wife Stella and settled with their family in Nairobi.

Mr Lindley, 47, joined the army at 17, after leaving school, he said: “In 1993, there didn’t seem to be much opportunity for employment and it just seemed that you either left Sheffield or you’d end up in a job with very little development.

“I think Sheffield gets overlooked a lot. Most money that leaves London and comes up north will generally go to Manchester Liverpool Leeds, Newcastle, and further up in Scotland.

“The way I looked at it was either the army or probably end up in jail.”

Robert Lindley and his wife, Stella Lindley (Source: Robert Lindley)

As the pair raised their family in Nairobi, they recognised that the education system wasn’t comparable to the system in England.

According to The Times Higher Education university world ranking, there is currently no African university ranked in the top 200, with the University of Nairobi ranking between 601-800. 

Mr and Mrs Lindley and their son Jason founded the Red List Conservation to provide the Kenyan public with more economic and educational opportunities.

Statistics have found that in 2021, 36.1% of the population are living on less than $2.15 (approx. £1.71)

’Re-Wilding for Veterans’ will serve as the company’s introductory project. In June 2024, five veterans will travel to Kenya to take part in a series of activities, including mountain climbing, working with local children, and gaining an education in Kenyan wildlife.

Stella and their daughter, Mikayla at Sheffield’s Peace Gardens (Source: Robert Lindley)

University of Manchester report found that the risk of suicide was 2 to 3 times higher in men who had left the Armed Forces under 25, than someone who hadn’t served. The National Library for Medicine reports that 20-30% of veterans suffer from PTSD. 

Help for Heroes provides a variety of services aimed to support veterans after discharge from services. They aspire to help veterans for life – stressing that some may not suffer immediately after discharge. The charity’s psychologist and clinical lead, Gill Wrigley, said:  “It’s possible that people might suffer in silence. They might not realise or recognise that they deserve help,”

The Red List Conservation plans to fund other projects, including a reptile sanctuary with educational services. They hope to eventually create an education centre that focuses on the conservation of wildlife in Kenya.