Neal receives a CiaO Award to help with training courses for green keeping equipment

Equipment Training CiaO Award for Former Para

We have worked closely with On Course Foundation (OCF) recently, who have nominated several ex-service personnel, facing challenges, for our unique awards. We are pleased to announce our continued connection with this great organisation, and the provision of a CiaO Award to Neal, a former Parachute Regiment Infantryman.

From the age of 16, Neal served 26 years in the “Paras”, the elite airborne infantry regiment of the British Army. He left the regiment in 2011, after serving in many operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq, Macedonia and Afghanistan. Since leaving though, Neal was beset with severe symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and major flashbacks. These combined to make life considerably challenging for Neal leading him on a stark downward spiral. Though in 2015 he found strength to reach out and seek help. He found On Course Foundation and was soon diagnosed as suffering from Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the traumatic experiences on active service.

With a previous interest in golf, OCF were able to initially help him find a greenkeeper work experience placement with Queens Park Golf Club. Neal impressed the club so much that they quickly offered him paid part-time position when his work experience ended. From thinking that he would never work again, after being diagnosed with PTSD, to working in a job that he loves has really helped and turned Neal’s life around. In describing early mornings in his new job, Neal said “watching the sun rise and hearing the birds sing is a lovely moment in my days’ work.”

In order to continue and take full advantage of his new role, Neal needs to undertake some new challenges and be properly trained on various grounds keeping equipment. As such the CiaO Foundation was very pleased to present Neal with a CiaO Award consisting of two courses in Tractor Driving and Safe Operation of Rode on Mowers.



Neal at work mode as a greenkeeper


“Working again has calmed me down and I feel that it has helped me to cope with my PTSD and my family life has improved 100%. My partner has seen a massive change in me as a person, since joining OCF and starting my new job.”

Neal - CiaO Award Recipient

“We first met Neal in January 2016 and we immediately saw his enthusiasm for the game of golf. He has attended several events with On Course Foundation, including our Warm Weather Training Trip to Orlando, Florida in 2016 which he thoroughly enjoyed. The funding that Neal received from the Ciao Foundation was vital as the ‘Ride on Machinery’ course that he completed was a requirement for him to continue in his role. From the feedback that we have received, Neal is excelling in his role as a greenkeeper and is enjoying learning more about the role each day. Thank you again to Ciao Foundation for their support towards our beneficiaries.”

Will Barker, Regional Employment & Events Manager - On Course Foundation