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Support where it’s needed – no duff!

Support where it’s needed – no duff!


15 Mar, 2021

Ex-police officer Dave Leigh, director of wellbeing at No Duff UK, tells Quest about the organisation’s invaluable work to support rank and file personnel, both serving and retired, who suffer from mental health illness as a result of their service …

No Duff UK is a not-for-profit community interest company based in the north-west of England, but with contacts and members all over the UK. It provides help and support to serving and former members of HM Armed Forces, the Police, emergency services, NHS, the Prison Service and animal welfare organisations. There is often limited help on offer from within such organisations while serving, and virtually none when retired – it is this support gap that No Duff UK aims to fill.

No Duff UK is unique because it does not differentiate between the aforementioned services, but takes the view that if you have served the country or the community you are part of one big family. Tragically, however, suicides from both serving and former members of these organisations are on the rise and No Duff UK’s aim is to try to prevent further such tragedies.

No Duff UK is also a great believer in the phrase ‘You don’t heal in the place where you got sick.’

What does ‘No Duff’ mean?

No Duff is a military term meaning ‘This is not a drill’, which captures exactly the mind-set of the company when it comes to mental health.

Starting out

No Duff UK was founded in 2019 by CEO Dean Owen (main picture above), who has served in the military, Prison Service and the Police, as well as the RSPCA. He was medically retired from the Police with PTSD after a serious injury incurred on duty. Having run the company alone to start with, in 2020 he realised that it was too big a job for one person so approached the other directors to help out, bringing in a broad spectrum of service and experience from all of the above-mentioned services.

What did No Duff UK achieve in 2020?

Quite a lot …!

No Duff UK runs a private peer support group on Facebook, currently more than 1,000-strong, which is a designated ‘safe place’ to seek help and support, and even have a bit of a rant if needed. It has also expanded onto Twitter, where it has 1,200 followers.

It has helped 31 members get into therapy and has a contract with a north-west Police Force to provide therapy to its staff.

It has prevented four suicides.

It has assisted a veteran who was stuck in Europe without funds to get back home, and has assisted at least four veterans into full-time employment.

Recognising that physical health goes hand in hand with mental health, it has established a successful health and fitness group on Facebook, which currently has more than 500 members.

What’s planned for 2021?

In 2021 No Duff UK hopes to establish a headquarters in the north-west of England that will house treatment and therapy rooms, conference and classroom facilities, and a fitness suite. It also hopes to establish a community garden project as gardening has also been shown to help people with their mental health.

It is also No Duff UK’s intention to establish a support group for family members of serving or former members of the services.

It may be small now, but No Duff UK is ambitious enough to say that it intends to expand to cover the whole country.

Who pays?

No Duff UK is funded exclusively by donations, whatever funding grants it succeeds in obtaining and by fundraising events, which unfortunately have had to take a back seat due to COVID restrictions. If you would like to make a donation to its very valuable work, please click here.

Get in touch

Click here to visit the No Duff UK website

Call the helpline any time 24 hours a day, every day: 07944 440 356

Or follow No Duff UK on:



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