Help for Heroes supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, the charity gives them the support they need to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives.
Help for Heroes support focuses on a comprehensive programme that is tailored to meet the needs of beneficiaries, from psychological wellbeing and sports recovery to financial grants and career support. This is delivered at the Charity’s four national Recovery Centres, remotely across the UK and through their network of over 60 specialist charity partners.
As a Help For Heroes partner, we visited one of their Recovery Centres to see the impact that the money raised for Help For Heroes has on everyday lives.
Every year, members of the Armed Forces will become injured or sick in the service of our country. However, direct, practical support is available for members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families through the four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres and outreach offices around the country. We went to see Tedworth House Recovery Centre in Wiltshire to see what help is available.
During our visit we learnt how Tedworth House and the other Recovery Centres, focus on holistic, patient-focused treatment , looking not just at the physical body and the injuries received, but also at the mind and the spirit, with bespoke therapy as individual as each patient.
We saw first-hand how, with the incredible support of the passionate and dedicated team at Help for Heroes, the wounded and their families can recover in a safe place with people who understand what they’ve been through. The Recovery Centres aim to inspire, enable and support individuals back to leading independent and fulfilling lives.
Like all the Centres, Tedworth House offers opportunities to explore avenues that some would never have thought of after injury or illness. Help for Heroes are here to provide advice and support, no matter what situation beneficiaries and their families find themselves in.
There are thousands of servicemen and women who need support to cope with injuries and illnesses of varying severity. Wounds and injuries – both physical and mental – can last a lifetime and Help for Heroes is here to help them cope with the challenges they face.
A recent King’s College London study commissioned by Help for Heroes revealed that at least 66,000 of the 757,805 who served as Regulars in the British Armed Forces between 1991 and 2014, will need support in the coming years.
Some find themselves taking part in astonishing sports events like the Invictus Games or feats of endurance like the Alpe d’Huez Megavalanche, a grueling downhill race across a glacier and 20km of mountainside forest; while for some just getting up in the morning is like conquering a personal Everest.
A very quick calculation will tell you that that’s 1 in 11 people who need support, or are likely to need it in the future.
Each Recovery Centre has gym and sports facilities – at Tedworth House we visited the Phoenix Centre, a state-of-the-art gym complex containing some of the UK’s most advanced adaptive sporting facilities. The Centre offers a sports hall with a sprung floor, a strength and conditioning gym and a Skiplex and SwimEx. Here beneficiaries can improve their physical health and try out new sports with adaptive equipment.
Often, severe trauma can cause depression, stress, flashbacks and even PTSD, even if the injury doesn’t produce a disability or physically impact someone’s usual way of life.
To combat this, the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres offer sports programmes for the recovering Heroes. Sport is an incredible way to aid recovery for many reasons. Participating in sports gives these Heroes their confidence back, as well as helping them to work with a team again, and the endorphins from exercise can improve mood and morale.
The road to recovery can be very long and painful, not just physically or psychologically, but also emotionally. It can be difficult to adjust, especially if someone has to leave the Armed Forces or is no longer able to do all the things they used to do before injury. The camaraderie and brotherhood of the military means beneficiaries share a common bond and support each other – often through humor and banter.
To support this, Help for Heroes founded the Band of Brothers which offers fellowship, lifelong support and help from others; others who have been there and lived it.
The importance and role of support from family and friends cannot be undervalued. However, with the Band of Brothers, members can talk and simply enjoy relating to others who have suffered similar injuries, had similar experiences or even had to leave the Armed Forces. Spaces such as these are a great way to build confidence, as well as improve the emotional state of members.
Alan White, who suffered paralysis whilst serving and was given a medical discharge, is one great example of how the Band of Brothers can help. Alan was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder but, combined with his military mindset, didn’t want to ask for help.
It was a staff member at the Royal Marine rehabilitation unit, Hasler Company, who recommended they get in touch with Help for Heroes’ Band of Brothers. His wife, Toni-Sue said;
“Alan’s done a lot with the Band of Brothers, including some flying, and has been given funding from Help for Heroes for a recumbent bike. Best of all, the fellowships put on events for all the family. One was a day of flying aeroplanes, an excuse for Alan to show off in front of his kids. He was so proud. He was Daddy again.”
What we can’t forget is that it is not just the Armed Forces personnel that have to deal with the consequences of their injuries, so do their families. Mum or dad may no longer be able to play football with the kids, or may need a hoist to get in and out of bed, and daily care to get dressed or visit the bathroom.
All these things can take a mental and emotional toll on the whole family, and Help for Heroes needs to be able to continue their work and give every possible support they can, whenever needed.
The Help for Heroes Band of Sisters was formed for the loved ones of wounded ex-service members, in order to provide a safe space for the families to come together and really help each other.
Toni-Sue joined the Band of Sisters after her husband, Alan, joined the Band of Brothers.
"The damage to the soldier is obvious but the damage to the family isn’t. I think it’s massively important support is available to them. It’s not just helped me but our next generation too. To all the Charity’s supporters, ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem a big enough word. It’s a bit of a cliché but the money you raise and donate is changing lives."
“The people at the Band of Sisters are an amazing bunch. The fellowship has put us back together."
At Premier Care in Bathing, one of our goals is to help people live their lives to the best of their ability, as independently as possible, no matter what. This is a goal that is shared by Help for Heroes, which is why we are delighted to partner with them. We give Help for Heroes a proportion from the sale of each bathroom, in order to help fund the amazing work that they do.
Just because you need a slight adaption to the home, or bathroom, this shouldn’t stop you from being able to live your fullest life. Everyone should be entitled to live full lives despite adversity, and we hope you’ll support us in our partnership with Help for Heroes.