Help for Heroes and BPA announce partnership & outline plans to get wounded troops to Rio 2016
8 months ago
Help for Heroes today opened the Andy Griffiths Skiplex and Jimi’s Wing accommodation and education facilitiesat their flagship Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, Wiltshire, where the wounded receive 360 degree holistic support. The new facilities form part of the on-going national programme of four Recovery Centres that will be complete by early 2013.
Help for Heroes also announced their partnership with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) and outlined their plans to support the wounded from now to Rio 2016 and beyond to make the progression towards representing their country in Paralympic sport, or working in the sector.
The partnership will give individuals the opportunity to take part in Talent ID days and fast-track those who show a talent within a certain sport to take it to an elite level or help them take it up as a career.
Sport is often the first step on the pathway of recovery and gives someone confidence and independence to someone who has suffered a life-changing injury. In turn, this positively affects different areas of their life, helping and inspire an individual to prepare them on a whole new chapter of their life.
"Sport is a key part of the recovery process for our wounded; it enables an individual to focus on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t."Martin Colclough, Help for Heroes
Martin Colclough, Head of Sports Recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “We have seen sport at its very best during the Paralympic Games in 2012 and have witnessed first-hand how this has changed public perceptions about disability. Sport is a key part of the recovery process for our wounded; it enables an individual to focus on what they can achieve, rather than what they can’t. Military athletes have described the transformational power of sport as being key to the process of post-traumatic growth; it is a phenomenon some experience and is a turning point that enables someone to have a completely new outlook on life.”
Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association said: “The British Paralympic Association is a long-standing believer in the power of sport as a tool for rehabilitation, and this is particularly important for those who acquire their impairment through trauma. Excellent examples of this rehabilitation in action are Derek Derenelagi and Jon-Allan Butterworth, who have been supported in their journey to London 2012 by both Help for Heroes and the BPA. Through Front line to Start Line we can help to ensure more injured servicemen and women will receive this support in a structured programme. This is an important development that has the potential to benefit of all Paralympic sports, both summer and winter, and we are delighted to be partnering with Help for Heroes in this way.”
Help for Heroes has been involved in ‘sport in recovery’ since 2008 when it was the Founder Partner of the MOD’s Battle Back programme, which it continues to fund today. The charity works with various partner organisations, including the British Paralympic Association, to provide adaptive sports and adventurous training at every level. Be it from grass roots sports training and taking part in over 300 adventurous sports to those few who make the progression to elite sport, to date Help for Heroes have supported over 1500 individuals in this way. Recently, six injured Servicemen and women who had been supported through the Help for Heroes programme took part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games across a range of disciplines. Injured service men and women can take part in 19 of the 22 Paralympic sports taking place in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games within five minutes’ drive of Tedworth House.
The Skiplex, named in memory of Captain Andy Griffiths who died in the UK from his wounds sustained in Afghanistan 2010 and was a huge snowboarding enthusiast, is an indoor ski simulator with a continually revolving ski slope and adjustable gradient that replicates a real piste. It is part of the Help for Heroes Phoenix Centre, supported by GlaxoSmithKline, which will offer some of the UK’s most advanced sports facilities and technology and support the Armed Forces Battle Back programme.
Martin Colclough explained: “It is incredibly challenging for anyone to learn a new sport, let alone for someone who is recovering from severe injuries. The Skiplex is one of the first in the UK and will enable us to teach adaptive skiing in an indoor environment so we can minimise the risk of further injury when people first take to the slopes. The Skiplex will provide an introduction to skiing for those who may take it further but is also fun, good exercise and a key part of an individual’s physical recovery for core strength, balance and confidence. For advanced skiers, the new Skiplex will allow us to offer summer training and enable us to access specialists easily, which will be particularly useful as we approach the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.”
The Help for Heroes Phoenix Centre at Tedworth House will provide adaptive exercise facilities including a SwimEx, Strength and Conditioning gym and team sports gymnasium.
The wounded, supported by specialist trainers and physiotherapists, will use state-of-the art equipment such as an anti-gravity treadmill which can support up to 80% of body weight to help an individual learn to walk or run again. There will be hand-bike exercise machines to help build upper body strength for those taking up hand-cycling as well as other outdoor activities. Exercise programmes that start at Headley Court can continue at the Phoenix Centre supported by a Sports Science Centre and Physiotherapy Suite.
The SwimEx is an adjustable multi-depth pool with a variable flow of water. It includes a treadmill simulator which allows the user to begin walking or running in a limited weight-bearing environment and an adjustable floor to allow instructors to gradually increase weight-bearing activities.
Through a network of Recovery Centres, grants to specialist charities and organisation, and direct, individual support, Help for Heroes provides 360° care for Servicemen, women and veterans, enabling individuals to excel along their chosen life path.Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence, NHS and other Service charities, Help for Heroesensures support for all key aspects of life; financial support, sports andactivity training, mental health support, education and employment.
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said: “Those who have been injured in the service of our country need support for life and we are determined to ensure that care is provided where needed. Over the last five years, we have been championing our wounded, ensuring they have the facilities they need for life. Getting off the sofa and taking part in sport is often the first step towards acceptance of a new life after injury. It gives someone the confidence and self-believe to move on to the next stage of their life whether that’s learning a new skill or finding long term employment after the Armed Forces. ”
October 19th also marked the opening of Jimi’s Wing – a new accommodation block of 34 rooms, including four family rooms, art, breakout and games rooms and four new classrooms. Jimi’s Wing, which was opened by his widow Julie, is named in memory of Jimi HeseldenOBE of Hesco Bastion, who manufacturethe concertainers that protect the bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jimi, known as a ‘Hero to the Heroes’, was also well known for his charity work. He donated over £3.5million to Help for Heroes before his death in 2010.