Employment and Housing
Help for Heroes strives to achieve the best for the men and women of Great Britain’s Armed Forces, both serving and veteran. We are proud to work with other Service charities to make sure that the wounded, injured and sick get the support they deserve. Here is how Help for Heroes' grants have improved re-employment and housing support available to our wounded Servicemen, women and veterans.
Military Mountain Bikers
Early in 2013, wounded Veteran Martyn Gibbons MBE approached us with the concept of ‘Military Mountain Bikers’; a purpose built mountain biking centre in the North West run by qualified wounded personnel offering users a fabulous centre, with the added bonus of inspirational instructors. Knowing Martyn’s determination and commitment to the project, we were fully behind him.
Martyn sustained shrapnel wounds to his legs whilst on active duties in Afghanistan and after numerous operations, was confined to a wheelchair. He has since battled to regain the use of his legs and thanks to his determination, can now walk with the aid of crutches. Despite his injuries, Martyn has found mountain biking to be a valuable tool in his recovery and on-going rehabilitation.
“After going through the various stages of recovery I found the one constant I had in my rehabilitation was the ability to ride my mountain bike. The sense of being able to achieve something despite the setbacks in my recovery has been a great aid to keeping motivated.”
Through the Military Mountain Bikers project, Martyn hopes to offer the opportunity to enjoy this exciting outdoor sport to other veterans. Additionally, he aims to enhance the integration of military families into the local community. The project will achieve this by employing a core group of Veterans who are wounded, injured or sick on a part-time and flexible basis offering them the chance to train as mountain bike instructors. Once trained, individuals will provide training and other activities to other veterans, young people and members of wider community groups.
Grant funding from Help for Heroes initially funded Martyn’s position, as well as an assistant. This has allowed the financial freedom needed to get the project off the ground. Additional funding provided the equipment and associated training costs of three further veterans to help run the programme.
Due to launch in Rossendale, Lancashire in Spring 2014, the project has received funding from other major charities including the Princes’ Foundation Endeavour Fund, The Poppy Factory and Lancashire County Council Armed Forces Veterans Fund, but aims to be fully self-sufficient within the first 12 months.