Turn to Starboard
Forces Sailing Charity, Turn to Starboard is receiving grant funding from Help for Heroes to provide individual support to veterans and their families taking part in its RYA courses including Yacht Master, Cruising Instructor, Day Skipper and Family courses.
Additional funds will support the running costs of two key positions within the charity for up to one year, both of which will be filled by wounded veterans who have transitioned to civvy street.
Veteran Roy Newport suffered a spinal compression injury after his vehicle went over a legacy landmine in 2010. As well as living with the physical effects of the incident, Roy has since suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder; hidden wounds which have impacted hugely on his recovery process in day to day life and the lives of his wife and two young children who he lives with in Cornwall.
Roy, who was medically discharged in 2014 after spending time serving with Hasler, the Navy’s tri-service rehabilitation unit in Devonport Naval Base, recalls how the PTSD affected him: “I couldn’t even talk to anyone, I really struggled. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I’d have full on panic attacks, no control over my own body.”
Roy was one of the first to benefit from attending Help for Heroes’ Plymouth-based Recovery Centre when it opened a year ago, allowing him to meet guys in a similar situation and keep on top of what was going on in his life.
He also received a grant for a running machine from Help for Heroes, which was delivered to his home personally by CEO Bryn Parry, to keep on top of his fitness while he struggled to leave the house. In return he has since fundraised over £5,000 for the charity, wanting to give something back for the ongoing support.
It was at the Plymouth Recovery Centre that Roy was introduced to Turn to Starboard by Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery team.
Roy commented: “I’ve done a lot of sailing before but never gained any qualifications. I find it therapeutic as there’s no time to sit and ponder. Everything is completely different at sea than when you’re on land. I’m quite a bubbly character and to lose that part of me was hard.
“I’m at a point now where I can control how I feel and have a normal conversation, but it took a long time to get there. I’m signed up to the Zero to Hero scheme with Turn to Starboard to get to Yachtmaster level and am currently acting as a volunteer coordinator and mentoring others. A lot of the guys on the scheme have PTSD so it’s great for them to see how far I’ve come.”
Help for Heroes recognised the demand for Turn to Starboard’s services after the great response received from advertising one of the charity’s sailing weeks to their fellowship networks, the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters.
Turn to Starboard’s CEO Shaun Pascoe has been through the rehabilitation process himself and so knows first-hand just how powerful being out on the water can be. He commented: “Learning new skills, achieving qualifications, forging new friendships and experiencing adventure, that’s what we offer and it’s incredibly powerful in aiding recovery. We’ve had veterans complete our courses saying they’ve found an increased sense of purpose and pride which ultimately boosts their self-esteem. This funding from Help for Heroes will allow us to increase the amount of weeks on offer and ultimately ensure more of our heroes have access to the benefits of being out on the water.”
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes said: “We estimate that there are more than 10,500 British men and women who have been injured in the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. For these individuals, the transition into civilian life can be an incredibly daunting prospect. We are proud to be supporting Turn to Starboard’s programme which is giving individuals a massive boost in skills and confidence and we are particularly excited to provide this opportunity for the families of our wounded as part of our wider Sports Recovery Programme.”