The £10.7M, purpose-built, Recovery Centre provides a support base for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women, veterans and their families from Scotland, the North West and East of England, and the North Midlands opened today.
With guidance from military and civilian specialists, residents develop their own individual recovery plan through activities, including educational programmes, work placements and sport. All are designed to help them achieve their long-term goals and aspirations by improving personal independence, raising morale and enjoying the camaraderie of fellow Servicemen and veterans to help rebuild their lives.
Performing the opening ceremony at Phoenix House in Catterick were veterans from two different eras – Gareth (Gaz) Golightly, 31, from Teesside whose family were the first to use the Centre, and 88-year-old Brigadier (Retd) John Painter who was wounded in World War 2 but recovered and returned to serve his country in the Malayan Emergency.
Gaz Golightly’s career as a vehicle specialist in the Royal Logistic Corps ended less than a year after it had begun when he lost a leg following a hit and run motor accident while returning to barracks in Wiltshire in 2002. After becoming a veteran, he didn’t know where to turn for help and, as a result, became very introspective and withdrawn.
“I had been doing nothing at home. I was quite outgoing before the accident and I didn’t realise how withdrawn I had become,” said Gaz.
“The light at the end of my personal dark tunnel has become so much brighter since I started receiving support from Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick.”
His wife Denise has witnessed first-hand the positive impact of Phoenix House: “It’s amazing how much our home life has improved with Gaz coming to Phoenix House. It’s a big thing for us. He never used to take the girls out on his own and did not speak to anybody,” she recalls.
“He’s now talking to people, even in the street, and will take the children out on his own. And, thanks to the provision of Family rooms, we can all visit Phoenix House and get away. I love coming here and so do the kids. Everybody makes us feel welcome.”
The new Recovery Centre is one of several specialist centres supporting the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel to ensure they have access to the key services and resources needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled and supported civilian life.
For more information, visit our Phoenix House page.