Busy mum Kerry Watson, from Edinburgh, has been treated to a well-deserved pamper break at Phoenix House Recovery Centre.
Kerry, 26, looks after her son Harris, 3, and husband Kenneth, 27 - who was badly injured during a tour of Afghanistan - while also studying at Napier University for a psychology degree.
Kenneth, 27, who serves with the 3rd battalion the Rifles at Dreghorn Barracks, has been off work with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), hearing loss and back injuries after being caught up in two bomb blasts in Afghanistan two years ago. He is currently with 51 brigade at the Personnel Recovery Centre (PRU) in Edinburgh awaiting medical discharge next February.
Juggling full-time studies and caring duties leave Kerry little free time for herself, so when she was offered a pamper weekend at Help for Heroes' Phoenix House recovery centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire, she jumped at the chance. The activities on offer included a full body massage, manicure, cake decorating, jewellery making, flower arranging, and a much-needed relaxation class.
She said: “I can’t remember when I last got so much time to myself. I really enjoyed all the activities on offer at Phoenix House. It’s such a relaxing setting and everyone was so welcoming. I would really urge other carers in Scotland to take the opportunity of a break there.”
Kerry, who is a member of Help for Heroes’ Edinburgh Band of Sisters found out about the charity through a friend whose husband also had PTSD. She went on to do the H4H mental health first aid course and then got offered the chance of a respite weekend.
“Many people don’t realise that Help for Heroes doesn’t just support veterans but their families too. I really enjoy meeting and getting support from fellow Band of Sisters at their coffee mornings in Edinburgh,” Kerry added.
Husband Kenneth said: “Being a spouse or partner of someone going through a traumatic time can be very difficult. Help for Heroes has helped ease that burden for Kerry by giving her a much-needed break, as well as providing a community of people she can talk to through Band of Sisters. It gives me peace of mind to know Kerry has something for herself. She can take our son Harris to the coffee mornings and speak to other families of veterans and get hints and tips about life after the army.
He added: “I’ve also attended Phoenix House several times doing courses to prepare me for life after discharge and that has also given Kerry a respite and time to herself with our son. It's been massively beneficial to both of us."
Contact Band of Brothers or Band of Sisters for more information, or to find out more about the pamper weekends at Phoenix House.