The Help for Heroes Rehabilitation Complex at DMRC Headley Court

Sergeant Dave Corcoran in the aqua jogger

On Friday 4 June 2010, His Royal Highness, Prince William Duke of Cambridge opened the Help for Heroes Rehabilitation Complex at Headley Court – the very first project which the Charity was formed to deliver.

Prince William formally opened the Complex by speaking of his pride in his fellow Servicemen, and the members of the British public who have supported Help for Heroes, saying: "Always supportive of its men in uniform, this country has been elevated by Help for Heroes to a state realisation and proactive support for our military which has made me very, very proud to be British and a member of our Armed Forces."

During the Prince’s visit to the Complex, he met Sergeant Dave Corcoran, a Royal Marine, who was demonstrating the state of the art aqua jogger which allows patients to run in water, taking the weight of joints and muscles allowing them to build up their muscles safely and gradually. Dave told the Prince: "This place works miracles. I’m walking now without any aid and hopefully I’ll be able to return to service in January."

The Prince also spoke to Lieutenant Will Dixon who lost his left leg below the knee after his vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device in December. He told the Prince: "The facilities here are unbelievable and it is all thanks to the British public, which makes it even more important to us."

State of the art facilities

The £8.5 million Help for Heroes Rehabilitation Complex includes a sports hall with a sprung floor, a cardiovascular gym with an anti-gravity treadmill, treatment rooms, regional rehabilitation unit and gait analysis centre. The gait analysis centre is a highly specialised environment which enables staff at Headley Court to scientifically measure how patients walk; this is especially valuable in helping patients who are learning to walk with prosthetic limbs.

The Complex also features a 25-metre, five lane wide swimming pool with a movable floor. This allows activities to be carried out at variable depths, helping the physiotherapy staff to adjust treatment regimens to meet the needs of their patients. The pool has been designed so that two different groups of patients can exercise in it at the same time ensuring optimum use of the facilities. The deep end of the swimming pool also includes controllable jets for patients to carry out resistance training.  At the end of a long day’s rehabilitation, the Complex also hosts a Jacuzzi where the men and women can relax and ease their well worked bodies.

Major Stacy Mcqueeney, Officer Commanding of the centre for lower limb rehabilitation, based in the Complex when it opened, explained what the new building and facilities meant for her patients and staff: “This is the first time at Headley Court we have had a purpose-built facility rather than having to work around an original infrastructure. The new complex is the perfect environment for the delivery of care and it is functionally and practically much better than anything we have before. It is a very calm place, a quiet and tranquil environment which of course is fantastic for both patients and staff. This stems from the space there is available – staff and patients are content because they have the freedom to move. This allows patients to focus on their rehabilitation and there has already been a marked improvement in their recovery."

Recognising our wonderful supporters

Pathway Of Support - HeadleyIn addition to the amazing facilities in the Rehabilitation Complex, Help for Heroes really wanted to set in stone a reminder to those using the Complex that fundraising for the facilities was done by the public in recognition for their sacrifices.

To achieve this, Help for Heroes created what is now called the ‘Pathway of Support’ leading up to the entrance of the Complex. Here, each engraved paving stone represents the challenging, creative and downright crazy fundraising efforts of members of the British public. These include ‘Octogenarian David jumped out of a plane’, ‘Terry, 5, cycled in the park without stabilisers’ and ‘Ben swam the channel’.

The fact that the Complex was built with funds raised by the British public has also had a huge impact. Major Mcqueeney explained: "Quite often patients are late to their classes because they have stopped to read the engraved paving stones, so even before they enter the complex there is a sense of occasion. It means so much to them that the sacrifices they have made have been recognised, that the building they are using for their recovery was given to them by the British public and that, I think, has made as much of a difference as the Complex and its contents."

Headley Court rehabilitation complex

The Help for Heroes Rehabilitation Complex really is a standing symbol of the British public’s respect for the members of our Armed Forces and every single brick, tile and slate was paid for by you. Help for Heroes is about the ‘blokes’, the men and women of our Armed Forces, but it us also about you, the British public. Now there are patients swimming in the pool, receiving the best care possible and that is thanks to each and every one of you.

 

What will happen to Help for Heroes funded facilities at Headley Court when it relocates?

The decision to relocate the Ministry of Defence’s Headley Court Rehabilitation facility was made by the MoD.   

In 2018, the part of Headley Court that Help for Heroes funded (the Pool, a Gym and the Gait Analysis lab) will be transferred along with all the other parts of the Rehab facility to a bigger, purpose-built centre at Stanford Hall near Loughborough in Leicestershire.

The cost of this is being met by the Duke of Westminster’s charity, Black Stork.

 

Thank you to Getty Images {www.gettyimages.co.uk}, Gill Shaw {www.gillshaw.co.uk}, BFBS {www.bfbs.co.uk}, Pride and Peter Noyce {www.pnpimage.co.uk} for the use of their photographs.

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