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Recovery is about finding ways to live a healthy, purposeful and secure life, despite the challenges of an ongoing injury or illness. When a military career comes to an end for medical reasons, the future can seem overwhelming. Our Recovery College team is here to help those we support take steps in their recovery journey that put them in control of their future.

Recovery College has courses that give veterans and their families practical help to support the progression of their recovery journey.

One of these courses is Financial Wellbeing: Taking Back Control, which has been co-produced with our fantastic partner, St. James’s Place.

Colleagues from St. James’s Place have also been trained by our Recovery College team to deliver the course alongside our Peer Trainers, achieving City & Guilds Level 2 Trainer Skills certificates.

In celebration of Global Money Week, we caught up with Louise from St. James’s Place who has co-facilitated the first course this year. 

What is your background?

I was a Warfare Officer in the Royal Navy, prior to medical discharge in 2017. At that point I had become permanently disabled so I retrained in finance. My career culminated as a small ship navigator before spending the last portion of my time in the Royal Navy in and out of Headley Court. 

Tell us about the Financial Wellbeing course

Over the course of five weeks, we have delivered a series of lessons designed to not only give a good foundation level of financial understanding, but give attendees the tools to go away and use this knowledge to make positive changes to their circumstances. 

What is your role within Help for Heroes’ Recovery College Financial Wellbeing course?

I have delivered the first ever course alongside the brilliant Vikki from Help for Heroes. I was a part of the team that developed and created the course too. 

How have you found delivering the course?

I find finance fascinating and, as a beneficiary of the charity myself, have been acutely aware of wanting to make the course a useful, enjoyable and fun experience for the attendees. I have loved spending this time every Monday delivering the content, even surgery a few days ago couldn’t keep me away. 

What do you think the impact has been for our beneficiaries on the course?

The big change I have seen even in a short period of time is the growth in confidence of our group. The confidence to address their financial situation and the knowledge to make useful changes to improve their situation is a huge and very tangible impact we have had. 

What has been the most enjoyable part of delivering the course?

Every week seeing the group, catching up and hearing the ‘wins’ of the week really does lift my spirits. Throughout our prolonged development of the course, we had aimed to give people tools to improve their situation and to see that happening in real time is incredible. 

What has been your biggest takeaway from being a part of our Recovery College?

On a personal note, it has shown me that perhaps I could benefit myself from being more involved as a beneficiary of the charity. The College is great and working closely with the team I have learnt of so many opportunities the charity provide for wounded, injured and sick servicepeople, I am quite excited to see what else is out there. Other than during my time at Headley Court, I shield away from help, but actually living as a disabled veteran is not easy and the support network is there. 

Why do you think the Financial Wellbeing course is important?

Financial wellbeing in many ways underpins other factors of wellbeing. Where you have stress over finance, your sleep is impaired, your health can be affected and your enjoyment of life can be drained. There are simple tools and a basic level of understanding that, once obtained, can alleviate a lot of the stress and give back the control to the individual and that is what we are delivering. 

Is there anything that you have learnt as a result of being involved in this course?

Plenty of fun tips from our group, such as the fact that veterans are able to get a blue light card. I have been using the tools personally along with the group and it’s been a very interesting experience. We have shared ideas, thoughts and tips throughout the course and that in itself has been worth learning. 

Why should businesses get involved with charities?

The benefit to the business is so great, it is interesting that it is not more utilised. When a business person takes time out to be involved with a charity, news skills are learnt.

Personally, I got my City and Guilds level 2 in Introduction to Trainer Skills. I have learnt to work with more vulnerable individuals with different levels of financial understanding, and my ability as an adviser has benefited from involvement with the charity.

It is not just the tangible skills that can be learnt though. Having delivered a course about wellbeing, being involved with charities gives individuals a great sense of wellbeing which, as we have discussed, can have positive impacts on all areas of life. This can result in a more effective workforce.

I am personally involved with Help for Heroes because I am passionate to serve, and to be able to give back to the charity that helped me when I was at Headley Court means the world to me. 

A huge well done and thank you to Louise and our colleagues at St. James’s Place for co-producing and co-facilitating the Financial Wellbeing course. Your support makes a huge difference to our wounded veterans and their families.

Find out more about our Recovery College