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On Saturday 14 August, a group of our gaming veterans came together for an epic fundraiser, streaming a tournament of the new video game, F1® 2021.

F1® 2021 is the official video game of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship and immerses players into the world of F1®, giving a taste of the lifestyle both on and off the track.

Gaming is an outlet for many, including some of our veterans who have turned to it as part of their recovery journeys.

Staying Connected

Gaming provides the ability to build communities, with a quarter of gamers playing to socialise. It has also reduced social isolation for our veterans.

Building Communication

Gaming helps people communicate when they may otherwise feel unable to. By doing something they are comfortable with, such as gaming, our veterans find it easier to open up and manage the daily challenges of their conditions.

Creating Focus

Many veterans find gaming helps them focus and can be used as a distraction from the pain and anxiety occupying their minds.

The tournament brought the benefits of gaming further and wider across the Armed Forces community. You may have seen some familiar faces such as Paul Colling, a keen gamer and supporter of our gaming initiative, Hero Up, but this time we levelled up and ventured outside the Help for Heroes community.

We partnered with Codemasters, a leading UK developer of console, PC and mobile games, who kindly provided our veterans with codes, meaning the tournament game, F1® 2021, was available to them at no cost.

“Choosing to partner with Help For Heroes and their Hero Up gaming initiative was an easy decision to make," said Jonathan Bunney, VP of Codemasters Publishing at EA. "It's an honour to collaborate with Help For Heroes, whose work not only has a profound impact on the lives of veterans but their families too.”

Codemasters content creators and influencers also got involved, gaming alongside our veterans and co-hosting the stream, helping to boost the reach of the tournament and raise even more.

And if that wasn’t enough, our veterans were given special access to test out new features of F1® 2021, including new cars and tracks.

What a fantastic way to raise awareness and fundraise. On behalf of everyone at Help for Heroes, we’d like to say a massive thank you to Codemasters and our veterans for putting on the tournament, which has raised over £600, in support of our wounded and their families.

“Watching how everyone got involved and talked about Help for Heroes, it is more than just racing and it is more than just a game – it is bringing people together” – Paul Colling.

The tournament may have finished but you can still donate and give strength to those who gave for us.

Our gaming veterans have now raised over £6,700 through Hero Up and they aren't stopping any time soon. We can't wait to see what they do next.