Help for Heroes exists to give our country's Heroes one less battle to fight. Anyone who has been affected by their Military Service deserves a fair deal and the opportunity to live secure and healthy lives with purpose.
Around one in five of those leaving the military each year do so as a result of being wounded, injured or sick. Tens of thousands more Veterans also need support. The challenges they face are changing, and the pressure on our services is increasing. Please pledge what you can to support our appeal and be a Force for Change.
If you would like to talk to someone about your support please contact our Philanthropy team on email@example.com or 0300 303 3888.
BE A FORCE FOR CHANGE
We are urgently seeking support to help us protect the future for our Veterans. Change for all those we want to help can only be achieved with the commitment of people like you. It is unthinkable to accept a situation in which we turn our backs on our wounded and it is becoming harder to raise the funds we need to support them.
We know we can change the outlook for those who ask us for help, but we must change our financial position to ensure we will be there for them for life. We are calling on philanthropists and advocates who share our vision to pledge to be a force for change and support our appeal. This is your chance to make a difference and to give our Heroes one less battle to fight.
YOUR PLEDGE TO SUPPORT THE FORCE FOR CHANGE
Could fund five Fellowship weekends for our Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters, offering support and camaraderie for families from others who are living in similar circumstances
Could enable 14 Veterans to participate in a life-changing sub-aqua diving expedition – facing challenges and rebuilding confidence, trust and purpose to support their recovery journeys
Could contribute towards a year of essential occupational therapy support at one of our Recovery Centres, helping Veterans to regain their independence and rebuild their everyday lives
Could pay for 18 Veterans to attend a six-day Business Experience Course, where they could learn the vital skills they need to set up their own businesses and navigate civvy street
Could make a transformational contribution to one of our recovery programmes
WE LOOK FORWARD TO WELCOMING SUPPORTERS AT KEY EVENTS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR AND SHARING THE IMPACT OF YOUR DONATION
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There is a new chapter to be written as we tackle the challenge ahead. We are under pressure financially amid increasing demand for support. In 2016 and 2017 we had to draw from our reserves to pay our bills. Without certain flexibility, this would not have been possible. Against a backdrop of falling income, we have looked closely at our assets and what we still need to retain and honour our commitments.
We hold just two years’ of Recovery Centre and Recovery services running costs and less than 12 months’ Charity running costs. Assuming no change in military engagement, we need to raise in the region of £28 million each year to fund our current fundraising and charitable activities, and of course, we want to do more. We need to stabilise and reverse the decline in income to move forward; only those who support our vision can help us to surpass this figure.
We cannot expect our position to fundamentally change without help. Securing more strategic pledged income will help us to plan with confidence.
A FAIR DEAL FOR ALL CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED WITH THE HELP OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU.
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Every penny raised is done so with the express purpose of fulfilling our promise: to give our nation’s Heroes one less battle to fight. We are eternally grateful for the support of the Great British public for rallying around our troops as they already have. Here is an overview of how we spend the funds raised to give more Servicemen and women secure, healthy and purposeful lives.
£1.9 M - GRANTS MADE
21.9M - Recovery delivery
£1.8M - CHAMPIONING THE WOUNDED
We put all the funds we receive to work to make remarkable things happen for our beneficiaries.
Each recovery journey will look different: whether success means competing at elite sport, learning to live with life-changing injuries or chronic illness, achieving peace through art or running a business and providing for a family, our aim is for anyone affected by their military service to feel safe and secure, mentally and physically well, and to enjoy a sense of purpose.
Our specialist teams provide holistic pathways which inspire, enable and support the individual using our core operating model.
The Help for Heroes Career Recovery programme offers courses, qualifications, work experience, networking, training and volunteering, providing our Veterans with the opportunities to gain:
- The skills, knowledge and experience to thrive and lead meaningful, active, fulfilling and independent lives with purpose.
- The confidence to access opportunities, set goals and be optimistic about the future.
- Our Career Advisors supported 78 Veterans who asked for help to find work. Those with the greatest need for support from the Careers Advisors reported a 100% increase in scores for aspiration; 86% increase for job search skills; 75% increase in basic skills and a 60% increase in stability.
- 64 Veterans participated in our Pathfinder Course. We also ran a pilot course for members of the Help for Heroes Band of Sisters.
- 62 Veterans attended our Business Experience course; between October 2017 – September 2018 there were 74 start-ups.
“Help for Heroes allowed me to reach my potential and provided me with the tools to get there. There are many Veterans in the community with an abundance of skills and talent which should be nurtured.” Kev Gray, Veteran.
Medically discharged in 1995, following a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Kev Gray struggled with the abrupt end of a career that had seen him serve around the world.
“I was distraught. The only thing I’d ever wanted to be was a soldier. To have that taken away from me due to a mental health disorder was very difficult to deal with.” Following his discharge, Kev threw himself into charity work but continued to struggle with his mental health.
During a particularly tough period nearly 17 years later, Kev contacted Help for Heroes. As part of his Career Recovery journey, the Charity enrolled him on a seven-month rocking horse making the course at their Catterick Recovery Centre.
His time on the course introduced him to fellow Veterans facing similar challenges, which helped his mental health. And after 17 years spent seeking purpose, Kev discovered his hidden potential.
Through this course, Kev acquired the skills to set up his own business. Today, he makes rocking horses to order: “Help for Heroes has allowed me to reach my potential and provided me with the tools to get there. There are many Veterans in the community with an abundance of skills and talent which should be nurtured.”
Kev is one of many wounded, injured and sick Veterans navigating a new path in life. Many have not yet even started their journey. Your support will help more like Kev to unleash their potential and allow them to use their skills to live proud and purposeful lives once more.
Our Veterans Clinical Liaison Service helps beneficiaries identify the best possible treatment and care options via statutory and other providers.
Veterans’ Clinical Advisors are the initial point for beneficiaries with serious complex injuries. They can help manage their long-term health issues by advising on hospital appointments and on treatment and prosthetics.
This service encourages early intervention to reduce the likelihood of additional health complications and enable individuals to make good decisions about their care.
Working with GPs and NHS networks, we aim to engage with existing and potential beneficiaries to minimise the risk of Veterans suffering from preventable complications and life-changing injuries in silence.
Key Workers liaise closely with the Grants team to identify extra support for those who require help with their treatment and equipment.
- More than 1,400 Veterans have been supported by our Veterans’ Clinical Advisors to date
- 894 beneficiaries were supported by Clinical Services in the last year.
DISCOVER HOW BRENDAN’S LIFE HAS BEEN CHANGED AFTER RECEIVING REVOLUTIONARY EQUIPMENT AND TREATMENT TO HELP HIS RECOVERY FROM A STROKE
Brendan Gordon saw active tours of Kosovo and Northern Ireland until a stroke took away the use of his right arm:
“I went from being a medic saving
people, to not being able to do anything. I tried to take my own life after it happened. I just couldn’t see a future; life wasn’t worth living.”
After receiving treatment Brendan served for a further two years, but his right hand remained permanently locked and he was medically discharged in 2012.
Visiting the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester, Brendan began a programme of health and physical wellbeing activities, such as yoga, to assist with his ongoing recovery.
He also met a local physiotherapist who introduced him to the SaeboGlove – an innovative mobility technology which extends the tendons and retrains the brain:
“My physios told me the brain must do something 7,000 times for it to remember. Mine had forgotten I had a right hand as it has been clenched for five years. The glove makes my hand tell my brain it’s still there.”
The glove was so successful that Brendan applied to Help for Heroes for a grant to purchase one. He has since been practising at home for up to six hours a day.
Having the means to access this cutting-edge technology-enabled Brendan to lift his arm and open and close his hand. And when it comes to the future, Brendan’s determination combined with his “miracle glove” will enable further astonishing results:
“It’s difficult to put into words what this means: thanks to Help for Heroes I feel reborn again. There is now a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Help for Heroes Band of Brothers is a Fellowship group for Veterans, Service Personnel and those who have served alongside our Armed Forces who have suffered a permanently life-limiting or career-ending injury or illness attributable to their Service.
“Being a Band of Brother and spending time at the Charity’s Recovery Centres has boosted my recovery. I’ve been on courses, including one on nutrition, relaxed in the beautiful gardens and got away from it all.”
Carl Shadrake, Veteran
We know that many wounded, injured and sick Veterans suffer from isolation as a result of their circumstances and that many miss the camaraderie and stability of the Armed Forces framework which they have had to leave behind.
The Band of Brothers Fellowship offers lifelong access to all the Charity’s services, as well as providing events and opportunities to meet others who are living through similar experiences.
Membership is free, confidential and offers access to opportunities all around the UK. Of those who attended regional Fellowship events and completed an evaluation survey in 2017-18:
- 93% met new people and 62% will keep in touch with members that they have met for the first time
- 46% talked about things they don’t normally talk about
- 50% found out about support available to them that they didn’t know about before (85% will contact Help for Heroes for support)
DISCOVER HOW FIVE MILITARY TOURS CHANGED CARL’S LIFE, AND HOW HIS LIFE HAS TURNED AROUND WITH SUPPORT FROM HELP FOR HEROES.
During his first tour of Afghanistan in 2007, Carl Shadrake’s carotid artery was punctured – he lost eight pints of blood.
Following six months in recovery, Carl continued to serve and returned to Afghanistan in 2012, where an IED blast left him with shrapnel wounds, facial burns and shoulder damage.
A month after his second injury, Carl learned that his brother Jamie – also serving in Afghanistan – had been killed. Devastated, his life took a downward spiral:
“I started to struggle psychologically. Jamie joined my unit and I constantly thought ‘was he only there because of me?’”
Together, Carl and his wife tried to carry on with life as best they could, but it was clear they needed help. Carl’s injuries and experiences had changed him, and it was affecting their lives. Hearing about Help for Heroes, Carl joined the Band of Brothers Fellowship. Since becoming a member, his life has been turned around:
“Being a Band of Brother and spending time
at the Charity’s Recovery Centres has boosted my recovery. I’ve been on courses, including one on nutrition, relaxed in the beautiful gardens and got away from it all. The staff and the atmosphere are great, they help you instantly relax.”
Carl’s family has also received support through the Help for Heroes Band of Sisters Fellowship – which Carl feels is exceptionally important:
“The family plays such a crucial role, so it’s great to know that people are supporting families as well as Service Personnel and Veterans.”
The Help for Heroes Band of Sisters is a fellowship group for the loved ones – men, women and families – of Veterans and Service Personnel who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses.
We know that family members are often a driving force in a recovery journey, but it can be stressful and place strain on family relationships. Many find that their own physical and mental wellbeing is also directly affected.
Our fellowship network offers a safe environment to access support and a listening ear, and opportunities to meet others who understand what it’s like to care for a loved one living with illness or injury. The Band of Sisters Fellowship helps beneficiaries to:
Access well-coordinated advice, guidance, care and support
Feel less isolated and have an
increased sense of belonging
Connect to and spend quality time with family, friends and others in a similar position.
- Membership across the Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters increased by 1,714 to 11,396.
- More than 10,000 participants attended just over 600 events across the UK; from respite weekends to mindfulness sessions organised by our team of regional coordinators.
DISCOVER HOW ENISE AND HER FAMILY BENEFITTED FROM THE SUPPORT OF THE BAND OF SISTERS.
Enise Davis’ life was turned upside down when her husband, Jamie, broke seven vertebrae on a parachute exercise. After the accident, the mother of two prepared to bring her husband home in a wheelchair.
“Life was manic, I was stressed out and things could have gone from bad to worse who knows what toll it would have taken on my health?"
Realising the family needed support, the couple contacted Help for Heroes. Enise joined the Charity’s Band of Sisters Fellowship, whilst Jamie regularly visited the gym at our Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Colchester. The support Enise received has helped her whole family.
“At first I didn’t feel I deserved everything the Band of Sisters offered – I thought others needed it more. But it soon became clear the Fellowship would benefit me. I’ve since tried everything from a photography course to respite weekends. I also pop in for holistic therapy; mindfulness is my favourite and I’m set to try reiki soon. I’ve realised that by looking after myself, I can look after others more effectively."
Thanks to the Band of Sisters, Enise can calmly confront the daily challenges supporting a loved one with a lifechanging
injury brings. And the whole family has been able to adjust to life outside the military.
“Help for Heroes has given me the tools to learn how to calm down and deal with situations differently".
Help for Heroes provides grants to individuals to help them live secure and healthy lives. Grants are made available for housing adaptations, sports and therapeutic experiences and equipment, vocational and employment opportunities and financial hardship.
We also grant-fund a small number of charity and research partners who provide complementary services, ensuring our funding has the highest impact and broadest reach. Our Grants programme gives beneficiaries the chance to:
Adapt to, and manage to the best of their ability the impact of their injury or illness
Live in safe, stable and affordable homes, adapted to their needs
Feel safe and secure, and lead productive and purposeful lives.
- We awarded £1.3 million in individual grants towards 982 requests from our beneficiaries
- We extended £1.1 million to over 45 organisations who support our wounded’s ongoing recovery
- Awarded our 10,000th individual grant.
DISCOVER HOW AN INDIVIDUAL GRANT HELPED ROB TO TACKLE HIS PTSD BY TAKING ON A LIFE-CHANGING ENDURANCE CHALLENGE.
Despite knowing he suffered from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Rob Shenton’s medical discharge came as a blow.
Afraid that talking about mental health issues would affect his civilian career, Rob spoke to Help for Heroes. The Charity’s Hidden Wounds service empowered him to take better care of himself and realise that sharing his experiences would help others come to terms with their own issues. Not only has this positively impacted Rob’s health, but he has also realised transparency about mental health has opened, rather than closed, doors at work.
“I’ve joined a mental health executive committee at work and am part of a buddy network for people suffering from mental health issues. “This has created a network allowing openness and positivity. I’m also setting up a military Veterans’ support group to promote the Armed Forces Covenant and the power and positivity that Veterans can bring into the workplace.”
Help for Heroes has also supported Rob to achieve his toughest challenge yet – the North Pole Marathon: “I didn’t think it would happen because my focus was on trying to get as well as I could, but Help for Heroes were positive about the challenge. They helped get me to the North Pole. Suffering from mental illness means I don’t have much confidence in my ability. It’s key to
surround myself with positive people – Help for Heroes is that positive influence.”
Anyone learning to live with an injury or mental health problem attributable to their service deserves a fair deal – especially when they’ve served to keep us safe. Grant funding plays a crucial part in the recovery journeys of wounded, injured and sick Veterans and Service Personnel. Your support will help people like Rob access the tools and experiences they need to change their lives.
A huge portfolio of Health and Physical wellbeing courses and activities is available to beneficiaries and their families.
Help for Heroes provides opportunities ranging from art to woodwork, pilates to yoga, music, exercise sessions and crafts.
Many beneficiaries have found relief and purpose through therapeutic activities which have helped them to further their recovery and come to terms with their circumstances. Last year our Health and Physical Wellbeing teams ran more than 500 different activities and events for over 9,000 participants. Participants reported the following outcomes:
76% are looking forward to the future more
94% have made friends
83% feel more relaxed
73% feel healthier
69% are doing more physical activity.
DISCOVER HOW NICK ENGAGED WITH NEW ACTIVITIES WHICH HELPED HIM ON HIS JOURNEY TO THE INVICTUS GAMES.
Nick Martin served in the Royal Navy until 1986. While most of his life at sea was on board survey ships, he saw action in the Falklands. “I was on the Atlantic Conveyor when she was hit, which is why my participation with Help for Heroes came about.”
PTSD had a huge effect on Nick’s everyday life. He didn’t go out or take part in anything but solitary activities. Since approaching Help for Heroes, he’s had support to engage with others and take part in group activities such as the Invictus Games Choir, baking and sporting events.
This gave him the confidence to apply for the 2018 Invictus Games. Having watched the past two Games, the 62-year-old felt inspired to take part.
“I realised that I want to challenge myself,” said Nick. “I’ve allowed my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to control the way that I have seen and led my life over many years. I now see life as a blessing, not a burden. I’ve changed things.
“I try new things. It isn’t easy to get out of the rut but I’m peering over the parapet. I am ready to live a productive, healthy life again.”
As well as taking part in the Games, Nick exhibited his artwork at our Creative Force exhibition, a showcase of the power of creativity in recovery, in 2018, and sings with the Invictus Games Choir. “Help for Heroes has been like having a big brother who just looks after you. The feeling of self-worth that I am part of an organisation that helps others and helps me is just brilliant.”
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Of service leavers with a long term need, we know that over 90% of those needs will be mental health challenges.
Our Psychological Wellbeing team offers free, confidential services to support Veterans and their families.
Our aim is to ensure that our beneficiaries:
- Have adapted to, and are managing effectively, the impact of their injury
- Can always access well-coordinated advice, guidance, care and support
- Receive the right support to access the care pathway they need, where and when they need it.
- Over the last four years, our Hidden Wounds service has supported more than 2,144 people
- Research has revealed that one in four loved ones felt their own wellbeing and mental health was directly affected by a family member’s situation
- We highlighted to the Defence Select Committee areas where Government action is required to ensure Veterans have access to appropriate mental health care
- Last year our Psychological Wellbeing Advisers delivered 12 workshops and courses, from Families Workshops to Compassionate Resilience courses and Anger Management workshops, to 138 participants.
DISCOVER HOW NICK’S LIFE CHANGED WITH SUPPORT FROM OUR PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLBEING TEAM
Nick Thomas served in the Army until an arm injury led to his medical discharge. However, it was the hidden wounds from his time in service that would vastly impact his life:
“I was suddenly on my own. My battalion in Northern Ireland were my friends and family. I didn’t know how to be a dad or partner, so hid behind drink.”
Frequently arrested, Nick’s life spiralled out of control until a judge told him to take action or face prison: “At that point I sought medical help. I started a prescription but drank through it. There was something wrong with me, but I didn’t know what.”
Immersing himself in a new career, Nick was frequently away from home – leaving his wife, Kerry, to raise their children. After many years, Nick reached his limit and tried to take his own life.
Attempting to escape his demons, Nick and the family moved to Cornwall. But he continued to struggle: “I became aggressive. My wife didn’t know if I’d be a loving husband. My daughter was petrified of me. That’s not me. It tore me apart.”
Once again, Nick contemplated taking his own life – at this point, he realised he needed support and approached Help for Heroes. Visiting the Charity’s Plymouth Recovery Centre, Nick received help from the Psychological Wellbeing team and his family encountered a new support network through the Band of Sisters fellowship.
Now diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), both Nick and his family better understand his condition. Nick’s employers have also been made aware, which has enabled better support: “As a family, it’s amazing to see the change. Help for Heroes has not only looked after me, it has looked after my family”
Countless ex-Armed Forces families, like Nick’s, face the daily demons of hidden wounds. The number of those medically discharged due to mental health issues continues to increase. Your support will help families like Nick’s confront their demons and discover a happier and healthier way of life.
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Sport enables our beneficiaries to maintain active, independent and healthy lives, rebuild confidence and find purpose.
Sports Recovery provides opportunities for our beneficiaries through three pathways:
Recreational: participating in grassroots sport enables more active and independent lives
Employment, education and training teaches transferable skills and qualifications as leaders, coaches and officials
Performance: enables pathways into elite sports events such as the Paralympic and Warrior Games. Since the Invictus Games launched in 2014, hundreds of wounded British military personnel and Veterans have represented their country, county, city or club in sporting events at home and further afield through the Help for Heroes-run UK delegation
Since 2014, more than 2,700 wounded, injured and sick Veterans have applied to be part of UK’s Invictus team.
DISCOVER HOW A PASSION FOR SPORT HAS HELPED KELLY THRIVE AGAINST A BACKDROP OF SERIOUS ILLNESS
Kelly was a young Corporal in the Army when, in 2003, she was diagnosed with a blood disorder that triggered a series of strokes, which led lead to a medical discharge.
After she was discharged, everything was a battle. Kelly spent 10 years learning to live with the repercussions of her brain injury, which causes visual impairment and memory problems. Still struggling, Kelly approached Help for Heroes for support in 2014. Within months she was taking part in things she never thought possible.
She gained a scuba-diving qualification, learned how to ‘join-up’ with horses, a known technique which increases confidence and trust. Kelly also ran the London Marathon.
“A few years ago I never thought I’d be able to do the activities I’ve had the chance to do with Help for Heroes. Since my brain injury, I didn’t think I could retain, process and remember the things I’ve learnt. It reinforces that anything is possible.”
Kelly trialled to compete in the Invictus Games in 2017. She was selected to represent the UK in Toronto and again in Sydney 2018, competing in athletics and rowing. She needs support using rowing machines as she cannot see the screen and she runs with a guide, but she no longer lets this stop her from training hard. Kelly received specialist coaching from a guide runner.
Sport is so much more than just a pastime: it has the power to transform lives. Your support can help others like Kelly to rebuild their identity, realise their purpose and discover a new future.
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Help for Heroes Welfare Support Hubs are available to all wounded, injured and sick Serving Personnel, Veterans, their families and carers.
Our Welfare Support Hubs bring together a dedicated team of welfare specialists from a range of service charities and organisations to collectively offer advice and guidance on a multitude of issues such as money, health, housing and respite.
Each Support Hub can help with advice and guidance on the following issues:
- Financial planning, benefits, budgeting, debt recovery and pensions
- Health support and advice – including Prosthetics advice, psychological wellbeing support, hearing loss and visual impairment advice and advice on assistance dogs
- Training, education and employment, including Transition programmes for personnel leaving the Armed Forces
- Family and relationship support, respite and holidays, and hospital visit support
- Housing options and home adaptations. Key Workers work closely with beneficiaries who approach the Charity with multiple complex needs and stay in regular contact with them as their circumstances improve.
Simon Vaughan was serving in Helmand Province when his Land Rover hit an IED. Army medics feared he would not survive the journey home and fought to keep him alive.
Left with a serious brain injury, Simon and his family faced new daily challenges together; one was ensuring he had a safe and accessible home to live in.
In 2009 he purchased a bungalow, but when construction work began to adapt it to his needs, builders discovered it was structurally unsafe. It had to be demolished and rebuilt, and when work was unfinished, Simon was left living in an unsafe house without a completion certificate:
“It was a living nightmare. My mental health really suffered, and I wasn’t sleeping. I became so angry when I realised the state the house was in.” With his only option to stop speech and language therapy to afford the mounting costs, Simon approached Help for Heroes for a grant.
He was awarded £5,000 to make the necessary home improvements, including installing smoke detectors, repairing ceilings and cracks on the floor, obtaining a gas safety certificate for the boiler and installing vents and a gas bottle store.
The work finally made his house a home: “When I found out Help for Heroes was going to support me, I couldn’t stop smiling. A weight was lifted from my shoulders and it relieved so much pressure. It was my happiest Christmas in a long time.”
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