In a packed calendar of activities across the country this summer, Help for Heroes will provide the opportunity for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women to come together and improve their physical health and psychological wellbeing.
In the Vale of Glamorgan, Help for Heroes’ Community Recovery team, working with charity partners Mission Motorsport, have organised go karting sessions at South Wales Karting in Llandow, near Cowbridge.
Taking part in a karting session, former Flight Sergeant Jeff Robinson, 49, from Llantwit Major said “The thrill of it is incredible. It’s the first time I put a helmet on since I broke my back and neck. Because you’re so low down, even though you might only be doing 30, it feels like you’re doing 50 miles an hour. The go karts are so responsive, they turn really quickly.”
Jeff was discharged from the RAF in 2010. He said “During my time serving I sustained a number of serious injuries. Each time, it took longer and more support to recover.”
The karting experience is just one element of the support Jeff has received from Help for Heroes.
“I did last year’s Invictus Games and I’m going again this year, doing wheelchair rugby. Help for Heroes have been phenomenal. I wasn’t doing a great deal before I got involved with them and the opportunity came to trial for Invictus and it’s gone on from there. I’ve gone back to study and I’ve gone back to work as well. It’s been so positive.”
In addition to special events including a canal boat trip in Brecon, dolphin spotting in West Wales, and a Puffin Island cruise off Anglesey, the Charity holds weekly training sessions for eligible Veterans and Serving Personnel in Newport and Bridgend with activities including swimming, wheelchair tennis, cricket, circuit training and pilates, with further venues planned across Wales.
Help for Heroes’ Sports Recovery Coordinator Nick Vanderpump said, “Help for Heroes is committed to providing on-the-ground support to Veterans and Serving Personnel across Wales, in their community and at sports recovery events like the karting session in the Vale of Glamorgan. We want those who have been affected by service and their loved ones to know that we are here to support them in their recovery when they are ready.”
With a first-class degree in Sports Science from Swansea University, Nick is currently completing an MSc in Sports Psychology from Loughborough University. He added, “We have a team of specialist key workers and clinical liaison staff who know what support is available to ex-forces Personnel and are passionate about ensuring everyone gets a fair deal. We believe that those who put their lives on the line for us deserve a second chance at life for them and their families”
Dates for your diary:
Go Karting - 30 July, 17 September, 8 October
Dolphin Spotting - 4 August
Puffin Island - 25 August
Jeff Robinson, 49, from Llantwit Major took part in a go karting experience with Help for Heroes in Llandow, near Cowbridge.
Help for Heroes and Mission Motorsport ran the event at South Wales Karting.
Jeff (in red) with fellow Armed Forces Veterans at the Help for Heroes/Mission Motorsport event.
Jeff Robinson at the Help for Heroes/Mission Motorsport event.