Local Afghan interpreters, and those in similar roles, have put their lives on the line over the last twenty years. Standing side by side with our troops, they supported us in our time of need. To many servicemen and women, they were more than just allies: they were friends.
Now, more than ever, they need the nation’s support.
Help for Heroes has always recognised the efforts of civilians embedded in the Armed Forces, who served under UK command.
Since 2016, we have been supporting wounded, injured and sick embedded civilians, and their families, from Afghanistan and other conflicts, who have relocated to the UK. Safe relocation from Afghanistan is merely the first step in their journeys.
Many arrive in the UK facing the same injuries and traumas that the veterans we support face.
They are experiencing everything from psychological trauma and the effects of displacement; to physical health challenges, including limb amputations and long-term pain and mobility issues; and welfare support needs.
“It brings me happiness to know that one of the most prominent military charities in the UK is showing solidarity with interpreters. Those arriving from Afghanistan will face problems accessing support and Help for Heroes is there as a sign of hope and a warm welcome for them.” - former Afghan interpreter, Nazir Ayeen
We have the expertise, knowledge, and skills to continue providing the support they need and deserve. To ensure that we can offer adequate support to arriving interpreters and those in similar roles, we are recruiting a small team to increase our capacity to deliver services to those living with visible and hidden injury and illness.
The addition of this new team will allow us to manage the recent spike in need from Afghan interpreters and embedded civilians, whilst delivering the same level of service and support to fulfil our promise to be here for wounded veterans and their families for life.
We are pleased that our calls for funding and recognition of the impact of these events on all veterans, and their families - no matter where or when they served - have been heard by the Government. We look forward to finding out the full details of the proposed £5 million funding for military charities, and how it will be allocated.
We will work hard to hopefully ensure we can benefit from it, to continue delivering our high level of support. Although we welcome this latest announcement from the government, we are also calling on them to support the urgent needs of Afghan interpreters and embedded civilians arriving in the UK, with additional funding and access to appropriate services.
“They (interpreters) were a real asset. Without them, many more lives would have been lost, without a doubt. They worked for, and stood with, us and we should stand up for them now.” - former Royal Marine and Help for Heroes Case Manager, Larry Holmes
We fight for those who fought for, and with, us.
The situation in Afghanistan may be distressing for anyone who has served or been affected by conflict. Please look out for each other and if you are a wounded veteran or a family member struggling, please get in touch with our team.