GE employees around the UK have rallied round and played their part in helping to raise £350,000 to provide lifelong support to wounded, injured or sick Service Personnel and Veterans.
GE UK has raised the staggering amount over the past two years as part of a company-wide drive that has included a week of hero-themed wellbeing activity, auctions of promises, charity bike rides, bake offs, “Tough Mudder” challenges, and concerts.
The incredible fundraising effort is now directly helping to rebuild lives after funding a state-of-the-art GE Wellbeing Suite at the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Providing first-class rehabilitation for conditions such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), the facility offers a range of activities and therapies such as yoga, Pilates, sleep clinics, Tai Chi and nutrition workshops, as well as a designated “quiet space” for individual practice and reflection.
Mark Elborne, President and CEO of GE UK, commended the sterling efforts of GE employees across the country who have rallied together to raise the £350,000.
He said: “We are very proud to have partnered with Help for Heroes, GE’s first national fundraising partner, to help provide vital physical and mental wellbeing support for veterans and service people.
“Thousands of GE employees from around the UK, many of whom are veterans and reservists, have rallied together for GE’s first national fundraising cause. It is thanks to their commitment – from taking part in physical challenges like Tough Mudder to setting up choirs and rock bands to provide musical entertainment – that we have been able to achieve our £350,000 target.”
Physical and mental wellbeing are equally important in aiding recovery and the GE Wellbeing Suite is already making a significant difference to Help for Heroes’ beneficiaries, giving them the opportunity to relax, unwind and take time out from the busy Recovery Centre environment.
John Crudgington, Head of Health and Physical Wellbeing at Help for Heroes, said: “Undertaking regular exercise is key to a long and healthy life, and activities such as yoga and relaxation have been shown to improve both physical and psychological wellbeing.
“A peaceful and calm environment is a necessity when delivering activities of this nature, and the provision of a dedicated Wellbeing Suite has enabled us to develop our wellbeing offering and support our beneficiaries in achieving improved sleep, improved relaxation and increased confidence in their own abilities.”
Former soldier John Noble, who served for two years in Bosnia, has found taking part in yoga the key to improving his wellbeing.
The 52-year-old, from Glasgow, suffers from PTSD after completing three successive tours between 1998 and 2000. His gradual rehabilitation has been boosted by taking part in yoga sessions at the Help for Heroes Phoenix House Recovery Centre in Catterick.
The former Royal Logistics Corps private said: “I really didn’t think yoga was for me but having the opportunity to give it a go I now know just how beneficial it is. It helps me with my breathing, opening up my chest and I have been sleeping better.
“I was very nervous before trying yoga for the first time. It was the unknown, but once I had my first session under my belt, I loved it!”
Former Army Corporal Paul Nichol has Cauda Equina Syndrome, which affects his lower limbs and back. He has found yoga beneficial both physically and mentally.
The 40-year-old, who lives in Catterick and is originally from Northumberland, said: “It has helped my strength and mobility and, therefore, my mindfulness.
“I started off having to do the classes from a chair but, such is the improvement in my balance, that I am now able to stand and use the floor mat.
“Having benefited so much from yoga, I have now incorporate it into my own exercise programme which I carry out regularly, on my own, in the wellbeing room.”
Mel Waters, CEO of Help for Heroes, said: “I would like to thank all employees for their ongoing commitment to our veterans and support for Help for Heroes.
“The value of sport and physical activity in the maintenance of health, wellbeing and independence should not be underestimated, and promoting this continues to be at the very heart of what Help for Heroes does.
“The GE Wellbeing Suite is proving to be an excellent addition to Phoenix House, and is already helping our beneficiaries achieve their goals and aspirations, and supporting them so they can live independent and fulfilling lives.”
The GE Wellbeing Suite was officially opened at a ceremony on 14th June by Mel Waters and Neil Beardsmore, a GE Community Investment Board Member and Stafford Site Leader.