For Plymouth Recovery Centre beneficiary Peter Black, Christmas is undoubtedly the best time of year. An ex Royal Navy Seaman for just over 9 years, leaving the services was the hardest decision he ever had to make, and has since found the same camaraderie and friendship within Help for Heroes.
Despite suffering from severe arthritis, Peter has been involved as much as possible with the bee-keeping and the Hero Garden since he started attending H4H Plymouth in June 2013 as it allows him to work with his hands at a less demanding pace that suits him. “It’s definitely the highlight of my week. The Garden in the winter is just magical, the cold weather can put a lot of people off, but it just gives me such a sense of calm and refreshment. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of a busy bustling Centre, I love it there.”
With having almost no family around him, being in the Centre creates a sense of belonging at a very pivotal time: “I always had a great time at Christmas with my family when I was young but these days I’m often on my own, so I crave that feeling of community, and Help for Heroes more than provides that, not only for me, but for everyone here that uses the Centre. It’s such a great atmosphere with the whole Christmas experience, for example we just picked out a real Christmas tree for the centre, and we have spent all day today decorating both the tree and the communal area. It’s small things like this that you miss, it truly makes all the difference.”
Peter Explained that Help for Heroes has really helped with feelings of isolation: “It’s one of the main reasons I started coming in to the Recovery Centre and continue to come in multiple times a week. I can’t imagine Christmas time without the support and inclusion it offers.”