This International Youth Day wounded veteran Rob Swindells talks about how the partnership between Help for Heroes and The Prince’s Trust is helping him to rebuild his life post-injury.
A former Lance Corporal, Rob served with the 1st Battalion in Yorkshire before a back injury abruptly ended his 13-year military career. He fell off a Warrior Tank in 2014 which caused irreparable damage to his lower spine and in November 2015, he was medically discharged from the Army.
Last year Rob was referred to the H4H/The Prince's Trust partnership by Step Together Volunteering Manager, Elaine Corner, based at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House. Having assisted on a couple of Teams, he blitzed through Team Leader Training and has since set up a very successful Team in Bath. He is now employed directly by Inner Flame.
“It was the day I officially left the Army that I got offered a full-time contract so it was clearly meant to be,” explained Rob.
“When your military career ends unexpectedly, it’s really daunting, you feel a bit lost. But thanks to Help for Heroes and The Prince’s Trust, I was able to pick out a different future for myself. Working alongside young people, who have quite often had a really difficult life, is so rewarding. You feel like you are making a difference to them and in turn, that helps with your own recovery.
“It is definitely an eye opener and makes you realise how lucky you are. You can really teach the young people something because, as a wounded soldier, you have so many parallels with them: resilience, overcoming adversity, needing to adapt and the will to fight no matter what life throws at you.”
Each year around 30 wounded, injured or sick tri-service personnel take up an opportunity with The Prince's Trust, a youth charity that helps young people aged 13 to 30 get into jobs, education and training. Since 2012, H4H has grant funded £1million to The Prince’s Trust to ensure WIS gain valuable experience in working with young people and developing leadership skills. Our partnership has already supported over 112 WIS to further develop their confidence, life skills and employability; with over 14 veterans moving directly into work across the past year alone.
Bryn Parry, CEO and Co-Founder of Help for Heroes, said: “Help for Heroes recognises that the transition into civilian life can be an incredibly daunting prospect, especially for those who are wounded, injured or sick. We are proud to be supporting The Prince’s Trust which is giving individuals a massive boost in skills and confidence. Our wounded, injured or sick hold invaluable skills and we are committed to ensuring they receive the very best support for a fulfilling second career.”
Martina Milburn CBE, The Prince’s Trust Chief Executive, added: “Our partnership with Help for Heroes plays a crucial role, not only in giving wounded, injured or sick service personnel the chance to benefit from Prince's Trust programmes; but also a unique opportunity to get involved in the delivery of our work. We believe that WIS have an incredible amount to offer. By working with Help for Heroes in this way, we will continue to help young people change their lives, whilst also supporting those leaving the services to develop the skills and confidence they need to build a brighter future.”