A partnership between Help for Heroes and Haig Housing Trust is enabling a wounded veteran to rebuild his life post injury.
Stuart Holcroft, 40, of Richmond, Yorkshire, was injured in a freak pre-deployment training accident in January 2012. The extent of his injuries meant he needed an adaptable home, and thanks to £75,000 of funding from military charity Help for Heroes, this was made possible for him and his family.
Haig Housing Trust (HHT) was established in 2008 to provide individual housing solutions for veterans in need, with priority for those with serious injury, disability or illness. To date, Help for Heroes have provided £2.6million of funding to HHT to help provide specially adapted and appropriate housing for the hundreds of service personnel and veterans in need of rebuilding their lives.
Stuart, a Drone Operator and veteran of several operational tours, was a transferee from the Mercian Regiment to the Royal Artillery. Whilst trying out new individual load carrying equipment in January 2012, Stuart was ordered to carry another similarly equipped soldier in a fireman’s lift. His leg slipped away at a right angle on icy ground, severely damaging his knee ligaments and joint.
The injury led to chronic pain and instability and Stuart, a father-of-two never regained full fitness. He has been in severe pain ever since, which has even affected his relations with his family. In February 2015, he underwent elective amputation of his left leg just above the knee.
He planned a new career as a civilian drone operator and wanted to settle in the Brompton on Swale area, near Richmond, where his wife’s, Lynne, a veterinary nurse, family come from.
They were keen to buy with an attached garage in case Stuart one day needed to convert this into a ground floor bedroom. In March 2016, funding provided by Help for Heroes saw Stuart and his family complete the purchase of a £267,500 four bedroomed property where the garage had already been converted. Help for Heroes contributed £75,000 towards the property purchase.
Stuart said: “If it weren’t for the help and assistance of Help for Heroes and Haig Housing, I probably wouldn’t have been able to find a suitable place to call home.”
Claire Barnes, Head of Grants, said: “Our task is to help rebuild the lives of our brave men and women so that they are capable of living an independent and fulfilling life. Our partnership with Haig Housing goes a long way to ensuring we can achieve this mission for our very seriously injured, by providing them somewhere appropriate and decent to live.
Brigadier James Richardson, Chief Executive of Haig Housing Trust, has said: ‘Haig Housing Trust are proud to work with Help for Heroes to provide specially adapted homes to wounded veterans and their families. With a generous grant from H4H and shared equity purchase by Stuart we have been able to find and adapt the right home to suit his needs, this home is the basic first step he needs to live a fulfilling life, we wish Stuart and his family every happiness in their new home in North Yorkshire’
“Stories like Stuart’s are just one example of how our fruitful partnership has enabled wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel lead a fulfilling life beyond injury.”