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Mark Hepworth, 42, served in the Kings Royal Hussars for 23 years before being medically discharged in 2017 with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).

“During my service I was fortunate to serve in most operational theatres. Unfortunately, it was during these tours that I sustained my mental injuries. PTSD has massively impacted my family, friends and life. It is difficult to live with; it affects every aspect of life.”

Soon after being discharged, Mark was signposted to us and despite a lot of hesitation, said this “was soon dispelled by the fantastic team at Tedworth House.”

“Myself and my wife got a lot of support and this was mostly as simple as being able to sit in Café Hero. I attended a Rolling Recovery course and the result was a change of mental direction. I was still very poorly but was given some confidence that I could do even the simplest task.

Mark went on to complete our Pathfinder Experience course, which gives veterans the tools and support they need to make the transition to civilian life, and our Business Experience course, which supports them to explore new business ideas.

“These were life changing. Soon after we used our passion for coffee to start our own business and The Flat Cap Coffee Roasting Company was born,” says Mark.

“Next came the Pathfinder and Business Experience courses - these were life changing. Soon after we used our passion for coffee to start our own business and The Flat Cap Coffee Roasting Company was born,” says Mark.

More recently, Mark has supported us with the launch of our Recovery College, the first of its kind for wounded veterans and their families. The college offers educational courses to help give veterans the tools to achieve the goals they have set themselves.

We’d planned to have the college up, running and delivered via our recovery centres in September, but with the pandemic putting a hold on that the courses will initially be delivered virtually instead.

Mark, who co-produced some of the courses, says: “My military experience, my discharge and my own business have allowed me to offer some guidance and support to help make the Recovery College a fantastic opportunity for service leavers and injured soldiers.

“The programme takes an injured service person or veteran and is structured to an individual’s recovery plan. Recovery starts the moment a person takes hold of their injuries and therefore the structure of the Recovery College can assist with a developing recovery journey.

“My message to anyone who has suffered any form of injury is to be kind to yourself, take each and every day at a time and start with small recovery goals. The Recovery College can help you with planning your recovery and the staff are amazing.”

Mark says through his previous access to our support, he has felt armed with strategies and coping mechanisms to help manage his mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. He feels the Recovery College will help those who may be struggling with the uncertainties which exist in today’s world.

“Enrolling in the Recovery College will give people the opportunity to empower themselves, to take back a small element of control and stability and a more normal life. Injuries are life-changing but don’t have to be totally life-limiting.

“I am proud to have supported the production of the Recovery College, it is my desire to continue to support our veterans in whatever capacity I can.”

Lots of our veterans, and their families, need us more than ever and our teams are working tirelessly to keep them feeling safe and connected during these difficult times. Urging the public to continue supporting charities like Help for Heroes, Mark adds:

“Care, compassion and understanding can change a person’s life. The public’s support can make a person feel valued and that their service was important. Supporting service charities can ensure that they continue to give the amazing support that I was able to access.”  

If you want to ensure we can continue to help more veterans like Mark, please donate now.

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