“At the start of the lockdown, we saw a rise in requests for emergency food baskets from veterans shielding or unable to work.”
Claire and the rest of our Grants team deliver much-needed financial support to veterans and their loved ones to ease the distress caused by an injury or illness. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, they’ve been working harder than ever to ensure our wounded continue to get the help they need while our recovery centres remain closed.
Head of Grants Claire, and her team of eight, were incredibly busy at the start of the lockdown. Some of those we support needed help with day to day basics, with the team making sure things like food baskets were available to veterans shielding or unable to work. Many were also worried about meeting rental payments where government options were not timely enough.
“We adapted our application procedures as rapidly as we could so that those we support could apply for the funding they needed,” she explains.
Claire, like all of our staff, had to get used to a ‘new normal’ way of working herself, with our recovery centres closed in line with government guidance. Claire has worked at Help for Heroes for five years and normally works at our Tedworth House recovery centre.
“Making sure we could carry on working as effectively as ever for those in the most need was the priority – while getting used to working from home in front of a screen all day” says Claire, who credits “a proper lunch break and an energising 6.30am walk” with helping her add structure to her new work routine.
Having structure is an important part of the recovery process for many of those we support, and with our centres closed, we know lots of them have really missed the activities and courses we normally run at our recovery centres. Claire and her team were ready to step in where they could.
One veteran they made a big difference for during lockdown was former Army private Simon Nicholson, who suffers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Before the lockdown, Simon had attended a mental health course to help him find ways to cope with his symptoms and discovered photography as a way to relax. Claire and her team were able to fund a camera for Simon, so that during the lockdown he continue with his new-found hobby as part of his recovery journey.
And as the lockdown eases, the workload for Claire and her team is no less intense.
“We’re funding things like travel to rescheduled medical appointments and learning courses that were postponed during lockdown. Things like these are crucial to help those we support get their recovery back on track and to thrive, not just survive,” she says.
“Our promise is to provide support for life. With the continued support of our amazing fundraisers, our focus now is to help veterans and their families to feel they can face the months ahead with confidence, knowing that we’re here to support them with their ongoing recoveries.”
Our veterans need us now more than ever. Join us and find out the many ways in which you can give support today such as fundraising and donating. #StrongerTogether