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C o m m u n i t y


Mr Parry recalled how raising money for Help for Heroes helped to distract him from worrying about his son while he was in Afghanistan.


“You spend the whole day dreading somebody walking up and knocking on the door. There are thousands of parents, grandparents, girlfriends and wives who feel the same.


“This is the country acknowledging that young men and women are out there fighting for us. They need to be supported.”


Jess Baker of H4H takes up the story… “We began with a very small workforce of volunteers, working for passion and not pay. Since then, we have grown as a result of the huge amount of wonderful support we receive, yet we are still a relatively small force and rely heavily on volunteers.


“The money donated to us is used in all sorts of ways, from the big projects such as the Headley Court Rehab complex to providing a juice machine on one of the wards. We have been able to raise the £20m we pledged in March 2009 to help pay for the first four Personnel Recovery Centres (PRCs). Work will begin immediately and we hope to see the first fully comprehensive centre open at Colchester in the spring of 2011, followed soon afterwards with PRCs at Catterick and Tidworth.


“This year, we launched the Quick Reaction Fund, a £6m fund aimed at providing help to wounded individuals and their relatives within 72


hours of receiving a request. Our funds, administered by the Services’ own charities, will ensure that individuals and their relatives can access H4H money to help when needed. For example, if a wounded Serviceman needs his home upgraded to enable him to live there, and there were no other funding available, our Quick Reaction Fund would pay for the upgrade. Similarly, if a relative has run into financial difficulty through being beside their loved one’s hospital bed, the fund can help here, too.


What next? “We are now working with the three Services to establish a Recovery Capability that will not only ensure that those who leave get jobs, but will give access to a comprehensive range of support. Key to this plan are the Personnel Recovery Centres in Edinburgh, Colchester, Catterick, Tidworth and Plymouth. Here the wounded can learn new skills and access comprehensive support including psychological, financial, employment, prosthetic and social. A ‘one stop’ welfare shop. The intention is that personnel who leave through the centres are fully prepared to tackle the next stage of their lives and, if they have problems, will know exactly where to go to for help.


“The plans are ambitious and the costs huge but we have already committed £45m


to the Recovery Process, funding both the buildings and the individual’s courses. And we are aiming to raise at least a further £42m as quickly as we can to ensure those wounded in the line of duty get the very best support; for life.


“The Road to Recovery for those seriously injured is a very long and difficult path. They are young men and women today but they will grow old. H4H want to ensure that when the current level of public support has passed, as it inevitably will, they are not forgotten. They deserve the best and we are doing our best to get it.”


Last word “When you see a 22- year-old who gets his leg blown off, everybody is thinking about him today. But when he’s 40, when he’s 60, or when he’s 80 – are we still going to be there for him? We have to be.” Bryn Parry. 


www.raf-ff.org.uk


Envoy Winter 2010


41


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