Help for Heroes has long championed the role that sport plays in the recovery process for our wounded, injured and sick. For many it provides a wide range of physical, psychological, social benefits and is often the first step in developing confidence at the start of their long road to recovery.
Help for Heroes runs three distinct pathways within the Sports Recovery programme:
The work Help for Heroes does within Sports Recovery has grown hugely since it started in 2008. In the past year we have facilitated over 350 events in over 50 different sports for approximately 2,500 to 3,000 people. The inspirational effect of hosting a home Paralympic Games is further evidenced by Help for Heroes awarding 1,168 individual sporting grants since 2012, which represents an 80% increase on the previous year, to enable greater participation in a range of physical development activities.
The recreational pathway of what we do is open to all wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel and Veterans. This may be an introduction to sport at Headley Court to taking part in physical training activities at one of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres as a resident or day visitor. It may also be providing a grant to enable a dad who has lost his legs to cycle with his daughter again.
The Recovery Centres have developed relationships with community-based sports programmes, military and civilian clubs and associations to provide a rich and varied offering that includes activities as diverse as ice sledge hockey and carriage driving, which are in addition to the daily group / individual exercise classes and sessions.
This is our main effort as it positively impacts on the greatest number of participants by enabling individuals to lead a more active, healthy and independent life.
The Personal Trainer Course continues to be popular and significant numbers are progressing from recreational motorsports events to gaining employment in the motorsports industry with prestigious brands such as Bentley and Land Rover. These two initiatives are examples of Help for Heroes partnerships with the Training Room and Mission Motorsport respectively.
By working with our partners, including the British Paralympic Association, UK Sport and National Governing Bodies, Help for Heroes supports a number of military athletes aspiring to represent their country at a national and international level.
This builds on the successes of the London 2012 Paralympic Games where we were proud to see six Help for Heroes-supported military athletes compete for ParalympicsGB, winning three silver medals in cycling and gaining fourth place in rowing. This represents an increase from two athletes competing in Beijing to eight competing in London.
As part of our commitment to best support military athletes who are on a potential performance trajectory, we work closely with our key partners to deliver bespoke talent identification programmes across winter and summer Paralympic sports.
Help for Heroes Sports Academy: Talent Development and Transition into Performance Sports
Once someone shows talent for a particular sport, they can be nominated by their National Governing Body (NGB) to be a part of the Help for Heroes Sports Academy. This provides the athlete with access to holistic, bespoke support package, including grant funding for specialist equipment, links to top coaches, support with specialist sports science and media plus education and with friends and family.
At every step we work with partners such as the British Paralympic Association, UK Sport, English Institute of Sport and National Governing Bodies to help military athletes progress through their sport as they strive to represent their country.
Championing Disability Performance Sport
Help for Heroes has also been driving forward technical advances in disability performance sport, by collaborating with businesses and other charities (e.g. BAE Systems and REMAP) as well as supporting innovation through research projects to ensure that the status quo is constantly being challenged and the wounded are continually paving the way in the disability sport arena.
Help for Heroes supported ten individuals on their journeys to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, eight as athletes and two as Channel 4 presenters. Getting to the start line was a huge achievement in itself, but there was a total of four medals won, two gold medals in cycling and athletics, and two bronze in athletics and para-canoe.
In addition, through partnership with the British Paralympic Association, the charity supported the delivery of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme which saw seven supported military athletes attend an education programme based in Rio, with the aim to best prepare them for Tokyo 2020. The Paralympic Inspiration Programme aims to provide developing athletes with knowledge that will prepare them for a future Games experience as a selected athlete, as well as inspire and excite potential future Paralympians in their ambitions.
Every year Help for Heroes enables thousands to get involved in sport through its world class sports recovery programme. Offering over 350 activities across 50 different sports, which range from scuba diving and powerlifting to sledge hockey!
For further information about how to get involved, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or 01980 844270.