Wounded, injured and sick veterans have raced to new qualifications in race Stewarding thanks to a partnership between Help for Heroes and Mission Motorsport.
In total, 17 wounded Armed Forces men and women attained a NVQ Level 2 qualification in Stewarding during a four-day course at the Silverstone British Formula 1 Grand Prix at the weekend, giving them grandstand views of Lewis Hamilton’s third victory in a row at Silverstone! The qualifications were part-funded by Help for Heroes who have granted more than £1million to Mission Motorsport, a charity which enables individuals to take part in a motorsport programme as part of their recovery.
The Racemaker programme was set up by Silverstone in 2013. In previous years Racemakers have used the qualification and gone on to steward at their local rugby and football stadiums as well as other motorsports events at Silverstone, including the MotoGP, World Endurance Championships and British Touring Car Championships.
Lisa Kirkpatrick, whose husband Gary was a Captain in the Royal Logistic Corps prior to medical discharge, is a member of the Help for Heroes Band of Sisters Fellowship, which supports loved ones of injured servicemen, women and veterans. As a committed F1 fan and confirmed petrol head, she couldn't believe the opportunity to gain the Stewarding qualification. She explained: “Apart from the fantastic atmosphere, being a Racemaker also gives me time away from the PTSD that my husband suffers from. I am a big MotoGP fan and will be back at the circuit in early September in my Racemaker uniform
“Help For Heroes has already done a lot for my husband but for them to cover the cost of the NVQ which will allow me to attend more of these weekends is fantastic".
Former Lance Corporal Simon Roxbee was recently referred to Mission Motorsport by Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds, where he sought help for depression and anxiety. He said: “I seized this opportunity quickly. I realised how much I missed the 'military mentality' of being around likeminded people and I’m committed to returning to do more events at Silverstone now I have my NVQ under my belt.”
Nathan Atkinson, a former Lance Corporsal in the Royal Regiment of Artillery, was medically discharged last month. The Racemaker week and the qualification have opened his eyes to the possibilities in event security and already he is keen to go on to do his SIA certification and aspires to the possibility of being a senior supervisor at Silverstone events and others around the UK in the future. Nathan, who suffers from colitis and arthritis, said: “The Racemaker weekend is incredible and has made me more aware of what opportunities exist out there for veterans who have been medically discharged. I want to say a huge thanks to Help for Heroes in granting the funding which has in turn provided the opportunity for me and many others Racemakers.”
Debbie Boundy, Head of Career Recovery at Help for Heroes, said the race stewarding qualifications would be of huge benefit for wounded veterans and their families seeking a new direction. She said: “The social environment around the Racemaker program is important because our beneficiaries get to interact with other motorsport enthusiasts, but can also share experiences which is hugely beneficial for their recovery.
“Leaving the military can be really daunting, especially with life-changing injuries or illnesses, so achieving these qualifications can massively boost confidence, but also set them on a path for a new, fulfilling and passionate life outside of the Armed Forces.”