Forty Help for Heroes volunteers from across the East Region visited Colchester on Saturday 14th November for their bi-annual Eastern Volunteer Regional Meeting at the Colchester Recovery Centre, Chavasse VC House and heard from staff and beneficiaries how their tireless work was helping to rebuild lives of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
The charity relies on its volunteers to not only attend various fundraising events (in all weathers) held throughout the year but to also support its various national campaigns such as Bake for Heroes and the Stockings for Heroes appeal. This time of year, for example, teams of volunteers are busily wrapping thousands of presents donated by the generous public in time to give to our injured servicemen and women for Christmas.
The regional meeting is a great opportunity for volunteers to hear updates from the various H4H departments and this year they heard from Martin Colclough OBE who heads up the H4H Sports Recovery team. Martin revealed that in the last 24 hours alone 2 gold medals and a bronze had been won by beneficiaries taking part in sporting events around the world.
Band of Sister Karin Golbourn shared her story from a mother's perspective. Watching her fit young 19 year old son become ill with arthertis and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome was so difficult but Help for Heroes has supported both her son and Karin through fellowship and practical support.
Volunteers also heard from the Hidden Wounds team, the H4H psychological wellbeing service. This service has so far supported over 400 beneficiaries (veterans, loved ones of veterans and families of serving personnel) who are experiencing a range of common mental health difficulties such as low mood, excessive worry, anger, alcohol and stress. For those struggling with more complex problems, the team has worked closely with other organisations and partner charities to help them find the right support. On display were the range of evidence-based workbooks such as Goal Setting and Dealing with Worry that have been created in partnership with the University of Exeter, which the H4H Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners use during beneficiary sessions.
But it was veteran Brendan Gordon that stole the show with a heart breaking and heart warming talk about how Help for Heroes has supported him since having a stroke five years ago. Unable to hide his emotions Brendan broke down in tears as he tried to put into words what it meant to now be able to use his once unusable arm. There was not a dry eye in the room and he received an instantaneous standing ovation.
Volunteer Dean Truman from Bedfordshire said: “I met some amazing people. It was nice to speak to other volunteers who are passionate about the charity and swap ideas for fundraising and listen to their stories. The meeting was informal but informative and well put together and so good to see where and how our fundraising is spent. An amazing group of people that I am proud to work with and alongside no matter what area they are from.”
Regional Manager, Carole Groves, was delighted with the turnout. Carole said: “My job as Regional Manager (Income generation) for the East of England is made so much easier by the dedicated hard work of our fabulous volunteers. It was great to give them the opportunity to listen and see how all their fundraising efforts are turned into amazing success stories of our wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. It is a privilege to work with such great passionate and selfless people”
If you are interested in volunteering for Help for Heroes please contact our volunteer recruitment team on 01980 840224 or email firstname.lastname@example.org