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    100% of profit goes to veteran support

    4410 veterans and families supported in the last year

    100% of profit goes to veteran support

    4410 veterans and families supported in the last year

    News

    ''HELP FOR HEROES & YOUR SUPPORT SAVED MY LIFE''. - MEET VETERAN, GARY.

    ''HELP FOR HEROES & YOUR SUPPORT SAVED MY LIFE''. - MEET VETERAN, GARY.

    RAF veteran, Gary features in our newly launched Winter catalogue, where he shares his story following his medical discharge and the support he received from Help for Heroes to find purpose again.

    Check out our catalogue >

    Read more about Gary...

    Your support helps veterans like Gary. After 31 years military service, he was medically discharged from the RAF following open-heart surgery. 

    Leaving the military made Gary feel isolated and depressed. To make matters worse, his untreated PTSD was raging.  

    Unable to cope, Gary planned to take his own life. 

    “What I saw and did in my time in service hit me like a freight train. 

    “It felt like my friends and comrades disappeared overnight. I lost my self-esteem and sense of purpose. 

    “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I had bills to pay, and a family look after.”  

    Seeing Gary struggle with his mental health worried his family. Reaching his lowest point, Gary contacted us. Thanks to your support, Gary got the help he needed.  

    We provided him with financial, physical, and mental health support. We also helped his wife and son, because when a loved one suffers, if affects the whole family.  

    Gary also found a new sense of purpose when we helped him apply to university and connected him with the Charity’s choir, which helps him manage his mental health. 

    “Everyone in the choir knows the struggles of being a veteran. By coming together and singing, we support each other – it’s a safe space.  

    “I’ve found friends for life. It feels so good to be part of a community who understands. I have purpose again.” 

      SHOP TODAY AND HELP TO SUPPORT MORE VETERANS LIKE, GARY >

    PASSION, PURPOSE & POSITIVITY - HELP FOR HEROES WHEELCHAIR RUGBY

    PASSION, PURPOSE & POSITIVITY - HELP FOR HEROES WHEELCHAIR RUGBY

    A team of proud and passionate sporting veterans have spoken about how life-changing playing wheelchair rugby for Help for Heroes has been.

    In their first competitive season, the team were unbeaten in three tournaments. Their endeavours saw them win promotion to the Championship, the second highest tier.

    The sport isn’t for the faint hearted. It's fast and full blooded.

    But that’s exactly what players love about it. And the camaraderie and team spirit has changed lives.

     

    ‘It takes away the worries and pain’

    After 22 years in the Royal Signals, Vicky Ross was medically discharged. Vicky is due to get counselling from the Charity’s mental health team, Hidden Wounds, for post-traumatic stress disorder and body dysmorphia.

    SHOP YOU RUGBY KIT HERE > 

    She said: “When I’m playing wheelchair rugby, I get lost in the game and feel free from worries and pain.

    “The support provided by Help for Heroes has had more of an impact than can ever be described.

    “It’s helped guide me on a path to recovery from my physical and mental injuries. It allows me to be around people who get me, who understand without the need for explanation and without judgement.

    “This positive impact ripples out into all areas of my life. It helps me be a better person.”

    A family

    That positivity is felt just as strongly by former RAF technician Dave Anderson.

    “Wheelchair rugby is brilliant. It’s end to end. It’s a lot of fun and it brings people together.

    SHOP YOU RUGBY KIT HERE > 

    “I used to play rugby in the Forces but had to stop because of injury. After that, I became a bit lost.

    “The wheelchair rugby team is a family. It’s probably the nearest thing I’ve had to being back in the Forces and enjoying that team spirit.”

    A purpose again

    In 2012, Tom Folwell lost both his legs and part of his left hand when he stepped on an improved explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan. His recovery has been a long process.

    SHOP YOU RUGBY KIT HERE > 

    The support he’s had from the Charity has given the former member of the Royal Engineers ‘a renewed lease of life’.

    Tom excels at wheelchair rugby. He was captain of both the wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball teams for Team UK at the Invictus Games in The Hague.

    He also plays for the iconic rugby club, Leicester Tigers.

    And he was a leading light in the Charity’s first season.

    “I’m proud to represent Help for Heroes and play with like-minded people,” he said.

    “The team is doing well. We won the league. Hopefully we will win promotion to the Premier League next season.

    “I really enjoy being around other veterans. We have the same mindset.
    “Sport is a massive part of the recovery process, along with things like education, training and employment.

    “Help for Heroes provides a safe environment to play sport, in which I can be myself.”

    Showing us what we can still achieve

    The team has also given Army veteran of 24 years Noel Howard ‘a new outlook on life’.

    Known as Yorkie to his friends, because he hails from Halifax in West Yorkshire, he was injured on a tour of duty in Iraq. After four operations on his shoulder, he was medically discharged.

    SHOP YOU RUGBY KIT HERE > 

    Yorkie said: “In the Forces, I was always active. After getting injured I became a shadow of my former self. Sport was a massive part of the Armed Forces, and when I couldn’t take part, I really missed it.

    “Since getting back in with Help for Heroes I haven’t turned back. It gives me a goal and something to look forward to. I just love getting together with the team.

    “It’s gives us a chance to push ourselves further than we ever thought we could with whatever injury we have.

    “Our coach ‘Jenks’ pushes us all. We do what he asks of us and then he always says that we can do more. But it’s for a reason. Jenks has shown us what we can still achieve.

    “Every time you purchase an item, such as a T shirt or rugby shirt from Help for Heroes, you’re showing your continued support to all the former and current serving members of the military and their families. The money you’ve spent or donated goes towards helping so many people and allows them to continue their recovery journey, both physically and mentally.”

    • We hope to build our wheelchair rugby club and offer people the chance to play at various levels by entering more leagues. Look out for information about wheelchair rugby taster sessions and friendly tournaments for beginners to try out the sport.
    • There are also opportunities to learn how to coach others through our Coaching Academy.
    • And look out for information about our Community Sport Series events where veterans and families can try a wide range of sports and activities, as well as socialise with new friends.
    • For more information email us at: SAF@helpforheroes.org.uk   

    SHOP YOU RUGBY KIT HERE > 

     

    THE VETERANS WAR. FORGOTTEN BY MANY. BUT NOT BY US.

    THE VETERANS WAR. FORGOTTEN BY MANY. BUT NOT BY US.

    When a conflict ends, for some the battles don’t stop – they just stop making headlines. 

    Veterans and their families are struggling with painful injuries, mental trauma, isolation, and more. This is the Veterans War. A war forgotten by many. But not by us.

    MEET BRIAN

    Brian served for 13 years in the Royal Highland Fusiliers and the Royal Scots before he was medically discharged due to injury.

    For 10 years after, he lived with undiagnosed PTSD and turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism. But he hit rock bottom when he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver, a consequence of his heavy drinking.

    "The doctor said if I didn't do something about it, I'd die within 2 months."

    “That day was a big reality check, I didn’t want to die. I wanted to see my kids grow up. My wife Ros and the kids were my incentive to get better.”

    He reached out to us, and with the help of his loved ones and professional treatment, Brian was able to turn his life around and beat his addiction.

    “The Veterans War is very apparent to me. Life is better now because I can manage things. But the Veterans War is very real. Every day’s a struggle. It’s not until you learn how to cope with those struggles, that life becomes a wee bit easier.

    “Help for Heroes has been enormous in my recovery, whether it be mental, physical or medical support. If I hadn’t tackled what I had tackled at the time – I wouldn’t be here today.” 

    Our mission is to ensure that no one is left behind in the Veterans War.

    Join our mission today.

    DARREN'S LIFE-CHANGING STORY OF FINDING COURAGE, BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND ACHIEVING HAPPINESS

    DARREN'S LIFE-CHANGING STORY OF FINDING COURAGE, BUILDING CONFIDENCE AND ACHIEVING HAPPINESS

    After serving for 20 years in the British Army, Darren was medically discharged, and his world fell apart overnight.

    Not knowing how to apply for a flat or claim benefits he was entitled to. In pain. Out of work. Suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. Isolated.

    Darren’s troubles seemed endless and overwhelming. At times he felt his only option was to take his own life.

    “When I was first out of the Army, the only support I had was from my Mum. She did everything for me. If it wasn’t for my Mum, I’d have ended up another homeless veteran. I don’t think I’d be alive now.

    “Everything was so difficult. There was all this paperwork that I hadn’t done before. I just had no idea what to do.

    “It's sad, many other veterans have felt that way and they're not here because they didn’t have the support. I was lucky.”

    Thanks to his Mum and then Help for Heroes, Darren has found his place in the world again. He now has a community that provides support, employment and friendship. But it could have all been so different.

     

    ‘ALL OF A SUDDEN, I WAS ON MY OWN’

    “Leaving the Army, my mental health was in a very, very bad way. I felt like I'd let myself and my family down.

    “I couldn't work because of the injuries and the pain. I had compartment syndrome in both legs. I was operated on, but unfortunately the operations didn’t work and due to the way I was walking differently, my lower spine started to wear away.

    “The Army sets people up for work when they leave. But people who get medically discharged don’t get that opportunity. As a disabled person, there was no transition from military to civilian life.

    “PTSD had set in a while before without me realising. It wasn’t until I was medically discharged that it came to the fore. I had a failed marriage, I had so many emotions going on in my head. Things started cropping up from my childhood, I was sexually abused. I went through therapy for years in the military. Nothing worked. It got to the point where I had a complete nervous breakdown when I left the Army. And then I was just lost.

    “In the military, you have the routine and all these people looking out for you every day. Leaving that, all of a sudden I was on my own.

    “I realised there was something very wrong with the way I was feeling. I needed to get help.”

     

    ‘I FELT LIKE I MATTERED AGAIN’

    “I was getting support from an organisation called the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse, or CARA. They told me that Help for Heroes supported veterans having mental health difficulties.

    “It wasn't until I got counselling from Rose in Hidden Wounds that I realised I'd not been right for a long time. With the relationship we built up, it was so easy to trust Rose. She made me feel that I was actually a person who mattered again. I was being listened to. Without that, I probably wouldn't have carried on. Rose is a wonderful lady. She literally put me back together.

    “Asking for help was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. It was also the best decision I’ve ever made.”


    REAL STRENGTH

    “I got into powerlifting through Help for Heroes. They organised competitions called Winter Games. A mate who I met through that said ‘give powerlifting a try’. I loved the way I felt after training.

    “I’ve competed a lot and I finished second in the British championships. Even though I am disabled, I lift against people without disabilities. That’s something I’m incredibly proud of and I think goes to show what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.



    “I didn't realise how important exercise can be for your mental health. After leaving the Army I put on weight. But I’ve since lost six stone.

    “Leaving the military is like leaving a family. Finding the gym where I work and train, and have all these friends, has been like finding another family. It’s great having this place where I want to be, and all these people I want to be around.

    “When I first left the Army, I felt very isolated. It's so much easier to stay indoors, to stay in your safe place.

    “It’s hard to get yourself out there again, to meet new people and try new things. But it’s so worth taking yourself out of your comfort zone. For me, it’s been life changing.”



    FINDING HIS VOICE AGAIN

    “On one of the sports camps, one of the evening activities was karaoke. After being pushed into it, quite literally, I sang a song on stage. I was then asked by two people ‘have you ever thought about joining the Help for Heroes choir?’

    “So I went along, which was a massive effort. But I was welcomed in.

    “Through the choir, I’ve met some of the best people in my life. They're so genuine. The people who run the choir are very special.

    “The choir has worked miracles for my confidence and self-esteem. Singing is a great healer. I wasn’t a fantastic singer and I think they were a little bit patient. But meeting these amazing people, other veterans, and singing with them was just an incredibly uplifting feeling.

    “Possibly my biggest sense of achievement and one of the most beautiful moments in my life was singing in a concert in Salisbury Cathedral. We sounded wonderful and the crowd was great.

    “After we performed, I sat down and burst into tears. Someone said ‘are you ok?’. I said ‘Yes, I think this is the happiest I have ever been.’ It was magical.”



    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NOW AND THEN IS NIGHT AND DAY’

    “Without my Mum, I wouldn’t be here. She got me to a place where I could ask for help.

    “Before I started with Help for Heroes I was in a really bad way. There were times when it got too much and I thought the only way out of it all was suicide.

    “Now I've got everything in my life that I want and need. Mentally, I've never been as strong. The difference between now and then is night and day.

    “I've got family and friends, and another family in the gym. I couldn't be happier.

    “The only reason I've got to this stage is because one day I was brave and I asked for help.”

     

    You can help support more veterans like, Darren by wearing your support for our heroes. All profits from the Help for Heroes Shop go directly into providing life-changing support to veterans and their families. 

    Shop Darren's featured clothing and more.

    Click to shop: Hoodies, T-Shirts, Polos, New arrivals

    EXCITING NEWS! - OUR NEW FEEFO PLATINUM TRUSTED SERVICE AWARD

    Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award 2023, Help for Heroes Shop

    We are thrilled to announce that we have won the Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award for consistently delivering exceptional customer experience and service in 2022!

    Feefo established the Trusted Service Awards in 2014 to recognise brands that use the platform to collect verified reviews and receive exceptional feedback from their customers. The awards are unique because they truly reflect a business's dedication to providing outstanding customer service by analysing feedback from real customers.

    To win this award, we had to collect at least 50 reviews between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2022 and achieve a Feefo service rating of at least 4.5 for three consecutive years –which we’ve done!

    But we couldn’t have done it without you, our customers, so we’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for sharing your ratings and reviews with Feefo.

    This award is another vote of confidence in our brand from our customers. It means a lot to us because it’s based on your honest, valuable feedback.

    We believe that anyone affected by their military service deserves to live a secure and healthy life with purpose. That’s why all the profits from the Help for Heroes Shop go directly into providing life-changing support to veterans and their families.

    Not only that, but by wearing a Help for Heroes branded product you’ll be raising awareness of the Charity and the needs of our veterans. 

    We’re committed to continuing to deliver the highest quality of service and will continue to listen, understand and respond to all our customers.

    Thank you again to everyone who took the time to leave us a review. Here’s to more great customer service in 2023!