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Katherine Jenkins

Katherine Jenkins supports Help for Heroes fundraising efforts

WELSH singer Katherine Jenkins has backed Help for Heroes with a throw-back social media post referencing her iconic performance at a fundraising concert for the Armed Forces charity in 2010.

The Neath-born mezzo-soprano wowed millions of British TV viewers with her rendition of Evanescence‘s “Bring Me To Life” at Twickenham a decade ago. Known for her passion and commitment to the British Armed Forces, Katherine has been hailed as the “Forces Sweetheart” for her work as a trustee of the British Forces Foundation. In that role, she travelled to Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Cyprus & Northern Ireland to entertain troops serving there.

She was also an Ambassador for the 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando, supporting competitor training events, and raising awareness for adaptive sports and the important role they play for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. This year she marked the 75th Anniversary of VE Day with a closed-door performance at the Royal Albert Hall, and a virtual rendition of “We’ll Meet Again” with Dame Vera Lynn.

Today (30th September) she shared a photo of her Help for Heroes Concert performance and tweeted:

“It’s 10 years since I was at the @HelpforHeroes concert to raise funds for wounded veterans. Our veterans need your help more than ever before. Please donate now at https://bit.ly/2DFKaIT ”

© Katherine Jenkins/Twitter

Over recent months, Help for Heroes, which relies on public donations for 97% of income, has suffered hugely from a loss of income with all planned face-to-face fundraising events and activities since April either cancelled or postponed. The charity anticipates a 30% reduction in regular income over the coming years with the ongoing economic recession.

Demand for support rose significantly during lockdown with a 33% increase in new people coming forward for support with their mental health in May and June 2020 compared to the same period last year, as well as nearly 30% more new referrals into the Charity’s physical health focused service.

To donate and give much needed support go to: helpforheroes.org.uk/donate-online/

Help for Heroes in Wales & Hereford

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, Help for Heroes’ Community Recovery Team, based in Treforest, Rhondda Cynon Taf, has adapted their service delivery to ensure that wounded veterans and their loved ones are still able to access support across Wales.

The mental health toolkit, The Field Guide to Self-Care, has been made available in Welsh and English on the charity’s website and is accessible to anyone who is struggling with the challenges of our new way of life.

Case Managers and the Veterans’ Clinical Liaison Nurse are delivering bespoke services on an individual basis, via video messaging and telephone, to ensure the health and welfare needs of our Armed Forces community are not forgotten. Referrals can be made to Help for Heroes’ Hidden Wounds service, for wounded veterans and their loved ones to access psychological support, on a case-by-case basis.

Help for Heroes has also introduced its virtual Recovery College, the first of its kind, designed specifically for wounded veterans and their families.

The Recovery College officially launched at Tedworth House Recovery Centre in September 2019 with a pilot course and the charity had planned to expand its delivery this autumn. But with Covid-19 putting a hold on that for now, the courses will be delivered virtually instead, and ten modules have been converted into online courses that veterans and their families can access on the Help for Heroes website.

Course Development Lead Mike Lee has been instrumental in setting up the Recovery College. With a military background of over 30 years, he knows first-hand the challenges veterans face.

He said: “Recovery is about finding ways to live a secure, healthy and fulfilled life, despite the challenges of an ongoing injury or illness. When someone’s military career comes to an end due to medical reasons, the future can seem overwhelming. This is why we created our Recovery College.”

Mike has spent the past few months developing courses that achieve the college’s aim; to give veterans the confidence and understanding to achieve their recovery goals.

He added: “All our courses help veterans take steps in their recovery journey that put them in control of their future. These are educational recovery courses, rather than vocational courses that lead to qualifications.”

“We look forward to the day when we can run our courses face-to-face but due to the restrictions caused by coronavirus, this isn’t possible yet. In the meantime, we’ve been working hard to deliver as many of the courses as we can virtually.

“The Recovery College is designed to help veterans to understand themselves better and the uniqueness of their personal recovery journey; to identify their next steps and equip them with the tools necessary to achieve their ambitions.”

The Help for Heroes Recovery College is being introduced at a time when many of those we support need us more than ever. In the same way that all of us will need to adjust to a new normal, our veterans have the added complexity of continuing to deal with their physical and mental conditions under these difficult circumstances.

“The team and I are excited to see the difference it will make to the lives of our veterans and their families,” Mike says.

What makes the Help for Heroes Recovery College unique is the fact that all courses have been co-produced, by recovery staff and veterans. The expertise of staff and the experiences of veterans allows for a blend of different ideas and perspectives within a course. It ensures the College remains student focused and Help for Heroes can listen, respond, and involve students in their own recovery by asking them to design course.

One veteran involved in the co-production process was Mark Hepworth, 42, who served in the Kings Royal Hussars for 23 years before medically discharged in 2017 with PSTD.

“During my service I was fortunate to serve in most operational theatres. Unfortunately, it was during these tours that I sustained my mental injuries. PTSD has massively impacted my family, friends and life. It is difficult to live with, it affects every aspect of life.”

Soon after discharge, Mark was signposted to Help for Heroes and despite a lot of hesitation, he said this “was soon dispelled by the fantastic team at Tedworth House.”

On co-producing some of the Recovery College courses, Mark said: “My military experience, my discharge and my own business have allowed me to offer some guidance and support to help make the recovery college a fantastic opportunity for service leavers and injured soldiers.

“The programme takes an injured service person/veteran and is structured to an individual’s recovery plan. Recovery starts the moment a person takes hold of their injuries and therefore the structure of the recovery college can assist with a developing recovery journey.

My message to anyone who has suffered any form of injury is to be kind to yourself, take each and every day at a time and start with small recovery goals. The recovery college can help you with planning your recovery and the staff are amazing.”

Mark said through his previous access to Help for Heroes support, he has felt armed with strategies and coping mechanisms to help manage his mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic. He feels the Recovery College will help those who may be struggling with the uncertainties which exist in today’s world.

“Enrolling in the Recovery College will give people the opportunity to empower themselves, to take back a small element of control and stability and a more normal life. Injuries are life changing but don’t have to totally life limiting.

“I am proud to have supported the production of the Recovery College, it is my desire to continue to support our veterans in whatever capacity that I can.” To access the online Recovery College courses, go to www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/recovery-college Access the Field Guide to Self-Care at: helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/mental-health-and-wellbeing/a-field-guide-to-self-care/ Contact the Community Recovery team by emailing: wales.supporthub@helpforheroes.org.uk

As a charity, Help for Heroes relies on public donations for 97% of income, but this has reduced hugely over recent months with all planned face-to-face fundraising events and activities since April either cancelled or postponed. To ensure we are there for the Armed Forces community in the future please support our fundraising at: https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/give-support/

##ENDS## For additional information please contact Help for Heroes Communications Officer Rachel MacManus T:07483 044 157 e: rachel.macmanus@helpforheroes.org.uk

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