858 days ago, Emma created this page and gave everything for Supporting Wounded Veterans:
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In March 2018 I will be joining around 30 Veterans and a similar number of volunteer Ski Buddies and medically trained specialists, for a ski based induction and support week in the Swiss Alps. The trip is run by the UK based charity, Supporting Wounded Veterans (formerly known as “Skiing With Heros”).
The Ski Week is the start of the ongoing rehabilitation programme involving mentoring, pain management and the searching and securing of jobs and work placements. Every Veteran involved has sustained permanent life altering injuries - mostly from Afghanistan or Iraq. They range from severe physical injuries to combat stress (PTSD).
Supporting Wounded Veterans enables these Veterans to:
- Recover their confidence
- Re-enter employment
- Reclaim their lives
Since 2012, the charity has supported 158 veterans. They have over 100 applications each year but funding to support only 30.
I had set a personal target to raise £5,000. Having gone significantly over this, my new revised target it to reach £14,200 which is the cost of one full Veteran place on the Programme. It would be amazing to reach this significant amount, please help me by donating whatever you can.
In return for your donations, I will share some of the pictures from the week so you can see first-hand the power of your contribution.
Supporting Wounded Veterans is a UK charity that helps mentally and physically wounded Veterans get back into occupation, training and employment.
UK forces have been deployed on operations continuously over the last 30 years in conflicts ranging from Northern Ireland, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan and more recently in Libya and Syria. Since 2001, over 22,000 Veterans have been medically discharged and many of them struggle to access the pathway needed to improve or stabilise their medical condition, or give them the opportunity to find meaningful employment.
Founded in 2012 as Skiing with Heroes, we have developed a needs-based comprehensive programme to assist the wounded by:
Skihabilitation: this shows medically discharged wounded Veterans, whether suffering from physical injuries, combat stress (PTSD), or a combination of both, that nothing is impossible. Skiing is one of the few sports in which, with expert help, almost anyone can participate – no matter how severely injured they are. Since our inception, we have taken Veterans to our annual ski week in Klosters, and for most, this provides the mental motivation they need to restart their lives and get back into the workplace. Many Veterans are very isolated by their circumstances, and the ski week gives them the opportunity to engage with other Veterans and volunteers. We have hundreds of applications each year from Veterans desperate to come on the ski week, but funding to support only 28.
Mentoring Programme: this is a structured programme giving each Veteran a trained and dedicated mentor, business or life coach – we assist with their transition into civilian life and, where possible, employment. 89% of our Veterans remain engaged with their mentor for over a year.
Employment Programme: this helps Veterans understand the job market and their own transferable skills and strengths within it, matching ability and creating opportunities with employers, and assisting them into employment, training and occupation – we pride ourselves on our continued support to SWV Veterans once they secure the right role. 87% of our Veterans are now in full or part-time Employment/Training/Occupation.
SWV’S Pain Management Programme in partnership with King Edward VII’s Hospital: lack of pain management is a major barrier for many wounded Veterans to becoming employed or even being able to participate in everyday life. Many of our Veterans are prescribed substantial medication that renders employment a huge challenge, or impossible.
In 2016, in partnership with King Edward VII’s (KEVII) Hospital in London, we started a Veteran-specific Pain Management Programme. This is the first programme of its type in the UK and is delivered in tandem with Supporting Wounded Veterans’ mentoring and training programmes to ensure that all the complex needs faced by Veterans are addressed.
The aim is to put 70-80 Veterans per annum onto the programme, including those introduced by other military charities, at a cost of £5,800 per Veteran. For many, it is often the first comprehensive review of their medication and treatment, and it aims to improve their management of chronic pain and symptoms, without which, getting back to work can be impossible.
In addition, we have also opened Pain Clinics where Veterans can get medication reviews and advice on managing their pain.
KEVII and SWV are striving to achieve a “gold standard” of care for Veterans in our endeavour to optimise pain management and to share this research with the wider community.
Initial findings in 2017 show that on completion of the programme, 70% of the Veterans have been able to reduce their medication and 97% would recommend the programme to others.
SWV is in the process of initiating a series of lectures to medical students about the ground-breaking achievements that the Pain Management Programme has already made in the understanding and management of chronic pain.
It costs £8070 to take each Veteran through the Skihabilitation, Mentoring, and Employment programmes, and an additional £5800 for each Veteran to attend the Pain Management Programme for a year.
The Veteran Ambassador Board
We have put in place a Veteran’s Ambassador Board to enable Veterans to have more of a representation on what they feel the charity sector should be providing for their ongoing care. SWV Ambassadors are wounded Veterans who have been through our programmes. They are role models for both the Veteran and the wounded Veteran community, and also assist SWV with fundraising events, wounded Veteran awareness and inspirational speaking at schools, community groups and projects. The Ambassador Board meets quarterly and liaises directly with the Executive Committee.
These meetings cover updates on the progress of the charity and its Veterans, a review of SWV’s Programmes, and the Ambassadors also take the lead on the Regional Veteran Representative Group.
Regional Veteran Representative Group
Some of the injured Veterans who have been through our programmes have volunteered to join the SWV Regional Veteran Representative (RVR) Group: a support network for all SWV Veterans. The RVRs support other Veterans with welfare issues ranging from form-filling and guidance through the housing, benefits and pensions maze, to how to get the best support from their GP or Mental Health Worker. This is a volunteer role and the support the RVRs give to their peers is free.
SWV also gives guidance and support to the wives/partners and families of our Veterans, who are often overlooked in Veteran rehabilitation. This could involve simply providing a listening ear or recommending other specialised charities.
We run a Family Support Weekend after the Ski Week to introduce the wives/partners to each other as their own support network, and also to meet the other Veterans and mentors.
We organise an annual cricket match for all family members to attend; this includes children of all ages, and we are anticipating extending this event by holding a full family weekend in 2018.