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How Help for Heroes can support Essex veterans

24 Jan How Help for Heroes can support Essex veterans

Military charity Help for Heroes is inviting wounded, injured and sick serving personnel and veterans to a social event in Essex where they can find out what support is available to them.

The open invitation is for a community hub at The Brentwood Centre, for a coffee and chat. Help for Heroes staff from Recovery Region East and Midlands will be on hand from 10am to 4pm on Tuesday 28th January to answer questions and explain how former members of the military in Essex can access support. There will be specialists available from the Fellowship, Psychological Wellbeing Support, Sports Recovery, Careers Advice and Welfare Support. A free yoga session will also be on offer from 13.00pm – 14.00pm.

Veterans who already receive support from the charity will usually be in attendance, sharing personal stories about how their quality of life has improved since becoming involved with Help for Heroes.

One such veteran is local man Lee Patmore from Basildon.

He was forced to leave the Royal Navy in 1999 after damaging his back whilst in training. The timing couldn’t have been worse; at the time he’d just got married and his wife was expecting their first son.

Over time Lee’s condition worsened, eventually being diagnosed with ME and Fibromyalgia which confines him to a wheelchair for much of the time. His mental health suffered as he became frustrated at being unable to work or keep fit and Lee spent a lot of time at home feeling low.

Help for Heroes funded a new wheelchair for Lee so that he could move around more easily and helped him to train as a disability gym instructor. He went on to work full time as a personal trainer and inclusion advisor at The Brentwood Centre, helping others with disabilities to build their strength through fitness.

Lee says: “Being able to help other people is a massive part of my life now. It’s about being able to make a difference and give people a new lease of life. I come across so many people who don’t feel they can go into a gym and I’m able to work with them and show that there are ways of adapting and achieving. I can give them tools, in the same way that Help for Heroes gave me the tools I needed to get my life back. At the Community Recovery Hubs you’re surrounded by your military family again and have a great time.”

Julian North, Recovery East Manager, adds: “This perfectly sums up the purpose of our community hubs as they provide an opportunity for like-minded people with shared experiences to meet up; from there friendships are often made with peer support developing”.

“We know there are approximately 2,290 wounded, injured and sick Veterans in the county of Essex*. Only a small percentage have approached Help for Heroes for support to date, so there are potentially thousands suffering in silence across the county”.

“Injury has forced almost 40,000 men and women to leave the military over the past 20 years. Over 25% of these have been since the end of the war in Afghanistan, despite the British Armed Forces not being engaged in active conflict during this period. The number of Service Personnel whose lives have been derailed by injury grows every day. Help for Heroes is determined to reach them and encourage those who haven’t yet come forward to seek support”.

Fellowship, sporting opportunities and access to one of four Recovery Centres to partake in various activities or attend courses are what makes Help for Heroes support unique. The nearest Recovery Centre to Brentwood is at Colchester. The other Recovery Centres are in Catterick, Tidworth and Plymouth with a Recovery Hub in Wales.

Anyone who is wounded, injured or sick during or as a result of Service is eligible to apply for help and can self-refer at

Or, pop into the community hub on Tuesday 28th January where staff can guide you through the process. A regular community hub will occur every month going forward. Future dates are: Tuesday 25th February and 24th March.