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We had stumbled upon an issue that appears to affect many families in a similar situation to ourselves. Hours spent searching for information, countless hours on the phone trying to work out what you are entitled to, how you go about applying for what you are entitled to and what you need.

Don’t get me wrong, the MOD had been a tremendous support to us when our son was in hospital, but now he was discharged there was a large gap in the care and support package available to us.  As non dependents we were not covered by the MOD welfare program, the same situation occurs with many of the service charities, whilst we fully understand the financial constraints on these groups, it does not solve the issue of the lack of support for non dependents, so we had a choice, we could sit back and let it go, knowing that other families would continue to struggle, or we could start to do something about it.

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We don’t aim for one moment to believe we can take away any of the pain or devastation families go through when a loved one is injured, but where we can help is by providing a support and signpost service when they are in need of it, we have been privileged to meet many family members over the past two and a half years who have shared their experiences, (both good and not so good) with us,so we are very aware of the type of situations that arise and need support through,  we are very fortunate to have built a wide network of connections covering the huge network of support and advice sectors nationwide, offering amazing facilities from equipment to counseling, financial to employment advice. We link very closely with many of the larger service charities who provide huge resources for families needing support, our aim is not to try to recreate any of the wonderful things they do, merely to make them accessible to those that can benefit from them.

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Our other aim is to provide a series of respite houses around the country for the families   to use when the wounded soldier (marine, or airman) is discharged from clinical care of hospital, this is to help alleviate the difficulties so many of us have endured trying to cope with a hotchpotch of begged , borrowed and improvised equipment in our own unadapted homes. This respite time should be a period of  calm and relaxation for the family, time they can use to reflect and begin to adjust and come to terms with the trauma they have experienced, sadly for many it is a time of immense anxiety, and frustration, the injured feel a burden to their family because in many cases the whole household has been turned around to accommodate them, that is if they have even been able to enter that family home!!  We have experienced service personnel who have had to stay in the Sergeants Mess, or even a hotel because they cannot access their family home.Conditions such as this can put relationships under increased pressure, and in some cases have even caused relationships to break down completely. 

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The respite house would give the family an opportunity to experience some of the adaptations they may be able to introduce into their own homes, or just let them work out what equipment works best for them, the wounded service person will be able to use the house to begin to gain some independence and dignity, beginning to take on daily tasks like making a drink or taking a shower can help to re instill self confidence and pride in his abilities to be independence.

Since the day of that dreadful knock on our door we have learned and discovered a huge amount of information regarding the welfare of wounded service personnel and their transition into civilian life, it has enabled us to widen our support network so we now work with multi agency service providers both civilian and military based.