UEA charity event aims to inspire support for veterans post-combat

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A symposium in Norwich hopes to raise awareness of post-combat care and support for military personnel and their families whilst raising valuable funds, the first event of its kind in the UK.

Inspired by the achievements of Race2Recovery – the rally team of wounded ex-soldiers who completed the 2013 Dakar Rally – the event brings together injured service personnel, their families and national organisations involved in supporting them.

The day-long event at Dunston Hall on May 16 is organised by the University of East Anglia and is titled ‘Beyond Injury: supporting recovery from combat trauma’.

Help for Heroes, Combat Stress, the Ministry of Defence Recovery Services and Veterans Norfolk will explore partnerships between these organisations and the activities which help injured military and their families participate fully in life.

Members of the Race2Recovery team including team manager Andrew Taylor, from Taverham, driver Tony Harris and ‘Joy’ - the vehicle that historically completed the rally - will also be there. Those attending the event will be able to get an insight into their adventure attempting the Dakar Rally which is on target to raise half million pounds for Help For Heroes recovery centre Tedworth House in Wiltshire.

Deborah Harrison from UEA’s School of Allied Health Professionals said: “This is the first event of its kind to bring a wide range of organisations together to look at the huge variety of support offered to injured military and to raise vital funds at the same time.

“The Race2Recovery team did such an amazing and inspiring job when they drove more than 8,500 miles across South America. It is that drive and determination we want to share even further with Norfolk’s public to show just how important it is to support ex-soldiers in fully participating in life after the military when they’ve been injured.”

UEA is an official supporter of Race2Recovery. Deborah works as a volunteer for the team and was granted study leave during the Dakar rally. The School of Allied Health Professions focuses its teaching and research around the themes of rehabilitation and participation and Race2Recovery is an extraordinary example of both.

The Race2Recovery team also featured in a 2-part ITV4 documentary last week, showing how participation in motorsport has taken those involved further on in their rehabilitation.

Presentations on the day will come from the Race2Recovery team, Tedworth House, Prof Catherine Sackley from UEA, Prof Jamie Hacker Hughes from Anglia Ruskin University, and other organisations.

Prof Hughes from Anglia Ruskin said: “We hear a lot about the difficulties faced by former military personnel but this event very much celebrates what can be achieved in overcoming adversity. However, there is still much that we in the NHS and Third Sector need to learn about the needs of wounded and injured personnel and this day gives us a chance to learn about some of the many initiatives in this area.”

Tickets to the event are available now and cost £90. Refreshments and lunch will be provided on the day. All proceeds from ticket sales and the event will be donated by the University of East Anglia to the Race2Recovery Foundation, to be given to Help For Heroes for Tedworth House.

For more information or to book tickets, visit http://www.uea.ac.uk/allied-health-professions/community-engagement/beyond-injury-symposium