Supporting Wounded Veterans is so grateful for Syncona’s support. SWV is a charity which supports medically discharged personnel of the Armed Forces through rehabilitation to meaningful occupation. We support 400 veterans and their families. We at SWV try to support the most vulnerable veterans who feel that they have nowhere else to turn. Our goals push boundaries and seek opportunities for veterans that are not easily available elsewhere. For instance, with today’s epidemic on opioid addiction, we are helping those veterans who have dependency issues alongside their psychological and physical health needs. The approximate time since discharge for our veterans is six years and the average age is 38.6.
Syncona helps us achieve our vision
- Syncona has been SWV’s single largest unrestricted supporter.
- Syncona’s commitment has enabled us to strengthen our core team and develop our programmes including our pain services and therapies. We are supporting more veterans with pain management, legalised medication addiction and medication reviews – dealing with issues that are inhibiting veterans’ entry to meaningful occupation
- Syncona’s unrestricted funding allows us to play a comprehensive role in responding to veterans’ needs, including being able to give support for as long as it is required, not for a fixed period, resulting in statistically much better long-term outcomes
- Syncona’s support has allowed us to establish new relationships with organisations from other countries, pooling resources and data for groundbreaking new treatments for the most difficult and unresolved injuries
- Our programmes are heavily oversubscribed and Syncona’s support helps us meet this additional demand
- 96% of people attending pain clinics said they were better able to manage their pain resulting in better quality of life and improved work life
- As a result of our programmes over 87% of our veterans go into meaningful occupation, training or employment
Del, 37, suffered a severe brain injury in Afghanistan when the vehicle he was driving hit an IED.
Del lost all hearing in his right ear and suffered major bruising to his brain. His memory recall, coordination and ability to process information were badly affected. “It was as if I was living in a permanent fog,” he says. “I became painfully slow at the simplest of tasks and unable to do more than one thing at a time.” Later, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. “It was a vicious circle – I became tired and sleepy a lot of the time, and that made me frustrated and angry.” Del had served 19 years, having enlisted as a 16-year-old school leaver. “I’d always thought I would see out my career in the army, but after my injury, I lost all my confidence and I couldn’t see what I was going to do with my life”.
He was offered a place on a Supporting Wounded Veterans trip. “One of the first things you realise when you are put together with a bunch of wounded veterans is that there is always someone worse off that you. We bounced off each other, shared problems and I made instant friendships.” At the end of the week he said: “It was as if a line had been drawn in the sand. I stopped thinking about the negatives and realised I could look forward to the future.”
On his return home, Del was paired with a mentor to help him focus on re-employment. As a keen fisherman, he got a job in a local fishing & shooting shop. He has since volunteered with Supporting Wounded Veterans as a helper. “I feel like my life has moved on a million miles and it has been great to pass on my experience to the other veterans.”