In 2015 we made 28 benevolence grants, working with partner charities to deliver life-changing opportunities, facilities, rehabilitation and treatment across our beneficiary spectrum.
Each bid for funding is rigorously assessed to ensure that our support reaches the correct people. We constantly seek to identify needs, and to improve services to meet them, ensuring that your funds have the maximum impact on those assisted. Prevention and early intervention are key drivers to ensure beneficiaries’ needs can be addressed at the earliest opportunity. Here are just a few examples of what your support enabled us to do.
Dan Fielding was medically discharged from the Royal Marines in 2008 and has now become a fully-qualified sailing instructor and part of the Turn to Starboard team, a charity that uses sail training not only to teach seamanship, but instills in Armed Forces personnel affected by military operations a renewed sense of confidence and self-discovery.
“I wasn’t sure what to do with my life and I just drifted,” Dan said, following medical discharge from the service, during which time he accessed various mental health services and received financial assistance and workplace referrals from The Royal Marines Charity. “When I was a Marine I was at the top of the slope, I knew what I was doing and that I was valued. Then when I left, it was like I was told – you’re no use to anyone any more… and I believed it. Now I am right up to the top again.”
Dan’s transition into working life wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of core Royal Navy and Royal Marines Group charities, which signposted him to T2S, funded his personal equipment and secured vital LIBOR funds with additional support through the Poppy Factory charity. In total, £18,000 helped see Dan and another two colleagues through year-long instructors courses.
Lacey-May is six years old and has Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. The Children’s Fund have helped her in the past by providing a special trike and horse riding lessons, both of which benefited her enormously.
The Charity was able to help with a significant milestone for Lacey-May. In March she underwent a six hour corrective nerve surgery operation which then required two years of physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
Unfortunately this treatment is not funded by the NHS in full (they can only fund 25% of the post-operative therapies) and they would only agree to the surgical procedure if the post-surgical therapy was guaranteed. The Children’s Fund has been delighted to fund the vital rehabilitation services Lacey-Mae required. Lacey-May has had her operation and is on a regular programme of therapy, which is proving so successful that she has managed to take her first steps. This is just one example of the powerful and uplifting difference that £720,000 in funding from the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and Greenwich Hospital has made to the work of the Children’s Fund.
In 1944, after telling a “wee fib” about his age, Bob Gilfillan enlisted as a submariner four months before his 18th birthday, and served on HMS Sceptre scouting German supply routes.
Many years later, Bob found his decreasing mobility made it increasingly difficult to cope with living at home. In January 2013, he decided he needed to be in a supported environment, and moved to the Erskine Home in his native Scotland.
A £50,000 grant we made to the Home is helping Bob and his fellow residents enjoy the later stages of their lives to the full. “I go to physiotherapy every day and it’s made a huge difference to my independence,” he says. “With determination and the support of the nurses and staff, I’m doing much better and I’m loving life.”
Rachel Hall, daughter of serving Major Rick Hall RM, had one ambition in life; to become a naval aviator. But following a road traffic accident in 2011, she was left paralysed from the chest down, confined to a wheelchair and brain damaged.
Despite a lengthy recovery period, Rachel found she was unable to propel her wheelchair herself. So it was a huge relief when a £17,000 grant from the Royal Marines Charity enabled her to buy a specialised ETAC chair. This can raise her into a sitting position so she can communicate with people at eye level, or a standing position to keep her muscles toned and bring up her weight through her hips and legs, essential if she is ever to benefit from medical advances in treating spinal injuries. The chair also allows her to lie flat so that she can catch up on sleep and avoid chronic fatigue. “My new chair is the bee’s knees!”, wrote Rachel in a thank you card to the charities who came together to support her. “I can’t tell you how much I love that it manages to get me standing up!”
Tough and determined, Rachel became the first paraplegic to compete in the gruelling 10km Commando Challenge, assisted by a large and willing team of helpers including labradors Jake and Claude and a specially-adapted rescue stretcher. Her incredible efforts resulted in raising in excess of £8,500 for the Group.