Legion funds SIA peer support officer to help injured soldiers

100 injured Servicemen and women to benefit from Spinal Injuries Association  grant

A Royal British Legion grant of £8,649 has been awarded to the Spinal Injuries Association, a national charity based in Milton Keynes which works to support people with spinal cord injuries in the UK, advising, educating and campaigning on their behalf.

The project grant has been used to fund the role of a Regional Peer Support Officer who will provide advice and information to members of the Armed Forces community, and their families, affected by spinal cord injuries.

Lee Cairns, an ex-RAF Policeman who is himself spinal cord injured, is based at defence medical rehabilitation centre Headley Court, but also works across the UK, providing emotional, physical and practical support to this unique community.

The Legion grant will enable the charity to provide support to 100 beneficiaries over the coming year.

Amanda Saville, Trusts and Legacy Manager at Spinal Injuries Association, said:

“People with spinal cord injuries have very specialist needs and we are committed to helping each person coping with such an injury to live a full and active life.

“We have successfully run the Regional Peer Support Service for two years and it is now at a crucial point in its development – the Legion grant means the charity can focus on increasing our support for beneficiaries. Lee’s first hand experience of living with a spinal cord injury and being in the Forces means that he can provide invaluable support to his clients.”

The funding was provided through the Legion’s External Grants programme which, each year, gives £4 million to organisations which share its aim of safeguarding the welfare of the Armed Forces community.

Daniel Elser, Head of Grants & Social Policy for The Royal British Legion, said:

“Armed Forces personnel who suffered a spinal injury while deployed can be left with life-long impairments to their health and wellbeing. We are proud to support the Spinal Injuries Association’s project, as it complements our ambition to provide injured personnel and their families with the tools necessary to lead fuller, more independent lives.”

The Regional Peer Support Service is currently based at Headley Court, but also visits beneficiaries in their own communities. Those who want to find out more about the service  should contact: Lee Cairns on 07428 183668 or email him at l.cairns@spinal.co.uk.

For further advice, The Legion has now launched a new Freephone number 0808 802 8080, providing guidance to Serving personnel, veterans and their families from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week. For more information on the charity, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk

The Spinal Injuries Association is the leading national user-led charity for spinal cord injured people. Find out more at www.spinal.co.uk

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