Falklands veteran Simon Weston has helped launch a new facility in Co Fermanagh which will provide support to police and military veterans who were injured or psychologically impacted by their service.
Surrounded by the tranquillity of the lakelands, the Brooke House Health and Wellbeing Centre in Brookeborough will offer a range of services, including residential respite, trauma focused psychological therapy, physiotherapy and social events.
The new scheme will support retired RUC GC officers and their families who currently reside in, or were permanently based in, the counties of Armagh, Fermanagh or Tyrone prior to November 2001.
The project will also support military veterans from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF post-2008, and their families, who reside in Northern Ireland or the Republic. Therapies and treatments will be delivered within the Colebrooke Estate and at various locations across Northern Ireland.
Centre director Joan Clements said: “I am delighted to be involved the launch of this new innovative service offering multi-disciplinary support to meet the assessed needs of individuals and their families in a unique and wonderful setting. It is a great privilege to have had military veteran Simon Weston CBE as our guest speaker here today.”
Speaking to Q Radio, Ms Clements added: “There is nothing like this offered anywhere else. Because we are based in the Colebrook Estate, with the beautiful surroundings, we have all these therapies and counselling services on one site.”
Brooke House is an Ely Centre charitable project being funded through fines imposed on the banking industry (LIBOR) by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In 2012, HM Treasury announced that “the proceeds from LIBOR fines would be used to support Armed Forces and emergency services charities and other related good causes that represent those that demonstrate the very best of values.”
Other services will include retreat programmes, complementary therapy, nature based therapy and activity days.
DUP leader Arlene Foster attended Tuesday’s launch. Afterwards, she tweeted: “Privileged to attend the official launch of Brooke House at Colebrooke which will support retired RUC & RUCR officers and veterans from the main services who reside in NI and ROI #proudofNI.”
UTV presenter Paul Clark acted as the master of ceremonies.
Former Welsh Guardsman Simon Weston has been an inspiration to many, having overcome his own physical and psychological injured sustained while aboard the Sir Galahad in 1982.
When the ship was attacked by the Argentine air force at Bluff Cove, Simon was severely injured, sustaining burns to 46% of his body.
On the road to recovery he become well-known across the UK and abroad as an example of achievement in the face of adversity.
Asked for his views on the prosecution of military veterans over Troubles-era deaths, he told the BBC: “Going after somebody who was given an order to do something...what justice? There have been people who have openly admitted to crimes who have been let off. That’s not justice – that’s betrayal.”
For further information contact Brooke House on firstname.lastname@example.org and www.brookehouse.co.uk