Lieutenant-Colonel Stewart Hill’s moving story at this year’s All Industry Conference in Malta has prompted the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) to nominate Walking with the Wounded (WWTW) as its charity partner for 2016.
Founded in 2010 by two ex-servicemen, Walking with the Wounded supports veterans with physical, mental or social injuries on their journey to long-term security, independence and employment. Crucial to fulfilling this aim is to provide beneficiaries with nationally recognised skills and qualifications post-military service that are relevant to Corporate UK and which will provide the long-term security and independence required for themselves and their families.
Hill, who served in the British Army for 18 years and a beneficiary of the WWTW, gave a moving presentation about how he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2009 whilst fighting in Afghanistan and the impact it had on his life.
In addition to fundraising for the charity, the BMF will be working with WWTW to develop a work placement programme with merchant and supplier members for the service veterans, or beneficiaries, the charity supports. Initially, the BMF/WWTW Employment programme will be trialled in one region before being rolled out on a wider scale.
BMF MD, John Newcomb said: “Those who heard Stewart Hill speak at the recent BMF All Industry Conference could not fail to be moved by his story. Stewart, a beneficiary of WWTW, has dealt with huge changes to build a new life after shrapnel from an IED tore into his brain whilst fighting in Afghanistan. He provided the impetus for the BMF to support WWTW as its charity partner next year.
“We want to make a real difference, not just in terms of fundraising but also to help provide job opportunities for other veterans supported by the charity through their retraining programme.”
Andrew Cook, WWTW’s director of fundraising said: “We are delighted to be working with BMF and believe our joint Employment programme has huge benefits for their members as well as for the veterans we support. Many employers see teamwork, creative problem solving, multitasking, enthusiasm and initiative as key to success, the British Soldier has these in abundance.
“WWTF beneficiaries are highly skilled with a work ethic honed through years of training during their time in the military. It’s a powerful mix and is why our wounded make for such excellent employees. Our programmes ensure that wounded veterans benefit from the right qualifications and training, which ensure they become a sought-after asset within any business.”
Stewart Hill is a member of the WWTW team that will be tackling the 1000 mile Walk of Britain this autumn. The Walk starts on August 22nd from the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland and finishes on November 1st in central London.