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Blesma – THE LIMBLESS VETERANS

June 14, 2018

It was with great pleasure that Blesma came in on 17th April 2018 to present their Community Programme and the work that goes on behind the scenes to our leaners and staff in school. The Charity was represented by Mark an ex-serviceman, and Owain who is employed be Blesma. The key principles behind the programme focused on overcoming adversity and developing the resilience to get back up and face obstacles that life can throw at you.

Blesma is dedicated to assisting serving and ex-Servicemen and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the loss of use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight. The charity work supports these men and women in their communities throughout the UK and overseas. Blesma does not receive any government funding, so rely solely on public support to enable them to help our injured veterans for as long as they need them on the long and difficult road ahead. Contextually, Mark was a young soldier when he lost his left arm in a motor bike crash. He talked emotionally, honestly and graphically about the accident and how it initially changed his life in a negative way. Some of the points that he raised were:

  • Addiction to prescribed drugs
  • Alcoholism
  • Depression

Mark knew he needed to make changes in his life and with support, he overcame these by:

  • Taking a step back and seeing the damage he was doing to himself and his family.
  • Returning to education and gaining qualifications.
  • Joining the running club and competing in the Paralympics (marathon) where he won numerous medals.

During the time Mark was speaking the learners were all completely absorbed in his life story. To follow, learners completed a team exercise where they were given problem scenarios and then all talked about coping strategies when life’s problems get in the way of following the right path. Learners were then invited to ask questions: Some of the questions learners asked Mark were;

  • Would you (Mark) have a bionic arm fitted?
  • If you could go back in time would you change your life?
  • Do you think you would have had more opportunities if you had not lost your arm?
  • How did you overcome your addictions and who were the greatest help to you in your time of need?

We were delighted to present a cheque for the value of £776.65 to the Blesma charity. This money was raised by both staff and learners in the Link School through fund raising events

Contact

Link School Tudor Grove, Portland Road, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR3 1SS

Tel: 0191 562 3200
Fax: 0191 562 3201
Email: caroline.granton@schools.sunderland.gov.uk

Link School Pallion, Waverley Terrace, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear SR4 6TA

Tel: 0191 562 3126
Email: anita.blakeman@schools.sunderland.gov.uk