Charity defends itself against newspaper allegations

Help for heroes medal by blacklizard1971-d66vsh0

​Veterans' charity says newspaper claims are inaccurate 

1st October 2015 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

One of the country’s best loved charities has defended against allegations it is wasting both donated and taxpayers' cash.

The Times ran a front page claiming rehabilitation centres run by Help for Heroes had dozens of empty beds.

Its story criticised the charity and the Ministry of Defence for allowing the cost of building recovery centres to spiral and creating more capacity than was allegedly needed. 

It based claims on interviews with people involved with the charity as well as data obtained via Freedom of Information requests.

But the charity’s founder has hit back with an open letter in which he says it has been a victim of its own success.

Bryn Parry, who is also chief executive, said Help for Heroes was originally created to build a swimming pool and had now helped thousands of veterans.   

Recovery is not measured in the number of beds occupied on any particular night - Bryn Parry

He said: “We could have stopped then but we listened to the wounded who told us that "while a pool will be great, what are we going to do for the rest of our lives?"

“So, hearing that, we set out to do our bit to ensure that they would get the best possible support. The Army asked us to fund a Pathfinder Recovery Centre in Edinburgh and we did.

“Then, as more were wounded in the bloody dust of the Sangin valley, we were asked to deliver three more centres and we did.”

Parry added: “Recovery is not measured in the number of beds occupied on any particular night; we are not running a Travelodge. These centres are helping to rebuild lives.” 

Some 3,836 men and women used its recovery centres between March 2014 and March 2015 according to the charity.

Colonel David Richmond, director of recovery at Help for Heroes and the most senior British army officer to be wounded in Afghanistan, said: “I was overwhelmed by the public respect for its wounded and for the way Help for Heroes was there for us when we needed them. 

“Most people who are injured in the Forces are young, have their whole lives ahead of them and find themselves in a very difficult position. The worst thing we could do as a nation is to neglect those who served their country and take away their hope.”