For wounded ex‐soldier and avid rugby fan Sean, volunteering has been a life changing experience.
Sean was the victim of a grenade attack in Afghanistan in 2011. Almost four weeks after the explosion, he woke up in hospital, surrounded by his family, who had been told it was unlikely he would survive his severe brain injuries. He did, but was left almost paralysed down one side, deaf in his left ear and unable to speak. Part of his skull was removed to relieve his symptoms and he spent months in hospital undergoing countless operations, intensive physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Sean was a regular visitor to the ‘Help for Heroes’ Recovery Centre at Catterick, North Yorkshire. While using the Centre, Sean met Step Togther Volunteering Outreach Worker, Rosie.
When he met Rosie, Sean was coming to terms with having been medically discharged from the Army. “I used to love my job,” he said. “It was not just the job but the people and now we are miles and miles away from each other. That’s the biggest thing I miss about the Army.”
Sean was delighted when Rosie found him a position volunteering with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation helping with community clubs and schools. He had been a fan for as long as he could remember and the opportunity to help others by sharing this passion with others was perfect.
"I just don’t want to sit at home. Volunteering means I can get out and makes me feel much more relaxed. I have supported Leeds Rhinos for years and it’s great to be able to work for them and in my local community."
"Volunteering can really make a difference to both physical and mental health. Sometimes people have sat at home for eight to ten months before I meet them; they have just hit rock bottom and have no motivation. Volunteering gives them a change in their life, new skills and helps build new relationships. It can give a focus as well as offering new opportunities. It really does help self‐confidence and self‐esteem."