The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) community across the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force attends over 2,500 suspect devices, WWII bombs, and terrorist situations in Great Britain each year.
With the UK having recently been struck by an increase in terrorist activity; the Manchester bombing and attacks in London have had a national impact and our thoughts are with all of those affected.
There is a group of people who are on call 24/7 to assist the emergency services with such events: the men and women of the EOD community who are continually on the front line protecting the country. You rarely see or hear of their contribution but members of specialist military EOD units and SO15 – the Metropolitan Police Counter Terror Unit – play a pivotal role in exploiting and, where possible, preventing terrorist attacks.
This continued exposure to highly stressful situations can have a lasting effect both physically and mentally on individuals. Felix Fund – the bomb disposal charity supports these brave professionals by providing much needed welfare support and financial assistance.
In the first years of its existence Felix Fund provided normalisation breaks for over 100 EOD teams on their return from Afghanistan. These breaks proved vital in reducing the risk of poor mental health among individuals in these teams.
Today Felix Fund continues to focus on the important issue of mental health amongst serving military and, in late 2015 we launched a programme providing training in mindfulness techniques. Known as the Dashboard Courses; the aim is to provide individuals with tools and techniques which will enable them to recognise warning signs of stress and other mental health illnesses and to allow them to develop their ability to relax, clear their minds and focus on positive aspects of their life. This will then feedback into a more productive and stress reduced work and home environment.
The Dashboard courses have proved very effective. How many training programmes will get a group of serving military doing yoga, breathing exercises and running around a room playing catch with fluffy toy?! The key to the programme is a totally relaxed environment away from work and home stresses, where individuals can focus on them self.
Another key area for Felix Fund is providing hardship grants, to serving military, veterans and their family members when they find themselves in times of need.
This can be as wide ranging as home adaptations such as the installation of a lift for a multiple amputee, funding for a specially adapted vehicle and in the purchase of specialist equipment, such as electric wheelchairs, and bespoke sporting equipment.
Our most recent support has been towards, sporting wheelchairs. Two former Sappers, both of whom lost their legs in Afghanistan have been provided with a rugby and racing wheelchairs, which has enabled them both to be selected for the Invictus Games in Toronto.
We also provided the young disabled son of a former Sapper with a football wheelchair. His family had moved and he was not able to borrow a chair at his new team, meaning he could no longer play. Now he has his own and is back on the pitch.
The charity is not just here for the serving and recent veterans; we help those involved with WWII. We purchased a stair lift for the widow of a WWII Sapper and a specialist chair for a former RAF WWII bomb disposal veteran.
From wheelchairs, to replacement windows to funeral costs, the charity prides itself on tailoring the help we give to match individual’s needs.
Felix Fund also concentrates on sustaining the memories of those who gave their lives in the line of duty. From those bomb disposal personnel killed in the troubles in Cyprus in the 1950’s through the 1970’s and 1980’s in Northern Ireland, where many paid the ultimate price to those we lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We help with the upkeep of memorials to those men and women, as well as ensuring that they are never forgotten.
Felix Fund is thrilled to have been selected to be a partnering charity at DSEI 2017. This will enable us to engage with a huge variety of companies and organisations within the defence and security sectors; confirming our role for the EOD community and showcasing how we help those in need.
We will be running a special show raffle and at £10 per ticket all proceeds will be going towards helping our bomb disposal heroes. To purchase your ticket please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/felixdsei2017 donate £10. You will then receive a special code via email – this must be brought to the Felix Fund stand at the show N8-296 for you to be entered into the daily prize draw.
For more information about Felix Fund visit our website.