The Battle Back Centre, created at Lilleshall National Sports Centre to support the recovery of injured Service people, has been opened by Olympic medallist Beth Tweddle and Defence Minister, Mark Francois MP.
Sport is a key part of the activities offered as it helps participants to build confidence and independence, allowing them to make the best possible recovery. Around 600 wounded, injured and sick Service personnel will benefit from spending time at the centre each year, in the inspirational setting of Sport England’s national sport centre.
Sapper Clive Smith, who was seriously injured by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2010, took part in the Battle Back Centre programme earlier this year – and then returned to do a wheelchair basketball instructors’ course in September.
“The ongoing support I’ve received from Battle Back Centre staff and others over the course of my recovery has been invaluable,” he said. “Taking part in activities like wheelchair basketball, rock climbing and bowling was great fun and really encouraged me to focus on what I could do as opposed to what I couldn’t do after injury. This positive outlook has really helped in all parts of my life.”
The centre is funded and operated by the Royal British Legion in partnership with the Ministry of Defence. Speaking at the launch yesterday Beth Tweddle, who trains at Lilleshall, said: “It’s wonderful that Service men and women, who have given so much for our country, can use their experiences at the Centre to build their motivation and their self-belief.”
Sport England supported the creation of the Battle Back Centre’s specialist accommodation block by transforming an existing building at Lilleshall. “We feel honoured to have contributed to the partnership that has established The Battle Back Centre”, said Sport England’s Property Director, Charles Johnston. “Hundreds of wounded personnel will benefit from attending this fantastic facility ever year, in the same inspiring environment where many of our leading Olympians and Paralympians train.”
The Centre’s world-class coaching expertise is provided by the Carnegie School of Sport and Carnegie Great Outdoors, both part of Leeds Metropolitan University.