We recently caught up with Jaffa’s charity partner for 2020-21, Hockey for Heroes. We wanted to find out more about them, the people they help and the fun they have whilst raising money for their incredible cause. Keep reading to learn more about the charity and how Jaffa will be working in partnership with Hockey for Heroes to encourage healthier lives.
Hockey for Heroes is a UK-based charity that uses the power of sport to support people who have suffered as a result of the impact of war. They work with ex-service people to take on challenges up and down the UK each year to raise money for the national charity Help for Heroes.
The charity was founded in 2011 by a close group of friends who had served alongside each other in the British armed forces. They were inspired to start Hockey for Heroes to use the healing power of team sport to rebuild lives damaged by conflict.
How does sport help ex-service people?
The Hockey for Heroes founders placed hockey at the core of the charity due to the important role sport plays in the lives of military personnel.
“Service personnel are moulded upon joining the armed forces, to work as part of a team. They learn to rely on those around them with their life and for the success of the mission”Joel Forrester, Hockey for Heroes Managing Director
Service personnel who suffer injuries whilst serving can be left feeling that they lack purpose and a sense of identity. Seeing the challenges faced by some of their ex-colleagues as they adjusted back to ‘civvy life’ inspired Joel, Gary and Carl to establish Hockey for Heroes. They knew that sport could fill the void left behind once a soldier leaves the armed forces.
And so Hockey for Heroes was born! Their aim: to use sport to bring a feeling of belonging, purpose and involvement back into the lives of ex-service people.
What started as a plan to use hockey to raise money for Help for Heroes has grown to see the team take on endurance challenges, provide hockey coaching, and host festivals and tournaments. To date, the charity has worked with over 200 ex-service personnel to raise over £490,000.
Operation Stretcher is the most gruelling challenge the Hockey for Heroes team has completed to date. The challenge saw a squad of 44 ex-service people march over 200 miles from Cardiff to Marlow, Buckinghamshire in 10 days. Not only did they play 30 games of hockey along the way, but the team also took it in turns to carry Royal Marine Dominic Lovett in a stretcher!
Dom was injured during a military training exercise and is now a tetraplegic. Before this challenge, Dom had been experiencing severe health and psychological challenges. He was given the responsibility of Team Manager for Operation Stretcher. He was responsible for delivering team talks and communicating with Members of Parliament and VIP’s along the route. He also oversaw strategic team changes during the hockey games from his motorised wheelchair.
Dom embraced and excelled in his role and his confidence grew during the challenge. He said at the time that what had helped him the most was being seen for his abilities and leadership qualities and not for his injuries. Dom is still a key member of the Hockey for Heroes team today. His story goes to show what an important and life-changing role sport can play in someone’s life.
How will Jaffa and Hockey for Heroes be working together?
Our mission at Jaffa is to encourage people of all ages to live healthier and more active lives. The team at Hockey for Heroes aim to achieve the same outcome for the ex-servicemen and women they work with.
We have already kicked off our partnership with Hockey for Heroes with a bang! Throughout 2020, Jaffa sponsored Hockey for Heroes’ #HockeyAtHome coaching sessions. These training sessions taught participants the basics of playing hockey. The students learned about all sorts of things, from fitness for hockey, to stick skills and rehabilitation exercises.
Going forwards, we’ll be continuing to work together in pursuit of our mutual goal of helping people to live healthier and happier lives. Look out for updates on the Jaffa Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts and on the Hockey for Heroes Instagram and Facebook pages too!