Battle Back Centre launched
The Royal British Legion, who fund and operate the Lilleshall-based centre, held the official launch with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The opening ceremony was performed by Beth Tweddle, MBE, the Olympic medallist and Britain's greatest ever gymnast, and the Right Honourable Mark Francois, Minister of State for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.
Coaching and evaluation are provided at the Battle Back Centre by Leeds Met's Carnegie School of Sport and Carnegie Great Outdoors, a leading provider of Adventurous Activities and people development courses, who were commissioned based on their established expertise in the delivery of education and training courses using the outdoors and sport. In addition the University's Institute of Leadership and Management Centre has accredited the programme to give Battle Backers an ILM Level Two award, recognising team member skills to support their future career prospects.
Dave Bunting of Carnegie Great Outdoors and Head of Coaching and Development for the Battle Back Centre, said: "Our University has been involved with the Battle Back Centre from day one. We have undertaken more than ten pilot courses, each one better and more refined than the last, based on our evaluation and on feedback from those taking part. We have now made the transition from pilot to full capacity courses and the inclusive sporting equipment we use is second to none, ensuring that everyone who attends the week-long programmes can take part in each and every activity.
"What's more, the students are some of the most determined and inspirational men and women you could ever hope to have the privilege of meeting. Based on feedback from the Battle Backers and the evaluation it is clear that taking part in people development courses, using sport and adventurous training activities as vehicles for change, enhances recovery. We use a wide range of activities within our courses, including wheelchair basketball, archery, indoor climbing and caving, and water sports."
The Royal British Legion operates the Battle Back Centre in partnership with the MoD and Sport England. The Centre is hosted at Sport England's National Sports Centre at Lilleshall, where many Olympians - including Beth Tweddle herself - and Paralympians train, providing an inspiring environment for recovery.
Since pilot courses began last year, it has benefited over 200 wounded, injured and sick Service personnel and around 600 people a year can attend its multi-activity people development courses.
Leeds Metropolitan University's Vice Chancellor, Susan Price commented: "It is a privilege and an honour for Leeds Metropolitan University to be part of the Battle Back Centre. It is a life-changing facility for the men and women who undertake the courses devised and led by the Carnegie Faculty's dedicated team and I am delighted that the Royal British Legion recognised Leeds Metropolitan's special expertise in this sporting and evaluative area."
The Royal British Legion is providing £27 million to fund The Battle Back Centre as a key part of its £50 million commitment to the Defence Recovery Capability (DRC). The DRC is an MOD initiative in partnership with the Legion and Help for Heroes and supported by other Service charities and organisations to ensure that wounded, injured and sick Service personnel have access to the key services and resources needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled civilian life.