A Band of Sisters

Interviewing family members of injured personnel.

Background to the project

Having interviewed hundreds of veterans over the years, one subject kept coming up time and again – military personnel survive and thrive on the support they receive from their families. With increasing media coverage of military PTSD and the significant coverage of the Invictus and Paralympic games, we felt it was time to talk to the wider families – the parents and partners, husbands and wives, sons and daughters who support their military loved ones.

Teaming up with Help for Heroes’ Band of Sisters, their member shared their own stories in often heartbreaking detail as they revealed what happened to their loved ones and how they are still living with the consequences today.

Click on the image to meet some of the sisters

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"Every tragedy has a gift with it but sometimes, it's really difficult when I see him and he's in such pain and I think where's the gift?"

Fiona Hossell
Glen's mum

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. For many years called ‘shellshock’ within military circles it is today recognised as a medical condition which has significant impact on the health and wellbeing of the person suffering and of those around them.

The people who took part candidly shared their stories of proud members of the armed forces who are living with unforeseen consequences of serving their country. We are hugely grateful to them, as we are to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Armed forces Covenant Fund Trust who have generously supported this project.

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The Band of Sisters

The Help for Heroes’ Band of Sisters is a membership network open to the close supporting family members of veterans, service personnel and those who have served alongside our armed forces who have been wounded, injured or sick during, or as a result of, their service and resulting in an ongoing need for support.

Offering advice and support both practical and emotional they care for the carers, organising get-togethers as well as respite weekends at their unique facilities. Phoenix House at Catterick Garrison offers families a place to relax, have fun and just be, with a sisterhood where shared experiences and genuine understanding make a huge difference to military families. With the Legasee recordings of current ‘sisters’ we hope that more people will reach out for the support available to them.

"Help for Heroes have been really delighted to work with the highly experienced team at Legasee, in developing a great project that will, finally, recognise and record the contribution of military families and the sacrifices they have made over the years"

Lucy Wray,
Band of Sisters, Manager - North Region

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The Exhibition

Our exhibition highlighted a cross-section of the people we spoke to as we gathered the stories of parents, partners and children – the men and women who support those injured as a result of their military service.

Officially launched in April 2020 at Phoenix House at Catterick Garrison, the exhibition will soon begun a tour of the UK which takes in other Help for Heroes’ recovery centres, libraries and public events. Our first mobile exhibition is giving tens of thousands of people the chance to engage with the work Legasee and the Band of Sisters do and see for themselves the difference it makes.

Click on the image to meet some of the sisters

Click to view

"Thank you for bringing such an excellent display, it was generating interest from the moment it went up. It resonates so much with people in the area especially those with military connections."

Jane Greenwood
Librarian, Catterick Library

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Children's books

As we planned this project, we learned from the library service how few books they had to support children who are living with parents physically or emotionally changed from their service careers, or who were moving schools and leaving friends because of military postings. We decided to fill this gap by producing a series of books for younger children which directly tackle these subjects.

"Ollie’s got a problem and it just won’t go away, And ever since he’s had it, he’s been feeling kind of grey..."

Amy Brannan,
The author

Working with Le Catteau Primary School and children’s author Amy Brannan we ran workshops to devise plot and characters, directly addressing the needs of young children and involving them closely in the development of the books. The end product will be three children’s stories which encourage open conversation around a family’s specific experiences and support children to engage positively with their own circumstances.