Jubilee House, a facility in the Cumbrian Lake District, operates as a rehabilitation center that aids firefighters who have physical and psychological injuries. Their 10-acre estate has been providing a sanctuary to firefighters since 1995. The Fire Fighters Charity, the group that supports this center and two others, has been aiding these heroes for even longer, with 75 years of service. The other locations tending to the injured are Marine Court in Sussex and Harcombe House in Devon.
With their on-site nursing team working round the clock, the UK Fire & Rescue Service personnel have professional assistance to recuperate from injuries ranging from PTSD to torn ligaments. But the firefighters aren’t the only ones these centers serve — Children’s Burns Trust, a charity that rehabilitates burned and scalded children, also spends time with psychologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and play specialists there.
On Jubilee House’s grounds, there are three pools guests can enjoy, along with a fitness center and gym. Their hydrotherapy pool offers a chance to recuperate in the water for those with mobility issues and other conditions. They also maintain a 40-room housing facility and 15 other houses, and their accommodations include en-suite rooms and catered meals. Harcombe House has gardens and lakes for families to relax near, too.
A Built-In Peer Group Helps with Recovery
Beneficiary Vicky Ridgway, who claimed the spot of the first female firefighter in North Wales when she began her career, suffered an ACL injury while working at her station in Wrexham. After she tried to push through the pain, Ridgway found out she was headed for surgery and wouldn’t be able to do physical work for almost a year.
Post-surgery, Ridgway struggled with how life slowed down. The lifestyle of a firefighter is fast-paced, but recoveries like hers separate these dedicated workers from their fire service community and regular lifestyle. But when she came to Jubilee House, she regained support from fellow firefighters and assistance with her recuperation.
Regaining a Positive Perspective
Not all firefighter injuries happen on the job, like in the case of Stuart Richardson. His patellar tendon in his left knee ruptured after a charity game with the police team. The injury occurred without any person-to-person impact, with a misstep leading to an excruciating cracking sound in his leg.
Richardson left his position playing European football just before devoting himself to his current job. His growing family was another factor in this decision, and when his injury happened, he was planning to welcome another child into the family.
Juggling his full-time position at the Aberdeen fire service and part-time involvement at the Montrose watch, Richardson had to put his active life on hold with his injury. He gave himself something to look forward to and work toward by setting a goal for his new son’s due date. Richardson told himself he’d be able to walk again with the hope that he could hold and play with both of his children by this time.
With only 30 minutes of physiotherapy a week available to him, he was looking for extra help to progress his recovery. Richardson had been a longtime supporter for the Fire Fighters Charity programs and reconnected with them through a co-worker.
After finding a program that suited him, he also was able to regain perspective about his state. He saw others who had more severe injuries and greater struggles, which helped him get through his challenge. He had the chance to receive important post-injury advice from experts, which can make or break the recovery process. The benefit of spending time with a group of firefighters also lifted his spirits.
Discovering Hope and Healing
Another beneficiary, James Thorpe, sustained a spinal injury off the job which paralyzed most of his body. A nighttime swim led to a blow to his head on the ground, but his ability to deal with high-pressure situations allowed him to get help quickly.
Through marital problems and depression, Thorpe experienced many additional challenges that left him hopeless. But he found the strength to move forward during his interaction with Jubilee House. Despite his continued lack of mobility, this center has helped him reach goals and has given him the assistance of capable staff.
Thorpe, Richardson and Ridgway, among many other firefighters, found a haven in Jubilee House. The Fire Fighters Charity and their recuperation centers lend a hand to fire service workers who are fighting many kinds of battles. These heroes had to take a step back from their active service to benefit from the service of others. Helping those who contribute so much to society is the unique job of this charity, and their efforts are changing lives.