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Home is where the heart is for AWI

Posted on 15 Feb 2024 and read 356 times
Home is where the heart is for AWIAn essential ‘home away from home’ for military patients and their families has been given a perfect 10th birthday present by one of the UK’s fastest-growing manufacturers. Brierley Hill-based Alloy Wire International (AWI) has made Fisher House, situated on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Birmingham, the eighth recipient of its ‘Wired for Good’ campaign, donating £5,000 towards the crucial work of the charity.

It costs £40 per night to help a military family going through some of the toughest times of their lives and the AWI funding will cover 125 nights of free accommodation. That will be over four months of support for people, who might otherwise be hundreds of miles away from their loved one and takes away the incredible financial burdens of parking, fuel, and hotel fees. AWI is hoping that this is just the start of the relationship with Fisher House and will shortly be meeting Ambassador Dave Watson, a triple amputee, and Invictus Medal Winner, for a guided tour and to see how the firm can get more involved.

Adam Shaw, AWI’s financial director, said: “Fisher House is an amazing charity, based here in the West Midlands but touching the lives of families all over the UK and, in some instances, the world. We feel passionately about supporting our military personnel who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe, so when the decision came to find our 8th beneficiary it was an overwhelming ‘yes’ to this amazing charity. Since it was launched by King Charles in 2013, the essential ‘home from home’ has supported more than 7,000 families at what is arguably the hardest time of their lives. In addition to the £5000 donation we have made as part of the Wired for Good campaign, we will also look at how we can support their future appeals and ensure their outstanding support is offered to even more people.”

Fisher House gives families of military personnel needing treatment the chance to stay in a secure and supportive environment for as long as they need without any charge. This eliminates the stress of finding somewhere to stay, financial strains as well as the pressures of travelling back and forth to the hospital. The house is entirely charity funded and relies solely on donations to keep the crucial facility running, year after year. Sophie Westlake, senior fundraising and communications officer at Fisher House, said: “Business support is vital to our existence. We receive no Government or military funding, so without the backing of companies like AWI we simply wouldn’t be able to keep our doors open.”

Fisher House was there for me

This was a point echoed by Dave Watson, whose time here has inspired him to stay on as an Ambassador. The former soldier was on a foot patrol in Helmand Province in Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device), with the resulting blast blowing off both his legs and an arm. Initial treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham didn’t have the desired effect and it was only after a pioneering medical procedure in Australia and months of intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation did he begin to gain full use of his prosthetic legs.

“Fisher House was there for me and, importantly, my family throughout what was the toughest times of our lives and I will never forget that,” explained Mr Watson, who has since gone on to achieve three gold medals at the Invictus Games. “I love working here and being able to help support service people and their families through their treatment at Queen Elizabeth – it is a real privilege. The assistance and love we received was second to none and I know how important it is to have companie like AWI backing us financially.”

Fisher House is the eighth beneficiary of the AWI ‘Wired for Good’ campaign, which has now directed £40,000 to various good causes across the West Midlands. These have included Sands, the baby loss charity, Mary Stevens Hospice, the Chris Westwood Charity for Children with Physical Disabilities, the Giving Hands Mission, Acorns Children’s Hospice, and male mental health help group ‘Tough Enough to Care’.

Mr Shaw concluded: “You can’t fail to be inspired by what Dave and hundreds of other veterans have gone on to achieve in life after suffering horrendous injuries. If we can help just one family to come through the other side, then the donation will have been money very well spent.”