Help from university for wounded soldiers

A YORKSHIRE university is helping wounded soldiers recover from their injuries at a specialist centre funded by the Royal British Legion.

Leeds Metropolitan University staff are providing coaching and training as part of a series of week-long courses at the new £27m Battle Back Centre in Shropshire.

The aim is to use sports and adventure activities to help the recovery of wounded, injured and sick service personnel.

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Prof Carlton Cooke, who heads the research team from Leeds Met’s Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, said: “The centre can accommodate up to 24 people, with 16 rooms fully equipped for those with a range of disabilities. Since pilot courses began last year, it has helped over 200 wounded, injured and sick service personnel and around 600 people a year can attend its multi-activity and personal development courses.”

Although the centre officially launched last month, Leeds Met have been on board since October 2011, through a series of pilot courses.

Dave Bunting, of Leeds Met’s Carnegie Great Outdoors and head of coaching and development for the Battle Back Centre, said: “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. There are two channels to be addressed for the ‘Battle Backers’ during the course – personal development and the adventure training.

“In 2013 we are also looking to offer additional courses which will focus on one particular skill such as climbing, archery or wheelchair basketball, with the intention for the participants being awarded a qualification in that sport upon completion of the course.

“The students are some of the most determined and inspirational men and women you could ever hope to have the privilege of meeting.”