Prince opens unit for heroes’ families

The Prince of Wales has officially opened a purpose-built “home away from home” for the families of wounded troops being treated in hospital.

Charles met wounded service personnel and their families before cutting a ribbon and unveiling a plaque to mark the opening of the Help for Heroes-backed Fisher House at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The unit, thought to be the first UK-US military charity partnership, will provide long-term support for the loved ones of servicemen and women with life-changing injuries.

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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity, Help for Heroes and American charity Fisher House Foundation formed a partnership to set up the 18-bedroom home.

A five-minute walk from the wards where military patients injured overseas are treated, the new accommodation will be made available to their families at no charge.

Offering spacious bedrooms, kitchen facilities, living rooms and a garden, the new £4.2m building is designed to allow military families to share their experiences and support each other.

The Prince of Wales, who has made numerous private visits to injured troops at the hospital in recent years, also chatted with staff who will help to run the newly opened home, which is modelled on a network of similar facilities in the United States.

Speaking later, Bryn Parry, a co-founder of Help for Heroes, said family members played a “hugely important” role in the recovery process and it was essential they become involved from an early stage.

Mr Parry said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity and Fisher House Foundation to open Fisher House UK. It is important to remember that while the withdrawal from Afghanistan draws closer, the end of medical treatment for those who have suffered life-changing injuries does not and while we celebrate the official opening today, we recognise that this facility needs support for the long term.”