JULIA Molony and Sue Hawkins launched The Ripple Pond in 2012 after realising that they had no one to turn to for help.
Sue said that there’s massive support available to families at first, but it’s often much later, when the injured are going through rehabilitation, that the relatives are hit by the ordeal.
“When my son began his rehabilitation the shock of the previous months hit me hard. At this point I lost all confidence which stopped me from phoning for help.
“I will never forget how this affected me and vowed then that I would do anything I could to improve support for future ‘injured families’.
“The Ripple Pond has helped me validate this traumatic experience and I am coming to terms with our new normality.”
Through a chance meeting, Julia and Sue realised that they were experiencing similar emotions. Julia explained: “My son’s injury was the brick in the pond, but the whole family was affected by the ripples it caused.”
Spreading the support
Julia and Sue hoped that the idea behind their original group in Sussex would “ripple” around the country.
They have certainly achieved this as there are now self-help groups across England with many more starting up, including in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Groups are open to any adult family member who is struggling to come to terms with the injury of a loved one – whether physical or emotional – wherever it has been sustained.
This includes Reservists and veterans as well as Regular Service personnel. Groups are kept small to establish a sense of trust and safety, which in turn helps members open up and express their feelings. Just being able to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience can be a major factor in recovery.
For further information, go to theripplepond.co.uk