The Daily Telegraph - - Christmas Charity Special -

There are the hor­ri­fy­ing events that leave their mark on us all: Gren­fell Tower ablaze, the 2016 Croy­don tram crash or, 30 years ago this Christ­mas, the hor­ror of Locker­bie.

Then there are the daily oc­cur­rences, un­seen by most of us, though no less trau­ma­tis­ing for those first on the scene: house fires, car crashes, gas ex­plo­sions. For the UK’S fire and res­cue ser­vices, this is the re­al­ity of ev­ery shift.

In 2017/18, 350,000 duty days across the UK’S fire and res­cue ser­vice were lost to poor health. The na­ture of the work of­ten means phys­i­cal in­juries, but many oth­ers can be left with in­vis­i­ble psy­cho­log­i­cal scars.

The Fire Fighters char­ity was formed in 1943 to sup­port the fam­i­lies of fire­fight­ers killed in the Blitz, and now works with more than 5,000 ben­e­fi­cia­ries per year.

In its 75th year, the char­ity runs phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, health and well-be­ing pro­grammes from three cen­tres around the coun­try. Its work ranges from pro­vid­ing im­me­di­ate and on­go­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port to fire­fight­ers af­ter ma­jor in­ci­dents, to spe­cial­ist sup­port for fam­i­lies and chil­dren with com­plex health needs.

With fur­ther fund­ing, the char­ity will be able to en­hance men­tal health sup­port ser­vices – dou­bling its ca­pac­ity to sup­port peo­ple and re­pur­pos­ing and ex­pand­ing its base in Devon.

This means that what­ever trauma they face, fire­fight­ers have a chance to re­turn to work and keep the rest of us safe.

Marathon for many: but the char­ity helps suf­fer­ers get through

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