Denise and Gareth Golightly
Denise and Gareth have three children aged six, five and two. Gareth was a vehicle specialist in the Royal Logistics Corps from 2001 to 2004. His right leg was amputated above the knee following a car accident in which he also suffered damage to his left leg. He was medically discharged in 2004. SSAFA has supported the family in adapting their home and making the garden more accessible. Gaz has since excelled at sports including wheelchair basketball, and SSAFA has also assisted him in applying for funding for sports equipment.
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Denise said: “I joined the NAAFI when I was 17 and I met Gaz when I was based at Headley Court. When he was discharged in 2004 it felt like we fell off the radar a bit. We plodded along for years moving from house to house not really realising there was help available. It was a really difficult time for us but fortunately we’re a strong family. I had a friend who had a disabled partner and he played wheelchair basketball. I persuaded Gaz to try it and that was the start of it all. He has grown so much in confidence since then. He’s competed at the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games and is doing really well.
“When we were first allocated our Haig home we had to have a stair lift put in and someone from SSAFA in Hartlepool arranged that for us. By the time we moved in the stair lift was all ready for us. When we actually moved Haig told us to have an assessment of the house to make sure we had everything we needed and that’s when we met Janice from SSAFA. She turned up and there was stuff all over the place! Gareth could not get out in the garden because it wasn’t accessible at that point and it was full of trees and rubbish. I remember she said, ‘we might be able to help you with the garden’ and it went from there. Janice applied for funding to make the garden accessible and we also got a shed to store all Gaz’s sports equipment so it wasn’t in the house any more. Janice is lovely. She thought about the extra things that really made a difference. If it wasn’t for SSAFA coming out and seeing people in their homes none of that would have happened as I would never have thought to ask for help with the garden.
“Gaz now does wheelchair basketball, hand-cycling, archery, wheelchair racing and Janice helped us apply for the funding for some of his sports equipment too. We also raised the money for a trailer for all Gaz’s equipment. One of the main reasons was so that our family can spend more time together. Now at weekends or during the holidays we can all go with him as there is room in the car so we can all watch and support him and he can be there for the children’s bedtime.
“Janice has been a Godsend. It’s not just about the practical things it’s the fact that SSAFA is there if I need advice. Janice is the first person I would call. When you have caseworkers like that people know they have someone they can rely on.”