Coaches from the Chelsea Foundation were in Israel to support the inaugural Veteran Games and Conference in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The five-day event at the Beit Halochem rehab, rec and sports centres was attended by more than 100 Israeli and British injured veterans and their families, giving soldiers from the UK and Israel the chance to come together and share their experiences and the challenges they face under the banner of sport.
The event recognised the capacity for sport to boost rehabilitation and was complimented by a conference on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and mental health featuring experts from both countries. The programme also provided time for sharing experiences of war and recovery and for families to spend quality time together.
The Foundation staff in attendance provided coaching for the children in attendance, while also delivering coach-education sessions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem respectively to over 50 local coaches.
Chelsea Foundation international operations manager Michael Cornall said: ‘Supporting the Veteran Games and Conference was truly an unforgettable experience from start to finish.
‘The significance that the event had not only with the injured veterans, but the families and anyone involved with the games was remarkable.
‘It was fantastic to see so much enjoyment, supporting discussions and collaboration between all. It is clear that this event had a positive impact in supporting injured veterans and their families and it would be great to see this event become a regular fixture.
‘We worked with over 50 local coaches from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and shared ideas within coaching a variety of age group and abilities. We also highlighted the fantastic work of the Chelsea Foundation and spent time coaching the 100+ children in attendance.'
The Veteran Games – under the motto “Uniting extraordinary people” — was organised by Beit Halochem UK and the Embassy of Israel in London following on from a successful Israeli-British conference on PTSD and mental health in combat veterans, which featured a visit to Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv.
Participants, ranging from their twenties to fifties, and accompanying family members gathered for friendly competitions in sports such as swimming, wheelchair basketball, archery, table tennis X-Fit and rifle shooting, and met with international experts on post-trauma and rehabilitation.