Prince Harry’s Invictus Games veterans give NHS workers a boost with new scheme to help medics through their ‘new kind of battle’ with Covid
- Prince Harry’s Invictus Games veterans will now support frontline NHS workers
- The support will come in the form of six podcasts on variety of wellbeing themes
- Comes after Invictus Games were postponed again, this time until Spring 2022
Prince Harry’s Invictus Games veterans are to support NHS workers battling the pandemic through a series of podcasts.
Harry is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation which has collaborated with the NHS to provide guidance on supporting the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of medical workers and other staff during and after the pandemic.
The advice is in the form of six podcasts on a variety of themes designed to help inspire and support NHS workers, and are based on lessons learned by the Invictus community during its recovery.
The foundation oversees the delivery of the Invictus Games, founded by Harry, for injured, sick and wounded veterans and serving military.
Prince Harry (pictured at Invictus events with Meghan in 2018 left and by himself right in 2019) is the patron of the Invictus Games Foundation which has collaborated with the NHS to provide guidance on supporting medical workers
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend the Wheelchair Basketball finals during the Invictus Games on October 27, 2018
Harry said: ‘For a year now, NHS workers have been engaged in a new kind of battle.
‘They have consistently set aside their own physical and emotional health in the service of others.
‘This service and sacrifice resonates deeply with so many in the Armed Forces community.
‘With this ongoing project, we know that the NHS and Invictus communities will learn from each other, support each other, and lead conversations that everyone can draw from.
‘It is from these shared experiences I hope people can find strength, compassion, and understanding, and the inspiration they need for their own recovery and resilience.’
The Invictus Games was due to be staged in the Netherlands this summer but has been postponed for another year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first podcast will be released on Thursday and features Glenn Haughton, the Armed Forces mental health champion, talking about reconnecting with the family.
Prerana Issar, chief people officer for NHS England and NHS Improvement said: ‘This partnership offers practical support to further complement the already extensive help available for our hard-working staff from the mental health hotline exclusively for NHS workers, through to access to health and wellbeing apps which thousands of staff have already benefited from.’
Last week, Prince Harry paid tribute to ‘key workers on the front line’ in an emotional video announcing the 2020 Invictus games would be pushed back again.
The Duke of Sussex features in the uplifting video, shared to announce the latest postponement of the games – in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel from around the world compete in a variety of sports.
The Duke of Sussex (pictured) features in the uplifting video, shared to announce the latest postponement of the games
The video also features Invictus competitors sharing their support for key workers and promising to be ready to compete once the pandemic is over
The event was originally due to take place in the Hague, the Netherlands, in May 2020. But the games were rescheduled until May this year due to the Covid pandemic.
Now the event has been pushed back again, this time until 2022, after organisers decided against holding a digital version.
The latest postponement announcement was posted alongside a video featuring Invictus competitors sharing their support for key workers and promising to be ready to compete once the pandemic is over.
In the video, Prince Harry, who created the games, said: ‘To the key workers on the front lines in the battle against the pandemic, we are with you.’
Announcing the postponed of the 2020 Invictus Games on their website today, organisers said: ‘The Organising Committee are conducting plans to reschedule the Invictus Games to Spring 2022, and a date will soon be confirmed.
‘Options to deliver a Games this year, including digitally or later in 2021, were not taken forward by the respective boards of the Organising Committee or the Invictus Games Foundation on the basis of identifying the best opportunity to deliver a physical Games in The Hague which would bring the Invictus community together.
‘The competitor recovery journey and the wish to provide them with as much certainty as possible lay at the heart of the decision-making.’
Wouter Bakker, Captain of the Dutch Invictus Games team said: ‘Given the current Corona situation, the news comes as no surprise.
‘A digital variant or organising the event without an audience would not feel like an Invictus Games to me and does not do justice to the spirit of the Games. I, as well as my teammates, think that moving the event to the Spring of 2022 is the best decision.
‘This will end the uncertainty that all participants are in and we can properly prepare and focus on next year.’
Organisers say a series of activities to keep the Invictus Community together and demonstrate its continued resilience will be held between May 29 and June 5 this year. More details will be announced in due course, organisers say.
In a joint message, signed by Invictus organisers and its patron, Prince Harry, those behind the games have vowed that ‘this does not mean support for the Invictus community will go dark in the meantime’.
In a joint message, signed by Invictus organisers and patron Prince Harry, they vowed that ‘this does not mean support for the Invictus community will go dark in the meantime’
In the statement, they added: ‘We are Invictus: from the communities that host and cherish the Games, and the competitors who display unshakeable resilience and commitment as they prepare for and participate in the Games, to the families and network of supporters who support these men and women on their journey to competition.
For so many around the world, the Invictus community included, COVID-19 has changed our expectations, hopes, and plans.
‘But our unwavering mission is one bound by resilience and community—and that mission will continue to shine through between now and Spring 2022, when we hope to see everybody in person again in The Hague.
‘For now, we are planning programming, opportunities to connect safely during the foreseeable future, and ways to infuse the spirit of Invictus in your own communities over the coming year. We’re excited to share more soon.’
Prince Harry created the Invictus games in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in nine sports.
The name ‘Invictus’ comes from the late Roman sun god by the same name. He was also named the ‘Unconquered Sun’ – which is where the games takes its ‘unconquered’ message.
The first event was held in 2014 in London, before a follow-up event was held in the United States two years later.
The last games was held in 2018 in Sydney. Organisers had planned the 2020 event to take place in the Netherlands in May that year, but it was postponed in March following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic.
Alongside the postponed 2020 event, a 2023 event is scheduled to take place in Dusseldorf in Germany.
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