After being diagnosed with a rare condition, John’s life was greatly impacted and his options were limited. However since joining the Military Hub, he has discovered a vital support network of like minded people who have helped him to realise that there’s plenty more that he can do.
John lives with a very rare condition called Myasthenia Gravis (MG), which is a severe neurological condition that affects key muscles in his arms, neck, legs and in particular his eyes to the extent that he is registered as Severely Sight Impaired. The condition is incurable and is managed on a day-to-day basis with a range of medication.
When he was diagnosed with this condition his life was greatly impacted and as a result he experiences reduced mobility which effects his ability to get out, and regularly faces a loss of vision. The condition also took a toll on John’s mental health which saw him experience severe depression and a loss of confidence.
Through this difficult time, he depended on his wife Liz who reached out to the Blind Veterans Charity who ran courses in Llandundo and Brighton to help make his sight loss more bearable. These sessions proved to be useful however they would only take place 3 or 4 times a year, meaning it was hard to build up the confidence to engage with others locally. Following on from this, John got in touch with Shrewsbury Council through the Armed Forces Covenant. This is where he found out about Shrewsbury Town FC Foundation’s Military Hub.
In partnership with the Armed Forces Covenant, the Military Hub is a support system for local people to connect with others that are linked to other veterans. These hub sessions allow for social interaction and light physical activity, including exercise sessions and gym classes. Due to these hub sessions, John built a support network and started to grow his confidence and physical ability.
“Taking part in the hub activities alongside other Covenant supporting organisations has made a huge difference to me personally. I am more confident going out and my outlook on life has hugely improved.
Since contracting MG some 6 years ago I went from someone working full time since the age of 16 to being unable to work at all and someone who is entirely dependent on state benefits for my income. The fact that the Club supports the costs associated with the Hub activities is vital for someone like myself and it is very much appreciated.
My family and friends have noticed the positive changes in my outlook on life none of which would have happened without the support and commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant of the Council and that of Shrewsbury Football Club for which I am very grateful.”
– John Bennett, Military Hub participant