The visit to Harcombe House started with a briefing on The Fire Fighters Charity, founded in 1943, is the primary Charity providing support to the fire and rescue service community in times of need providing ‘whole person’ health and wellbeing services including residential rehabilitation focussing on both physical health, mental and emotional wellbeing, recuperation and community-based social care support. Beneficiaries include operational and retired members of the fire and rescue service and their dependents.

Harcombe House will be a centre of excellence providing high quality Mental Health services for members of the fire services community. The Harcombe House site is being fully refurbished to provide a relaxed atmosphere promoting emotional wellbeing and the opportunity to work with highly skilled staff in a centre of excellence, developing the skills and tools needed for beneficiaries to lead, manage and sustain their own recovery.

The centre will be inspirational and enabling in encouraging resilience and the return to positive activity for individuals, groups and families. This will include provision of psychological support services as both one to one and group programmes; the delivery of individualised solution focussed health and well-being programmes providing education, information and guidance, physical and emotional support and skills to equip beneficiaries to make healthy and positive life choices and live successfully with the challenges presented. These programmes will provide support for individuals, couples and families to enable genuine and long-standing development of resilience and behaviour change, helping to address the challenges of modern living alongside the occupational challenges faced by fire and rescue services workers. The individualised approach will allow targeted support to provide strategies to address how individual beneficiaries experience these risks in different social contexts.

During The Duke’s visit, he revealed plans to train as a volunteer counsellor for the text crisis service ‘Shout’.  His Royal Highness spoke of his ambition as Shout announced a partnership with emergency services organisations that will connect “bluelight” staff and their families to the support they need. Chatting to volunteers from the service, which was developed by the Royal Foundation, he said: “I’m aiming to set myself up for it, I really want to do it. Even if I can only do an hour on my laptop. I want to do the training and be able to help.”

Members of the emergency services community can text BLUELIGHT to 85258 to start a conversation with a trained volunteer at Shout, which was developed with the Royal Foundation as a legacy of the Heads Together Campaign.