Wigley Support Fund

The Wigley Support Fund was established in 2017 to support and help re-train injured, serving and veteran service people, equipping them with new skills.

The group began supporting the armed forces in 2013 when the first golf day and gala dinner was held. Since then, over £185,000 has been raised. The launch of the Wigley Support Fund has enabled the money we have raised to be allocated to help ex-service people, providing support in all areas of their transition from military to civilian life. It’s helped with everything from physical and mental rehabilitation to further education and skills training.

Jaco van Gass, a former paratrooper who overcame life-changing injuries on the front line and is now a champion para-cyclist and adventurer, is our company ambassador and a driving force behind the Wigley Support Fund.

The fund is led by Robert Wigley, Chairman of the Executive Board.

Wigley Support Fund Case Studies

Solider G - Purchased tools to start work as a self-employed Bricklayer

‘I served 14 years in 2 Para and was medically discharged in 2022 at 41 years of age.
I took steps to get back into construction as it’s what I had done before I joined the army. Thanks to a Wigley Support Fund grant from Support Our Paras, I was able to get the roughly £900 worth of tools I needed to start as a self-employed bricklayer. Having everything I needed provided for me meant I was making money straight away rather than paying off an expense.
Since leaving the army, I’ve been working on building sites laying bricks and also attended the Building Heroes Property Maintenance course. I’ll continue working in construction and always bear in mind the continued help offered by Support Our Paras. It means a lot to know that it’s there and I’m genuinely grateful to everyone involved with helping me.’

Soldier F - Retrained as a Data Scientist

‘I served in the Parachute Regiment for seven years until I was medically discharged in 2023. Thanks to the generous support of the Wigley Support Fund grant from Support Our Paras, I had the opportunity to train as a Data Scientist. Now working as a Data Scientist Intern, I have a promising career ahead of me in this field. The funds provided me with the necessary equipment to seamlessly transition from the military to the world of data. I am incredibly grateful for the support that has opened doors to new possibilities and given me a fresh start in my professional journey.’

Soldier E - Retrained as a Gas Engineer

‘I am so grateful for the help I received. After serving 20 years in the Parachute Regiment and being told I was getting Medically Discharged in Jan 2023. Thanks to Wigley Support Fund grant from Support Our Paras I was able to retrain as a Gas Engineer. Having had all my spare cash siphoned after recently going through a divorce, the money I received from Support Our Paras was paid directly to the training provider. It was a huge help and enabled me to fund the course I wanted to do. I’m now a Gas Safe Engineer working self-employed doing plumbing and heating. The process for gaining the help I needed was simple and stress free. Because of the funds provided, I now have an exciting and prosperous career ahead of me. The transition into civilian life has been made easier thanks to Support Our Paras and I’ll always be grateful for that.’

Andrew F - Completing a Business Management degree

‘I am currently in year two of a Business Management degree course with the Open University; this has been funded by Support Our Paras and its Wigley Support Fund. The course has developed my understanding of the subject and equipped me with the skills, aiding in my transition from the close protection teams where I operated as a Team Leader, successfully into management, working as a Liaison Manager for an oil and gas service provider.

After being out of the regular Army for nine years, my involvement with Support Our Paras rekindled my passion for the military and I have re-joined as an active reservist with 4 Para last year in April. Studying in further education, as well as helping me in my civilian career progression, has developed my leadership qualities, giving me a better understanding of the bigger picture (maturing), benefiting me in my military career and I will soon be attending Skill at Arms and have been put forward for promotion courses in the near future.’

Brad B - Achieved two Level 3 City & Guild awards

‘First of all, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved, this funding has turned something that seemed out of reach into a reality.
So far, I have passed the first part of the qualification, which is a four-week course in which I learnt about wiring, testing and regulations through a series of practice classroom sessions, online teaching and self-taught modules. By completing this first part, I have achieved two Level 3 City & Guild awards.

Before the course started, I was a bit apprehensive at the prospect of entering back into full-time education, but the course was very well put together, organised and well-delivered. Having completed this first part of the course I feel much more confident at work and as a result have been given more responsibility. This has ultimately led to my role within the company being more valuable and that has given me more job security.

I will be attending stages two and three in November and will finish in May 2022. This will, again, be a steep learning curve as there is a lot of new information to learn, but after having such a good experience in the first part I am confident and excited to get going, and to see where the new qualifications will lead me.’

Dale F - Started a new career as an Electrician

‘I can’t thank you enough for the generous contributions towards my transition from the military into my new career as an electrician. I can confidently say that I wouldn’t be where I am now without your support, both financially and through moral support. It means the world.
Leaving the forces was an extremely daunting and almost panicked process. No amount of time can really prepare you for the transition. My choice to retrain as an electrician came with its risks, however, the stress of funding the start up process was completely alleviated through your support.

Almost all of my tools came through your donations, and you handled all of the admin for me. You were genuinely amazing and again I can’t thank you enough.’

Jake H - Starting up as a Plumber

‘I was medically discharged from the Parachute Regiment earlier this year. I was left without a lot of money and really needed a helping hand in order to set up as a plumber. The funding through the Wigley Support Fund at Support Our Paras that I received was without doubt life-changing. It allowed me the freedom to not have to take out loans or borrow money, which set me up on civi street on a positive note. The money I received allowed me to buy almost all of the tools I needed in order to begin trading as a plumber. I would like to thank everybody who helped me, i really do appreciate it and I can’t really put into words just how helpful and grateful I truly am for the help I received. I hope that one day I am in a position to pay it back.’

Soldier A - Completed a chainsaw course

Served in The Parachute Regiment from 2014-2022. He left due to family circumstances.
The WSF assisted him with a chainsaw course, which will enable him to work in the building trade.

Soldier B - Achieved a Diploma in Gas Utilisation and ACS Assessments

Served in The Parachute Regiment from 2007-2022. He is in the process of being medically discharged. The WSF assisted him with a Diploma in Gas Utilisation and ACS Assessments. He has been offered a job with CENTRICA. This will enable him to support his wife and children.

Soldier C - Adapted his car to work as a security dog unit

Served in The Parachute Regiment from 2014-2022. He has been medically discharged. The WSF assisted him with funds to adapt his car in order to work as a security dog unit. This will enable him to support his wife and children.

Soldier D - Completed a property development course

Served in The Parachute Regiment from 2019-2022. He is in the process of being medically discharged. The WSF assisted him with a property development course to transition into his civilian career.

Veteran A - Was given support to purchase tools to become a self-employed Plasterer

Served in The Parachute Regiment from 2015-2017. He fell upon hard times and was assisted with tools in order to be a self-employed Plasterer. This will enable him to provide for his young son.

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