This week saw the official opening of the Matt Hampson Foundation’s “Get Busy Living Centre” in Leicestershire, the result of many years of fundraising, hard work and dedication from all involved.
Having suffered a life-changing spinal injury whilst playing rugby thirteen years ago, Matt Hampson set up his foundation and the aim became clear – to set up a centre for others who have suffered similarly traumatic injuries, to offer them somewhere post-hospital to continue their rehabilitation.
While the first floor of the new centre is populated with state-of-the-art equipment to help with physical recovery, it’s the social area downstairs that Hampson believes holds the key to dealing with the tough mental battle.
Hampson told RugbyPass, “The mental aspect of leaving hospital after a serious injury through sport is really tough. Then you think, what am I going to do with my life now? We’ve tried to give people the tools to move on with their lives. We’re helping people on a daily basis, not just the individuals and beneficiaries but their families as well, to see positivity again.”
England Rugby World Cup winner Mike Tindall has been a patron since 2013 and he officially opened the centre, joking as he revealed the commemorative plaque, “My other family know about this.” Tindall told RugbyPass, “You just get it, you see what [Matt] is trying to do. He always talks so much about the social area and what the families get out
“Yes, all that graft for the beneficiaries goes on upstairs but a lot of graft for the people behind the people goes on in that space over a beer and understanding what changes have to be made when you go through a catastrophic injury. For the last four years we’ve just been trying to raise enough money to get it up and running and keep it
running. It looks like we’re going to expand straight away, this dream Matt had he’s already moved on from, to make this dream bigger.”
Former Tigers and England lock Louis Deacon has managed the entire project, a role he was given straight out of retirement from rugby. He said, “We’ve achieved a huge amount, having a building that’s estimated over £2 million and to get it in under £800k is a fantastic achievement but we couldn’t have done that without the support; the contractors, the fundraisers, the dinners we’ve been to, that’s been the most pleasing thing, how many people have got on board.”
Tommy Cawston is the CEO of the Matt Hampson Foundation and was clearly very proud of the milestone opening of the centre. He said, “To be honest, it’s a centre for everyone because everyone who comes here benefits. Matt’s got such an infectious take on life and personality that the whole reason for building this place was for people to get busy
living again and it really does that. On a daily basis this place is changing peoples’ lives.”
Find out more or donate by visiting: www.matthampsonfoundation.org
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.