The first Sir Bobby Charlton Centre opens in Amman, Jordan

The Sir Bobby Charlton Centre for Rebuilding and Rehabilitation opened this morning in Amman, Jordan – what will hopefully be the first of many Sir Bobby Charlton Centres to open around the world.

Caring for landmine blast survivors and others who have suffered from conflict, the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre will provide crucial support for untold numbers of refugees who struggle to get care for the complex issues they face.

The Centre will engage in a wide variety of services that cater to both the physical and mental health needs of its patients. Besides physical therapy for those with spinal cord injuries or civilians who have lost a limb from a blast trauma injury, there is an extensive art therapy programme for children who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. An estimated 70% of the children receiving support at the Centre have lost one parent, and many their entire families. Under the expert care of Professor Nieveen Abu Zaid (pictured), children are introduced to painting as a way of expressing their feelings and dealing with emotional trauma.

In addition to direct care for those in need, the Centre will also play an administrative and training role for the various centres that have sprung up in Jordan in recent years. An estimated 1.4 million refugees have fled to the kingdom, and a network of informal community-led programmes have sprung up to address the many pressing problems Syrian and Iraqi refugees are facing. The Sir Bobby Charlton Centre will act as a network hub for many of these centres, offering training for therapists and prosthetic technicians, and administrative support for centres with fewer internal resources.

The Centre is made possible thanks to partnerships with two other organisations. The Polus Center, based in Massachusettes, USA, is one of the world’s leading NGOs for supporting the needs of persons with disabilities and members of other vulnerable groups. Asia Development Training (ADT) is a Jordanian non-profit company with deep ties to the refugee communities in Jordan. With the help of the Polus Center and ADT, the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre has the resources and expertise to be an important and sustainable resource for civilian victims of conflict across the wider region.

The Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Amman is meant to be the first of many opened around the world by Find A Better Way. Future centres are being planned for Myanmar, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cambodia. Each centre will have a different focus of activity, depending on the needs of the local civilian population.

With the launch of the centre coming just two months before he celebrates his 80th birthday, Sir Bobby commented, ‘I’m thrilled that Find A Better Way is opening this centre and that it is the first of many planned to open around the world. But most of all I am extremely honoured that these centres will be named after me. It is a wonderful early 80th birthday present.’

Find A Better Way CEO Lou McGrath said, ‘The refugee community in Jordan, especially those coping with a lost limb or severe injury from an explosive device, are in desperate need in an environment of strained resources. We are very pleased to be opening the first Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Amman, and look forward to the day when it is one of many Sir Bobby Charlton Centres around the world, helping landmine blast survivors and communities coping with the impact of explosive remnants of war.’