Armed Forces Spotlight: How the Restart Scheme helped Anthony return to normal life
- Friday, July 29, 2022
Our employment services are designed to give support on an individual basis, making what we offer specific to the needs of each person we work with, with the aim to remove any barriers to work and find them sustainable and meaningful employment. The services we offer to veterans include:
To mark Armed Forces Day 2022 last week, we caught up with RAF Veteran and Activity Hub participant Anthony. From a young age, Anthony always wanted to be involved in the military in some way, following the footsteps of his grandad and uncle.
At the age of 17 Anthony left school, with an NVQ in motor mechanics and no A-Levels. He searched for a job in the motor trade industry but struggled to find a role that suited him - this was where he decided to join the RAF, specifically working on the aircrafts as flight crew as well as servicing and engineering. Anthony spent 4 years in the forces, initially working on air shows, then being deployed in countries like Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Dubai.
In 2014, Anthony decided to leave the RAF – with several factors impacting on this decision. He found himself unhappy and dealing with anxiety and mental health issues, this was something he was unaware of growing up and was previously told “it’s just nerves” and that it’s just how life is. After leaving the forces, Anthony found it more difficult to talk about his emotions, and his anxiety made it hard for him to speak to new people and be confident enough to put himself out there in the world of employment.
This is where the GC Employment stepped in. Anthony was referred to the CFO Activity Hub and was quickly paired with Josh Fodor, his Support Worker. Josh introduced Anthony to all the services the CFO Activity Hub has on offer, as well as having regular 1 on 1 support sessions to figure out what support Anthony needed to get back into work. One of the services Josh mentioned was Man Plan, this is an initiative set up at GC to encourage service users in Yorkshire to open-up about their troubles and gain access to the tools and knowledge they need to improve their mental health. Anthony highlighted the impact that these Man Plan sessions has had on his confidence, ability to show emotion, and anxiety around meeting new people and forming friendships. Anthony had this to say on Man Plan:
“It's brilliant... all in all it's not just about what goes on at Man Plan, it's about building a connection with other people who are in a completely different situation to you.”
On top of these sessions, Anthony pointed out that he’d like to participate in courses that covered communication skills, relationship advice, coping techniques and a veteran’s course. This again shows how he was proactive in wanting to turn his life around and improve on his skills and wellbeing. Anthony explained how a lot of these issues have come from the transition between leaving the forces and returning to ‘normal’ life. His lifestyle was completely flipped on its head due to both social and economic factors, and understandably this was a struggle for him. For example, when he in the forces he was on a steady income and have most things paid for him, whereas once he left Anthony found himself on Universal Credit and was financially unstable. When asked about the Hub, Anthony said:
“It has really helped with my mental health; it's allowed me to make friends and relax more. Everybody has their own issues, including the advisors, and everybody is in the same boat here... at the Hub you're all treated the same."
He then went on to say:
“My life could’ve been very different if it wasn’t for the CFO Activity Hub.”
Looking forward in terms of his career, Anthony is aiming to become a self-employed mechanic to pursue his love of cars, and on a personal level he just wants to be the best dad to his daughter.
At GC, our overall aim is to become an Armed Forces-friendly organisation, offering a range of services to those leaving the military. If, like Anthony, you’re a military veteran who needs support, contact us today by clicking here.