Jack* has gone from strength to strength since getting support from the Ex Forces Action Network (E-FAN), organised by the Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company (CGM CRC).
Jack first got into trouble with the law for withholding information after his friend used his car without insurance. He received a 12-month suspended sentence and was fined £135. Part of his sentence was completed by meeting with E-FAN staff.
The 25-year-old had joined the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 2007 as a vehicle mechanic. He left the army in 2015, looking for a fresh start because he felt he had achieved everything he wanted to do in the forces. Leaving the army, he believes, led to a loss of routine, debt problems and anger issues. He was also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, which compounded his problems.
He was referred by E-FAN to Veterans in Mind, a charity which aims to work with veterans and their families to improve psychological well-being and increase social networks and long term recovery. E-FAN has given Jack a support network and introduced him to range of new learning and skills opportunities.
Jack remembers: “Leaving the army gave me a shock. I let myself go and was out of a routine. E-FAN has given me my routine and life back. I can just contact them any time, even by text. There is always a quick response.”
He has since been in touch with the College for Military Veterans where he could earn enhanced credits to take courses he was interested in. Jack was considering becoming a paramedic and attending a ambulance open day.
He added: “I was wallowing in self-pity. I have put 100 per cent into probation. But for E-FAN I would be in a rut.”
E-FAN has been impressed that Jack has managed to achieve all this whilst holding down a full-time job – working around his appointments. E-FAN has helped Jack by listening to him and telling him that it’s normal sometimes to feel overwhelmed. He wasn’t doing such a bad job by himself, but he needed some structure which they gave him. They also referred him to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to address his debt – which he had been ignoring.
E-FAN coordinator Lanie Irvine said: “Most of Jack’s problems were borne of frustration. He had debt problems and anger issues. It’s been a whirlwind. What we’ve done is to help him break down all the parts of his life and put them back together again.”
As a result, Jack is now considering a return to the army.
E-FAN, delivered by CGM CRC with the Defence Medical Welfare Services (DMWS), is funded by the MOD’s Covenant Grant Fund, which itself forms part of the government’s long-term commitment to supporting projects designed to help veterans under the Armed Forces Covenant – the promise from the nation that those who serve or have served are treated fairly.
* Jack is not the service user’s real name.
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