WOUNDED veterans are to be given extra help to find work after a major grant was announced.
Durham-based charity Finchale has been awarded £103,000 from national charity Help For Heroes to help up to 50 wounded, sick and injured veterans over the next year.
The money will pay for a specialist case worker to offer veterans one-to-one support to practical problems such as finding training and work while managing their finances, breaking cycles of addiction and homelessness and dealing with emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
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Veteran Trevor Hall, from Cramlington, is among those being helped at Finchale.
He served ten years in the Royal Corps of Transport, including tours of Northern Ireland and Iraq, but was medically discharged and struggled with civilian life, suffering from periods of agoraphobia and depression until he was finally diagnosed with PTSD.
He said: “Finchale have really helped me to get myself back on track.
“As part of the programme I’ve also been helping out on the veterans’ allotment every week because when I first started working with Finchale I wasn’t even leaving the house.
“Things were so bad I wasn’t able to see my son and was drinking a lot. I don’t even recognise that person now.
“I’ll never forget how nervous I felt that first day on the allotment but I feel very lucky.
“It’s still a work in progress, but eventually I hope to be able to get work.”
Last year, Finchale worked with more than 300 veterans, helping 158 of those into a paid job.
Andy Wildish, veterans’ services team manager, said: “We’re really grateful for Help for Heroes’ continued support which will enable us to help even more wounded, sick and injured veterans on an individual basis to obtain the support, skills and qualifications they need, to gain the employment they want.
“We are delighted that this will go some way to ensuring that each individual receives the support that they need so that they can access the opportunities they deserve”.
Claire Barnes, head of grants at Help for Heroes, said: “Our grant funding to Finchale will help enable the wounded military community in the North East to access the best support for their needs and we look forward to seeing how many lives are changed for the better as a result of this exciting partnership.”