We change people’s lives for the better. Not just the lives of the veterans themselves, but their families, friends and co-workers. Here are just some of the people we’ve helped:
Gary was moving from job to job without much direction following his medical discharge from the Royal Navy. In and out of work, he was suffering with depression, anxiety and insomnia and finding it hard to identify his pathway forward.
“I had major social issues; I was living on my own and couldn’t leave the house. I didn’t know what direction I was going with my life but I decided to get some help.”
“I sat down with [my Employability Consultant] and explained my lack of confidence and inability to speak in front of people. I felt like I was always going to be at the bottom, which was frustrating because I knew I could achieve more than that. I made a pact then that I was going to challenge myself and beat this problem.”
“The Poppy Factory helped me with my driving licence and with my anxiety, putting me on the right courses before I started employment. They sent me to an open day with Transport for London, which led to an interview and a job offer which starts on Monday!”
Ed was in a low place after being diagnosed with PTSD following his career in the Armed Forces. After a failed suicide attempt, he was advised to seek help. The Poppy Factory worked with Ed’s career ambitions to support him into a great job with a health charity: “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help and support of my Employability Consultant ‐ he has stuck with me through thick and thin.”
“The Poppy Factory are willing to understand where you’ve come from, what you’ve done, and will help you come to terms with your life on Civilian Street. I didn’t have this when I first came out. There are probably a lot more guys out there that need this help.”
After several successful tours with the British Army, Berny was discharged in 2012 with depression and alcoholism:
“It was very daunting. My 22‐year career had been taken away from me and I didn’t get a lot of help. I was living on my brother’s couch. The Poppy Factory helped me when I needed it the most. My caseworker was brilliant; his knowledge gave me confidence and employment gave me the massive boost that I needed… I just couldn’t believe that I had found a job that I loved.
Without support from The Poppy Factory, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.”
Soon after leaving the British Army, Richard was diagnosed with PTSD. He had little trouble finding work but he found that sustaining roles was a challenge. With 4 young children at home, his wife took on the role of breadwinner and Richard was left to look after the home.
When Richard was ready to work again, he was signposted to The Poppy Factory through SORTED!. Tree Surgery was established as a vocation that he found therapeutic, and his Employability Consultant was soon supporting Richard through the admissions process for all the necessary qualifications. After help with his CV and with some funding found, Richard was offered a role with Lydney Town Council.
“I met my Employability Consultant multiple times and he was always on the phone and kept me regularly updated. He helped write my CV and researched a list of courses to guide me.”
“I felt that all the skills I thought I had were irrelevant in the civilian world. But now I have realised I have got a valued skill set. It has let me know my self worth, that I can achieve things.”
Following in his father’s footsteps, Wayne always knew he wanted to be in the military. He enlisted at 16 and led a successful 25‐year career until he was seriously injured in a tank accident and had to undergo a below‐knee amputation.
The transition into civilian life really knocked Wayne’s confidence. After leaving the Forces in 2011, Wayne was struggling to find employment before a friend recommended The Poppy Factory; “I was really struggling. It was very, very hard to ask for help. My friend told me that I needed to make this call.”
The charity rallied around Wayne immediately, and worked alongside his ambitions to find him meaningful work; “I explained that whilst serving, I went on various battlefield tours and very much admired what the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) did.”
Within two weeks, Wayne’s Poppy Factory caseworker helped create a CV and train him up for an interview for a job within the CWGC. Despite the lack of horticultural experience, the interviewer recognised Wayne’s passion and agreed to mentor him ‐ with support from The Poppy Factory ‐ for an initial 12 months.
After spending the first half of his working life in the military, Wayne is now determined to spend the second half at the CWGC.
With The Poppy Factory’s help, Wayne has passed his RHS qualifications and now has aspirations to become the Head Gardener at the CWGC. “I absolutely love going to work every day. From that difficult call in 2011 to where I am today and what I have achieved – The Poppy Factory’s guidance, trust and faith in me has been unbelievable.”
``This experience has given me a sense of self‐respect and more confidence in myself as a person.``
Chris served for several years before he suffered severe injuries from an IED device on a tour to Afghanistan. He was flown back to the UK and, following two amputations at Selly Oak Hospital, he found himself admitted to Headley Court for 18 months of recovery.
Losing his military career was a challenging reality to Chris; “there’s no other job like it, you feel quite lost when you come out.”
Chris propelled himself into new ventures, but nothing provided him with a viable career option and he soon faced a stretch of unemployment lasting 8 months, “I was getting depressed and felt low as I had nothing to get up for in the morning.”
Based nearby, Chris visited The Poppy Factory to learn about the Getting You Back to Work scheme. He registered there and then and before long his Employability Consultant was helping Chris to explore opportunities working with animals ‐ a long‐term ambition of his.
With preparation and support from The Poppy Factory, Chris was appointed as an Apprentice Dog Handler at the Dogs Training Academy, and is now looking to the future to establish his own dog training business.
“This experience has given me a sense of self‐respect and more confidence in me as a person. It has given me some goals in life.”