Following a successful Army nursing career, mum-of-one Sarah Groves encountered tough times but was determined to get back into work again. Although it has been a long journey, she is settling into a new job and using her skills in a new way, to engage with fellow veterans and their families and help them find the support they need.
Army nurse to officer
Sarah said: “I joined Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps in 2005 and served as a nurse in Germany and in Iraq during Operation Telic. Then in 2009 I went to Sandhurst to train as an officer, graduating as a Captain and working as an Infection Control Nursing Officer. I had my son in 2011 and when we moved home, I lost my support network.
“I left the Army three years later. Although I didn’t work while I was bringing up my son, I was busy volunteering and serving as the leader of a Scout Beaver Scouts group, which felt like good preparation.
Finding support to help others
“When I met Becks in 2017, she’d just joined The Poppy Factory’s employment team. I was a single parent and there were quite a few difficult things going on in my life, but I was determined to get back to work. Becks has always been so supportive. If I wasn’t quite ready, she would take a step back and give me the space I needed.
“Although I was interested in getting back into nursing, I was open to other ideas and Becks helped me find a role with British Forces Resettlement Services as a Military Engagement Officer. I work as a kind of intermediary between the Armed Forces community, including veterans and their families, and forces-friendly employers and support agencies. There is so much support out there for veterans, but not everyone knows where to find it.
“I haven’t been in the job for long, but I’m really enjoying it. The directors are veterans, so they understand, and it’s a social enterprise, with any surplus funds going back into the Armed Forces community. They also understand that my son has to be my priority, and how important it is to have flexible working arrangements in place.
“I feel very settled and stable with my employer. It’s been a long journey and I’ve learned a lot from my experiences. I now feel very positive for the future and excited about life.”
More you might like
- Find out about employment support for the ex-Forces community
- Video: See how we’ve changed veterans’ lives this year
- Read more personal accounts from people we’ve supported