In 2016, Vicki, a Staff Sergeant, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) after 22 years serving in the British Army. “Joining the army was the best thing I did and I have no regrets” although from the moment she left, she found herself spending her savings and struggling to pay her mortgage. In the summer of 2017 she heard about The Poppy Factory’s service supporting veterans with health conditions into work. She was encouraged to contact the organisation during a Lifeworks course she took whilst looking to step into the civilian world.
Apart from financial difficulties, Vicki also faced the struggles of being a full-time civilian. “It was hard, a real struggle at times, from learning how to cook, having responsibilities to making choices about what I want to do. My PTSD really affected my confidence. Little things as well, like having to choose what to wear. Even wearing makeup was a process I had to go through.”
The Poppy Factory
“The support that TPF gave me just kept me going. They were investing their time into me and I didn’t want to let them down. It was also how much research Kirsty gave me, it was like ‘I’ve got something to play with now, I’m not starting from zero.”
Kirsty, our Poppy Factory Employability Consultant for South Wales, helped Vicki to re-structure her CV, prepare for interviews as well as general research into everything that Vicki had an interest in.
With our help Vicki got a job with The Marriott Hotel as a Duty Manager and just had her 60-day appraisal, “I’m fitting in well, the team like me and I like the team. I love going into work.”
According to Kirsty, Vicki has progressed massively, “her determination to succeed in this role and the resilience she has shown is testament to herself and the veteran community. She has already been looking at how to progress within the hotel chain.”
“I’ve been at my lowest, I was in rehab, I was on suicide watch and that scared me. I don’t want to be there again. So I would do anything I can to not be there again”.
Just picking myself up and asking for help was a massive thing and now – because of the support The Poppy Factory has given me – I want to give back, I want to get stronger, I want to get better, I want to move on.”