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Support for Welsh veterans to rebuild their lives in civvy street

Image of man standing on a beach

At Alabaré we are providing support for Welsh veterans who have struggled, or been homeless since leaving the Services.

With around 15,000 personnel leaving the Armed Forces each year (MOD, 2020), across Wales there are estimated to be over 115,000 veterans, 1 in every 22 people over the age of 16 (Wales Government, 2022).   The vast majority transition to civvy street without problem, however, a small but significant minority face problems.

Read this article in Welsh

Estimates suggest that around 15% struggle to engage and make a positive transition into civilian life (Royal British Legion). The cause of their struggles may be rooted in experiences they had whilst serving, but amplified by challenges that exist in their civilian lives.

David has benefitted from Alabaré’s support for Welsh veterans.  He found himself living on the streets following a mental health breakdown which ended his marriage.

David says:

“I signed up at 19, serving 4 years in the Royal Artillery. I had a great time in the Army and I loved those times, but after coming back from Iraq I really struggled with undiagnosed PTSD.  It turned out after a few years I had PTSD but it wasn’t picked up initially. I then left the British Army, things were okay to start with… my wife, kids and I tried to settle into our new life, and I started my own business working as a Personal Trainer and my own removals business.  But my mental health declined, and I stopped working however I became a house husband and looked after my daughters which gave me a new-found purpose. Strain within the marriage lead to our marriage breaking down.  I had nowhere to go and ended up sleeping rough but a life line came along through Alabaré.”

We were able to give David a place in our house in South Wales and support him to begin his journey of recovery.

“In the October of 2023 I came to Alabaré, where I feel safe and felt a huge connection to my own Christian faith as I was Baptized the previous year. I now have a home and feel listened to and supported.  I have great guidance and don’t feel alone anymore, I know if I need anything or just to talk, I can do so with any of the staff.  I have a safe home and can go to the beach front every day.  I volunteer with the local church and the local Veterans hub. Alabaré are giving me support with my anxiety to help me take part in their wellbeing in a way that I won’t feel overwhelmed.

“Alabaré got me an appointment with Veterans NHS who were able to give me my correct diagnosis, which means I am now on the right medication that has led a steady life.  I am working hard to build a better relationship with my family and to find a safe and stable long-term home.  I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t been referred to Alabaré. I can safely that Alabaré has given me the foundations to go on and be successful with whatever career path I choose to take.”

It is reckoned that of the 274,000 people in the UK who are homeless, between 3% and 6% of those estimated to be Veterans (Shelter, 2021).  In Wales, we are the largest provider of support for homeless or vulnerable ex-service personnel in the country, running 7 homes, an outdoor health and wellbeing programme, a self-build construction industry training scheme and are leaders in advocating for integrated services for veterans.  Seeking to provide a network of support, Alabaré are also working with other charities and providers in the country, such as Veterans NHS and Defence Medical Welfare Services, to ensure vulnerable veterans have access to the support that they need.

David is one of the 37 veterans Alabaré living with us at tonight in Wales.  Each has a dedicated Support Worker to help them navigate their own pathway back to a successful, independent life that they choose for themselves.  The support that he and so many others are given at Alabaré is made possible thanks to the generosity of the charity’s supporters, and with funding from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) via the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust under the Reducing Veterans’ Homelessness programme, Army Benevolent Fund, The Veterans’ Foundation and Benefact Trust and the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity.

Alabaré will be having a stall at the Wales Air Show on 6th & 7th July where you can find out more about our support for veterans in Wales.

*models have been used to respect the confidentiality of our clients.

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