A charity working with wounded, sick and injured veterans enabling them to move from social exclusion to sustained employment has received a major funding boost…

The Durham based charity, Finchale, has received a much-needed grant of £103,000 from Help for Heroes, a charity which is all about giving the very best support for life to the wounded veterans, servicemen and women and their families whose lives are changed by their injuries and illness. Help for Heroes has supported Finchale over the past two years and the grant is provided specifically for Finchale’s work with veterans from the North East and will benefit up to 50 wounded, injured and sick veterans during 2017.

Over the next year, funding will enable a specialist veteran’s case worker to provide direct one to one support to practical problems such as finding training and employment whilst managing finances, breaking cycles of addiction and homelessness and dealing with a wide variety of emotional challenges such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. Finchale’s specialist Veterans Service works tirelessly to build strong and healthy communities, building trust and facilitating access to additional services and resources encouraging individuals to live a more fulfilling life and reach their full potential in meaningful employment.

Veteran Trevor Hall, was referred to Finchale back in September of 2015 and has been accessing support ever since. Trevor from Cramlington, Northumberland, was medically discharged from active service. As a result of the ongoing support he received, he is now actively seeking employment on civvy street.

Trevor joined the Army in 1987 and served for 10 years in the Royal Corp of Transport which included tours of Iraq and Northern Ireland. Since leaving the forces Trevor struggled with civilian life and it was then that his troubles started and he began suffering from periods of agoraphobia and depression and was finally diagnosed with PTSD.

When one particular bout left him unable to work, he contacted Finchale.“Finchale have really helped me to get myself back on track,” he explained.“I’ve been working on a number of different things from getting support with my health to employability where I’ve been learning new skills and developing a fresh perspective. They’ve really supported me to get a clear idea of what I am seeking work wise but also supported me when I was at my lowest point. It’s been really hard to get to where I am now but I’m grateful to the team at Finchale for keeping in touch and getting me to join in with the other veterans.

"As part of the programme I’ve also been helping out on the veteran’s 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.”

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. Last year we supported over 300 veterans with 158 of those finding paid employment.

"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. The veterans’ service is bespoke to each veteran and the range of issues the team deals with is vast. They do their very best to support each and every veteran who walks through the door, however challenging that may be. Without the support of charities such as Help for Heroes none of this would be possible.”

Claire Barnes, Head of Grants at Help for Heroes, said: “H4H is all about giving the very best support for life to the wounded veterans, service personnel and their families whose lives are changed by their injuries and illness. Our mission is to inspire them to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives which will enable them to reach their full potential.

"We are delighted to be able to work with other organisations like Finchale and the Service’s own charities to ensure that the wounded and their relatives get the speedy support and opportunities they so richly deserve. 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.”

For more information about Finchale visitwww.finchale.org or call 0191 386 2634.