Our helpline team includes a number of veterans who have worked in a variety of roles in the Armed Forces. They have first-hand experience of the issues that people face after leaving the Service and work alongside civilians in the helpline team to provide 24-hour support for veterans, 7 days a week. Here they talk about their experiences and why they decided to join the team.
Callee – Team Supervisor
Callee joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17 and served for five years, spending time on deployment in the Gulf and the Falklands.
“It is very re-assuring to speak to someone who knows about army life and the places they have served in,” she said.
“We are here to help and give them the best options available.
“The veterans we come across have lost everything. They have no money, no food, no home and suffer health problems.
“We are geared to help them with all these issues and direct them to the right place. Often, new issues and underlying problems come to light when we chat to veterans.“
Gary – Helpline Advisor
Gary was a key member of the Seamanship Department and was deployed to Quasar and Iraq as a boat commander.
He was part of a coalition training team helping to re-build Iraqi Defence capabilities, teaching courses to teams over a nine month period before being medically discharged in February 2017.
“I joined Veterans’ Gateway as I wanted to give something back and get the word out there to the wider community that there is help available out there,” he said.
“I can relate a lot to what the veterans are telling me as I was medically discharged from the army.
“Having veterans staffing the service means that you can relate to someone better and speak the same language, but we also need civilians in the mix to offer the most comprehensive support.”
Paul – Helpline Advisor
Paul joined the Army in 1986 as a Gunner in the Royal Artillery, serving in Northern Ireland (5 tours) BAOR, Cyprus, Norway, Belize, Iraq and various other countries whilst on exercises.
Since leaving the Army in 2005, he has served in the MoD Police as a security officer and worked as a Super League rugby team coach.
Paul has also suffered from PTSD and has received treatment through NHS Wales and Combat Stress.
“I have been through the transition process myself and relied on the support of Combat Stress,” he said.
“I wanted to work on Veterans’ Gateway to give back the help I had from others. There are so many veterans out there that need our support.
“Making that initial call is the hardest call you have to make as your pride deters you from showing weakness or vulnerability. You feel you are letting your comrades down but things get a lot better when you acknowledge the issues.”