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  • Rick Harrington

It's not always about veterans, sometimes it's about the families.

This letter pays tribute to the men and women who volunteer for the charity and how genuine support can have such impact. It can often be many months later before we are informed of the real effect of our support. Families are often forgotten and yet can play a major role in the recovery of a loved one. This letter was from a lovely makes what we do humbling and yet so powerful.

"I moved to xxxx after being placed on a MARAC for domestic abuse. I had recently lost my home and my job which had been in another area of Nottinghamshire due to the abuse and the ensuing depression which arose from this. I had also taken an overdose as I felt I couldn't cope with life and raise my 2 teenage boys who had also been damaged by the relationship.

I knew no-one in the area and had been moved into a council property and put on benefits, I had worked all my life up to this point and this situation increased my lack of self confidence and self esteem greatly. I had no friends and no family other than my younger teenage boys and an older son who had served previously in the army and was now full time in the reserves.

I was once again at a very low point in my life and had no support. Because of my circumstances I had little in the home in the way of furniture and white goods and no money to buy them. I was also visiting the food banks to supplement my benefits. I happened to see a news report about Forces in the Community who could help ex-service personnel and their families.

It took me a while to build up the courage to go up to see them but I found the courage and went in. The first person to show me any kindness in there I burst into tears and was unable to even begin to tell them what I was there for.

The volunteers were absolutely brilliant, they gave me space to pull myself together while still being there and supporting me.

They found charities to provide the household goods I needed, they provided unending support with regular calls, they invited me along to things to help build my confidence and self esteem and to get me out of the house and meeting people. They slowly at my pace helped with my mental health, which in turn helped my children.

One year later I was applying for jobs which they also helped me with and I secured a full time post with a local authority. I now see how many times their name comes up with others they are helping to get accommodation for etc.

They will never understand exactly what they did for me and I truly believe they saved my life, because I know without a shadow of a doubt that if they hadn't been there I was extremely likely to sink further into my depression and would have ended my life.

Since they saved me they have also greatly helped my now 18yr old son. Earlier this year he had joined the army, (his lifelong wish) only to be discharged 1 week later on medical grounds, this was yet another rejection for him, (his father had rejected him for the majority of his young life) this proved too much and he began self harming and told me he was suicidal. I immediately went to Forces in the Community and he received immediate counselling from them, he is now working and learning to move on with his life, whilst in the knowledge he can return to Forces in the Community whenever he needs that support and confidentiality they provide for him.

If anyone deserves this award it is Forces in the Community and it would be a very fitting way for me to begin to repay them for giving me back a life and my children their mum."

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