At the age of 18 Stan joined the RAF and served nine years in various locations around the world reaching the rank of Senior Aircraftsman Technician (SAC). He left the military at the request of his then wife whom he subsequently divorced and it was at this point he began to misuse alcohol. 

Stan recognises that he did not make the transition from the military to the civilian community particularly well. He claims to have missed the camaraderie and the variety of experience that military life afforded him. Indeed his identity is very much orientated to that of the Armed forces ‘Veteran’ and admits to having experienced a sense of disconnection with main stream society.

Good Practice

In January 2011 ‘Forward Assist’ were informed by the Probation Service that a veteran was due in court for sentence for a serious offence of alcohol related violence. 

Stan was sentenced to a 12 month Community Rehabilitation Order with an additional Suspended Prison sentence. He was also made aware that a 12 month Anti-Social Behavioural Order had been imposed which effectively meant that should he commit another offence or infringe his tenancy agreement then he risked being evicted.

Forward Assist adopt a proactive approach, whereby we visit former service personnel at their home address and accompany them to appointments in the initial stages of their probation order or licence conditions. This has been shown to encourage compliance with those who have failed to engage in the community in the past. Indeed, Stan was initially suspicious of the close working relationship between Forward Assist and the Probation service, however he now works very well with all parties and this has helped to change his previously negative and hostile attitude towards those in authority.

It is to Stan's credit that since he has engaged with Forward Assist in January 2011 he has attended a total 43 sessions of the Newcastle based Forward Assist Veteran– centric ‘peer led’ support groups. The groups meet on a weekly basis and when including travel time this activity accounts for a total of 3 hours.

He has also taken part in all the activities provided by Forward Assist and whilst not physically able to do some of the more physically demanding tasks he has throughout the year proved to be a great supporter to those group members that lack confidence or are socially isolated, providing lifts to several members to ensure that they themselves comply with their probation orders or attend group sessions.

  • Group work 129 hours
  • Angling (Fly Fishing)160 hours
  • Football Tournament (Project Management) 8 hours
  • Horse Back (Equine Therapy) UK504 hours
  • Conference Participation 24 hours
  • Alcohol Awareness Course 30 hours
  • Horticulture/Allotment 20hours
  • Presentations 8 hours
  • Car boot/fundraising activities 8 hours
  • CPN led Mental Health Wellbeing Course 30 hours
  • Social events (Alcohol free) 8 hours
  • Supporting other Veterans 40 hours

This equates to a total of 969 hours of positive structured time provided by Forward Assist over a 12 month period.

Stan is no longer subject to the conditions imposed by his Community based Court order and this effectively means that any support he would have had from the Probation Service is no longer available to him, however it is evident that he will continue to require support for some considerable time. This will be especially important given his deteriorating physical health needs.