How does FirstLight Trust help Veterans?
Veterans’ Foundation is proud to back the work of FirstLight Trust through grants. This charity exists to support Veterans however they can. Often this help is most needed when Veterans find themselves outside of the Armed Forces for the first time. Adapting yourself to being a civilian is no easy task and when most of your life has been spent serving Queen and country.
Adjusting to life outside of the military is never easy, that’s where FirstLight Trust comes in, itself mostly staffed by veterans, FirstLight Trust offers veterans a haven. They can interact with people who are there to help and fellow veterans who are facing/have faced many of the same battles that they are themselves facing.
From practical support such as a place to sleep, and help to leave addiction behind; to many forms of mental health support - FirstLight Trust offers Veterans the opportunity to access life-changing support. Even if Veterans don’t know exactly what help they need, FirstLight can help them find out where they are and how to get to where they want to be.
Chris, a Veteran who has been helped by FirstLight Trust explains how the charity operates: "They are a foundation, they create stepping stones and this has been the biggest stepping stone of my life."
One key way FirstLight Trust has optimised over years of practice is by focusing on building a community focus so Veterans know they have a place to go, be themselves and access support as and when they need it. Many charities working with Veterans have found that often the best support for troubled people comes from other Veterans who understand their situation and fully empathise. FirstLight Trust is no different here and ensures that it supports their strong peer support networks in any ways they can
Another Veteran who has been helped by the charity explains: "The FirstLight Trust gives you a brilliant facility to come in, to have a coffee, have a chat with other people. I struggled to attend important appointments because of my PTSD. Another Veteran started coming along with me to these appointments to support me. He is always there if I need help, he helped prevent me from losing my job.”
The hubs that FirstLight Trust operate are places where Veterans can attend knowing there is no stigma or judgement as many of the other people they will meet there are going through or have been through similar situations.
Dorinda Wolfe Murray, Managing Director of FirstLight explains: “Yes, there needs to be complex trauma therapy. We have service agreements with specialists. But a lot of issues that Veterans face can be headed off at the pass by places like our hubs. Our fundamental driver is about reducing isolation. Veterans see themselves as ordinary people to the extent that we were asked to exclude the word 'Heroes' from all of our literature."
Another Veteran Chris explains how FirstLight Trust has helped him: “I’m ten times the person I was before I went into the army. Now. They have saved my life. They have. So if you see a leaflet that says FirstLight Trust, pick it up and ring the number.”
How you can help
A simple way to support the work FirstLight Trust do is to visit one of their coffee shops. Found in a number of locations around the UK these coffee shops raise money for the charity whilst also giving local communities and veterans a place to gather and chat in comfort.
Veterans’ Foundation has now given grants in excess of £4 million to over 270 military charities across the UK. We are able to give these amounts due in a large part to our supporters who play the National Veterans’ Lottery, please join today and help support our heroes.