Former soldier Paul lost his job and home during the COVID-19 pandemic. With a little help from our charity, he has settled into his new home and is working as a photographer.
Paul served in the Royal Engineers during the 1970s, spending most of his time with 59 Independent Commando Squadron. After leaving the Army in 1979 he worked as a self-employed kitchen fitter but lost work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
It wasn’t long before Paul was dealt a further blow. For eight months, he had lived in a static caravan on a holiday park with his beloved dog, Wee Jock. But then, the local council decided to close the holiday park – leaving Paul and Wee Jock homeless. With nowhere to turn and amidst a national lockdown, the two were forced to live in Paul’s car. During this time, Paul’s arthritis worsened, making it impossible for him to return to kitchen fitting.
After a few weeks, a friend from the military community suggested Paul reaches out to the Amicus Trust, one of 43 charities we funded last year. The Amicus Trust supported Paul with hostel accommodation, but without regular work it was impossible for Paul to manage the rental payments.
Our charity awarded Paul an emergency grant for rent arrears, enabling him to be placed on a Housing Association list and start a new life in permanent accommodation. He is now living in a bungalow with Wee Jock and is now looking to turn his lifelong passion for photography into a professional career.
Back in 2018, Paul won second place in our charity’s annual Photo Competition for his image, ‘Veterans in Scarlet’, which depicted veterans at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, including the late Bill Speakman VC. This has turned out to be one of Paul’s most successful works and is still on display at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Paul says: “I am now in my own home and have a garden where my dog and I can rest and enjoy our time together. I’m very grateful for the support from ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which has made my transition from homelessness easier.”