A former Royal Marine who has become a Force for Good in society through helping wounded veterans return to work, has received a grant of up to £68,000 from Help for Heroes.
ExFor+ C.I.C. has been developed by Simon Adams, 34, a former Royal Marine Commando from Dorset who was medically discharged from service in 2011. Simon’s personal experiences have led him to set up an organisation (Community Interest Company) to support and empower others experiencing difficulties transitioning from service and returning to civilian life and employment.
Simon wanted to join the Armed Forces since he was 8 years old. He attended a number of Potential Officers Courses, eventually joining the Royal Marines as a Marine in 2006 and passed for duty in 2007. Simon was injured in a pre-deployment training accident in 2008, which eventually led to his medical discharge in 2011. His injuries were not only physical but also mental health related.
He suffered mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, spinal fractures to the vertebrae and disc compressions, scarring and muscle damage. He returned to his Royal Marines base approximately two weeks after the incident, but knew that things were not quite right. He struggled with his memory, concentration, understanding and speech. He also suffered nightmares and had flashbacks.
Simon began to struggle to be engaging with friends and family on a social basis, as he was not always able to control his verbal or emotional responses and would end up being verbally aggressive, as well as potentially violent at times. He thought he was prepared mentally for his exit, however, he did not realise how hard he would find losing the one thing he had worked so hard for, having planned to do a full 22 years’ service.
Simon, who is part of the Help for Heroes fellowship, has since supported some 400 individuals in returning to long term and sustainable employment within his community, whilst working on the government’s Work Programme provided by Prospects. He has now set up ExFor+ C.I.C, a not for profit organisation designed to provide employment opportunities to as many service leavers as possible from their point of medical discharge.
The funds from Help for Heroes, being delivered over a 12 month period, will enable Simon to undertake employment focused support to the veteran community initially within the South West of England, with an aim to provide local communities with positive social and economic impact.
Simon said: “We will provide effective, sustainable and long term employment focused support through access to training, information and guidance. It goes without saying I am incredibly grateful to Help for Heroes for giving me the opportunity to get ExFor+ up and running. The organisation will enable me to help many injured or sick veterans who have served their country and are ready and skilled to continue making a positive difference in civilian life. I would simply not be able to reach these individuals without the support from Help for Heroes.”
Claire Barnes, Head of Grants at Help for Heroes, added: “Help for Heroes is all about getting the very best support to the wounded Servicemen and women and their families whose lives are changed by their injuries and illness. We are delighted to be able to work with other organisations and the Service’s own charities to ensure that the wounded and their relatives get the speedy support and opportunities they so richly deserve.”
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