Veteran Rebuilding Life Praises ‘Godsend’ Charity


Tony wants to give back to Garden House in Peterborough by volunteering.

Origanal Credit: Shariqua Ahmed BBC News, Peterborough Published: 22 April 2024

A former soldier expresses his gratitude to a charity that supported him through addiction and homelessness, now aiming to give back by volunteering.

Tony, a former World and European junior kickboxing champion, joined the army at 16 to improve his career prospects.

He credits the Garden House in Peterborough for helping him overcome mental health struggles, calling it “a godsend.”

“If you’re willing to help yourself, everyone will go above and beyond to support you,” he said.

Originally from Sheffield, Tony recounted an incident during a posting in Afghanistan that led to a six-month hospital stay, during which he became addicted to morphine. After being discharged, he turned to heroin.

The Garden House, run by Light Project Peterborough, serves as a respite centre for homeless individuals. The charity supported 243 people in March and has been assisting Tony for the past few months.

Tony shared his story, explaining that he moved to Peterborough last June. However, a relationship issue left him homeless despite being clean from drugs.

“I have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and multi-personality disorder,” he said.

“I’ve come here (Garden House) for food every day for the past few months, received clothes, and been supported in accessing benefits I had never claimed before. They also helped me secure a place in a hostel and establish a support network.”

The service also provided access to a GP to ensure he received the right medication for his conditions.

Tony hopes his story will encourage others to seek help and expressed his desire to volunteer.

“I would do it in a heartbeat,” he said. “It has been a godsend for me.”

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