The National Lottery is celebrating 25 years of supporting charitable causes by speaking to people who have benefited, like former Royal Marine Adam Edwards.
Adam credits The Coming Home Centre in Scotland, a charity supported by Lottery funding, with helping him rebuild his life after being shot and wounded in Afghanistan.
Speaking in a video, filmed by the National Lottery to mark 25 years of helping military charities, Adam talks about being shot by the Taliban while serving with 45 Commando Royal Marines in Afghanistan and how, in the same incident in December 2006, his good friend Marine Jonathan Wigley was killed by a coalition aircraft. He said:
“You keep trying to resuscitate somebody that’s not moving. You know, he’s pale. He’s 21.
“And then we go on a helicopter and you know, they put a blanket over him and he’s dead."
After that trauma, Adam underwent two-years of intensive therapy, medication and treatment for complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eventually, Adam was medically discharged from the Royal Marines.
He was unsure what to do next. It took him until 2016 and a visit to The Coming Home Centre in Glasgow to find the answer.
Today, the former Royal Marine features in a video highlighting the work of the drop-in centre and how the National Lottery Community Fund has supported it financially. He said:
“It’s really, really helped us to grow and deliver services to help veterans in need and to keep an eye on them."
For every £2 spent on a lottery ticket, 23p goes to good causes like The Coming Home Centre.
The National Lottery Community Fund has helped 28,703 projects supporting veterans from across the UK. This includes counselling services, support to visit locations where they served, free taxi services and drop-in centres.
The Coming Home Centre does not have a big team. There are only two full-time and two part-time members of staff, with 450 registered veterans that 'drop-in'.
Between 10 and 30 veterans come in for their lunch every day and there are monthly events like bowling or a visit to a museum. He said:
“It’s for socialisation and inclusion and again that sense of camaraderie that’s often lost when you leave the military.”
For the past three years, the National Lottery Community Fund has helped The Coming Home Centre support veterans with everything from practical help to emotional support.
Bernard Roberts, 93, joined the Royal Navy in 1942. He says The Coming Home Centre changed his life after his wife died four years ago because of how well he is looked after.
“We never talked about our war experience. It was 50 years after the war before I applied for any medals.
“I discovered this place and they welcomed me with open arms, being an old veteran and I’ve never looked back.”