When Alex told her mum, Pam, that she wanted to join the Army as a dog handler it didn't come as a surprise. But when Pam found out her job would also involve searching for explosives, it "filled her with horror."
In the new video released by Veterans' Gateway, Pam recalls key moments during her daughter's military career. Most notably, dropping her off at basic training in Pirbright, and her first tour of Afghan.
Pam used novel ways of reminding Alex of who she was, and that she was loved. She wrote little messages in her bag, so that every time Alex used it she would remember them.
Many parents, like Pam, feel powerless to help when their child joins the Forces and later when they are discharged.
“I was proud you were serving your country and I was glad you were doing what you wanted to. But I was really worried. After all, you may be a soldier, but you’re still my baby.”
Veteran’s Gateway is highlighting the support available not just to service leavers, but also to their parents, who are often the first people to notice their son or daughter may be struggling on Civvy Street. Families can source info on behalf of their children.
Common concerns of families contacting Veterans’ Gateway include “My daughter doesn’t think she had the skills to do any other job now she’s left the Forces” or “My son seems very distant and not the same since he’s come home”. Veteran’s Gateway can help.
Many of the advisors are veterans so have a good understanding of the issues facing the ex-forces community. By assessing needs at the first point of contact, the advisors can connect veterans and their families, in the UK and abroad, with the right organisation that can help fast.
With so many military organisations out there, it can be confusing knowing which one to turn to when you need advice quickly. Veterans’ Gateway aims to make this process easier.
Veterans’ Gateway has a network of expert partners and specialist organisations who offer guidance on a range of areas from finding the right job and somewhere to live, to getting your mental and physical health on track.
Call Veterans' Gateway, at any time of the day, on 0808 802 1212.
Visit the websiteveteransgateway.org.uk