'I just walked in off the street' – How an army veteran overcame grief and unemployment with the help of an Exeter charity to transform his life after feeling 'really, really low'

  • Paul worked in security for more than a decade, after serving in the army
  • He was made redundant then, three days later, his father passed away
  • This sent Paul into a downward spiral and he was unemployed for 12 months

Written by Callum Patterson for DonateToday

PUBLISHED: 15:52, 21st Sep 2017 | UPDATED: 12:03, 30th Oct 2017

Lost All Motivation

Being made redundant shortly before his father passed away left Paul feeling 'really, really low'

After a work life that stretched back to the 1970s – when he was in the army – Paul was made redundant from his job as a security officer with a major supermarket after 11 years in the security industry. Three days later, his father passed away.

‘Losing my father and being unemployed left me feeling really, really low,’ Paul tells the St Loye’s Foundation website. ‘I lost all motivation and basically kicked my heels for 12 months.' 

During this time, Paul discovered Transitions – a project run by the St Loye’s Foundation (an Exeter-based charity working to transform the lives of disabled and disadvantaged people) to provide support to the Armed Forces Community. 

Walked In Off the Street

The Transitions team chatted with Paul to find out about his experience and interests, then worked to help him pursue a career in driving – arranging a meeting for him with the Devon Air Ambulance Trust who were looking for two part-time drivers.

‘I just walked in off the street,’ Paul recalls. ‘They didn’t know me, but they took everything I said at face value. Everyone was so down to earth and dealt with me so professionally.’

The result of Paul’s meeting with the Devon Air Ambulance Trust was a two-week placement which Paul remembers fondly. ‘I guess it [the placement] went well as I was offered a formal interview,’ he recalls.

Paul's hard work was rewarded a short while later, when his position was made full-time. 

With support from the St Loye's Foundation's Transitions project, Paul was helped to pursue a career in driving

"Thanks to Transitions and Devon Air Ambulance Trust, I'm a completely different person!"


Nice Guy

‘In his interview, it shocked me that such a nice guy didn’t have a job,’ Sue Whitham, Retail Development at Devon Air Ambulance Trust told the St Loye’s Foundation website. ‘I knew after his second day on placement that he was a winner. He’s a pleasure to work with.’

Paul is delighted with the work he has done with both charities. ‘I’m part of a great team and my role has gone from part-time to full-time which is absolutely brilliant,’ he says. ‘I have purpose again.’

‘Thanks to Transitions and Devon Air Ambulance Trust,’ he finishes, ‘I’m a completely different person!’

Please note that names may have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved. Images are used for illustrative purposes only and, unless specified, persons included in images are posed models, not the persons mentioned in the article.