On our visit to Alabaré’s housing centre for veterans in Conwy we met residents whose lives have been transformed with the help of our funding.

Alabaré helps vulnerable and marginalised people, including veterans, enabling them to live enjoyable and independent lives. Our Case Studies Liaison Officer, Helen McMahon, visited Alabaré’s Conwy Home for Veterans and spoke to two residents who shared their Army experiences and the challenges they faced after service.

Mark’s story


Mark joined the Army aged 16 and served for ten years in the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He undertook tours in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Belize, Canada, and Kenya.

Mark says: “I enjoyed my time in the Army but left after experiencing trauma because of operational deployments. On returning home, my family did not want to hear about bad stuff, so I kept it to myself. I couldn’t sleep at night and had dreams and nightmares.”

In 2022, Mark was referred to Alabaré by a local authority homeless team after living in his ex-partner’s shed for two years. He is now slowly rebuilding his life and provides peer support and inspiration to other veterans in the home because of his combat trauma experience.

Mark says: “I am proud of myself, and positively embrace the therapy programmes and social activities. The staff have been great, I feel safe but now need to move forward in my life with my own home.”

Jenny, Alabaré’s Home Manager, says: “Mark has moved forward on his journey to independent living, fully engaging with mental health programmes to support his well-being, and he enjoys attending art therapy and visiting places of interest. The ‘brotherhood’ of military life is still very much part of his fabric.”

Steve’s story


Steve joined the Army aged 16 and served for three years in the Royal Logistic Corps, training as a driver at Aldershot. During his first Regimental tour as an HGV driver, his grandmother died suddenly and he was consumed with grief, eventually spending four weeks in a psychiatric hospital before being discharged from the Army. He eventually realised much later that he had been suffering with PTSD.

After leaving the Army, Steve worked for a time as an HGV driver though his mental health remained fragile. In 2022, his mother also died suddenly, and then he broke up with his girlfriend. He was drinking and taking drugs and his relationship with his father broke down too. He ended up sleeping in a car before his sister got in touch with the local council who provided him with a hotel room. In August 2022, he came to Alabaré and met Jenny. He recalls:

“I was a broken man, crying and didn’t know where to turn. The start of my recovery was to get everything off my chest, be the man and not the child and talk about everything that was happening in my life. Jenny has helped me out a lot. No drinking and drugs in the home. Without her I don’t know where I would be now.”

Jenny says: “I am delighted that Steve is now in a much happier place with a support network that has assisted in some way to fill the void left by his mother’s passing.”

In February 2024, Steve moved into his own home and plans to resume working as an HGV driver three days a week.

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