Billy is an armed services veteran with five years’ service in the infantry who saw active service in Northern Ireland.
On leaving the forces, Billy struggled to find his way in life, returning to an area and peers that were one of the reasons he had left to join the army in the first place. He quickly fell in with the wrong crowd and became heavily involved in the local drug scene which soon developed in to dealing drugs in a big way and all the crime and infighting that this lifestyle entails. This ultimately led to Billy being arrested and serving an eighht-year prison sentence.
It was during Billy’s time in prison that he became aware of the Veterans Mentoring Service, and he was a regular attender at the monthly Veterans Coffee Mornings prior to progressing on to his final year of incarceration in the open prison at HMP Castle Huntly. Whilst in Castle Huntly, VMS introduced Billy to SVR (Whitefoord House) and through collaborative working together it was agreed that Billy would be allowed to spend his ‘home leaves’ in Whitefoord House, with a view that Billy would move in full time immediately on his release. This was a great help to Billy and gave him a safe place to work from in rebuilding his life.
Further referrals were made from VMS to Veterans First Point where – for the first time – Billy was able to address his mental health issues. He was also referred in to SVGCA who have now housed Billy in Veterans’ accommodation which has helped massively to progress Billy’s rehabilitation and normalisation back in to Civvy Street.
Billy has also received assistance from SSAFA, Poppy Scotland (SAMH) and The Sacro Trust. Due to all the help and support Billy has received he is now living in his own house (provided by SVGCA) and has set up his own joinery business; he has reengaged with his children and has recently became a grandad – although still early days, Billy is doing well and enjoying a crime-free life again.