Earlier this year, Jim was nominated to be the recipient of the funds raised by the BBC programme, Street Auction, sending him and his family on a dream holiday to Canada in recognition that despite significant challenges, Jim has turned his life around and helped his local community through hours of volunteering. Totally unaware that he would be the beneficiary of the money raised, Jim immediately offered to help on the day and was running the cake stall with his family when it was announced during filming.
In 2013, Jim was medically discharged from the RAF due to an injury, which had a serious impact on his mental health. Struggling with the effects of this, Jim was no longer able to work.
He met Elaine from Step Together in May 2015 at Tedworth House, a recovery centre for wounded, injured and sick service personnel. Jim needed support to begin finding direction and purpose again. Keen to get involved with helping children, Elaine assisted Jim in securing a volunteering placement with Ivy Lane School in Chippenham and he started volunteering with the Forest School sessions.
With his confidence increasing, Jim also began volunteering with the Calne Community Hub. Through this role, Jim decided that he would like to help other veterans in his area and in June 2016, he organised an open day for forces charities in Calne Town Centre.
‘With Step Together’s support, volunteering has opened up a whole new world for me and given me the confidence to try new things. It has made me realise that I can gain self-respect and self-worth from voluntary work and feel as though I am making a difference to other people’s quality of life. I feel less isolated and no longer have the desire to shut myself away. It has been a life changer.’
Jim continues to volunteer at the community hub and Ivy Lane School and is currently involved in other school activities as well as the Forest School sessions. He is also now in the process of taking a Level One Cricket Coaching Course and helping out at his local cricket club.