Volunteering resulted in a full time job for Robert which was a huge relief as he approached his medical discharge date from the Army.
Robert was serving in Wiltshire but was facing medical discharge so he relocated back to his native Aberdeenshire. He was transferred to the Personnel Recovery Unit (PRU) in Edinburgh so he could access the care and support he needed.
Robert has always been passionate about the outdoors and has volunteered with various conservation and wildlife groups in the past. Robert was keen to get back into this area to help fill his time and assist with his recovery but he found it difficult to gain any opportunities having moved to a new city.
It was during his induction at the PRU in June 2018 that he met Sophie from Step Together. Sophie did a presentation about the benefits of volunteering and the support that Step Together can provide.
“We immediately sat down after the presentation to have a chat about my interests and how she could help. Sophie was brilliant, she was really supportive and told me about a potential placement at the Scottish SPCA (Scotland’s Animal Welfare Charity).”
Robert began volunteering with the Scottish SPCA in July as an animal care assistant. He volunteered two full days a week but quite often went along for an extra day to help out.
“It is really good fun, I enjoy it there. One of the managers is also ex-Military, so that has been really helpful, having someone there that knows what I am going through. Volunteering has really helped me to meet like-minded people that I wouldn’t have otherwise met and just generally getting out and about. Being back in an active role has also helped me to find a way to manage my pain level better. If it hadn’t of been for that initial conversation with Sophie, I would be just sat around at home.”
Robert has now successfully secured a paid, full time role with the Scottish SPCA which is a direct result of his volunteering placement.
“It’s a huge relief to have a job to go into, instead of leaving the Army and having nothing. I feel so much more confident about the future and I just really love it there. That first chat with Sophie was the push that I needed and we have kept in touch throughout the whole process. It’s been a great help in getting me to where I am now.”