Leon Parker served in the Army for four-and-a-half years, but when he left service, he was unable to find a job, struggled to cope with regular life and ended up homeless.
Solider to Civvy
Leon joined the Army when he was 16 and served in Malaysia, Germany and Canada before leaving service in 2016.
After he left the Army Leon found it difficult to transition to civilian life.
“It was quite hard because in the Army you're with 50, 60 people every day, then when you leave you’re just by yourself,” Leon says.
“About a year after leaving I was also diagnosed with PTSD and I was given a psychiatrist, but then after therapy I just had no one to talk to again.”
“I went through a stage where I just didn't trust anyone. I didn’t want to speak to any family, I didn't want to speak to any organisations or anything like that.”
Last year Leon tried to take his own life and, after leaving hospital, chose to sleep rough in a tent in the woods, effectively dropping out of society completely, as he struggled to cope with his latest bout of PTSD.
“My mum and my sisters were at the end of the bed [in hospital] and they were crying, and I just didn't feel anything.
I knew I had to get away from it all. So, I got my dog and then we just left.
"I spent three and half months with my dog in a tent in the woods and that's when RBL stepped in.”
“I just rang them one day from the phone box and they rang me back and straight away and said; “yeah we can help you”.
We helped Leon secure a new flat, pay his rent and deposit, and furnished the property.
Leon is now working as a chef de partie in a five-star Wirral hotel, having been promoted twice since joining six months ago.
“I was at a real low point in my life, and without the support of my friends and the Royal British Legion, I dread to think what might have happened.”
Care and independent living
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