Helen targets new career thanks to Help for Heroes

Girvan RAF veteran Helen Bolland taking part in archery at the Phoenix Centre.
Girvan RAF veteran Helen Bolland taking part in archery at the Phoenix Centre.

A RAF veteran from Girvan has praised the work done by the charity Help for Heroes.

Helen Bolland, 32, who lives in the town, served as a RAF intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2005 before being medically discharged from the forces in 2008 after experiencing mental health problems.

However, now thanks to a Help For Heroes ran recovery centre in North Yorkshire Helen has got a plan for what she wants to do in the future.

Last month with the help of the support hub team, she started an access course at Glasgow University and hopes to go on to do a law degree in the future.

Helen said: “I would like to work with veterans, helping them get what they need and being an advocate for veterans,

“Phoenix House has really given me the support I needed. Where I live in Girvan, I’m very isolated and do not have many friends or get out of the house much so going down to the centre means I get to socialise.

“Even though you do not know people very well, as a squaddie, I’m used to that and make friends quickly. Phoenix House has that sort of environment and it’s secure. You feel safe going down to the canteen and having a coffee with other people whereas, I would not feel safe going to a coffee shop near my house as it’s stressful for me and I would not be able to relax.

“I said I loved learning and wanted to go to university and now I am. The Support Hub team is helping me find housing in Glasgow and putting me in touch with veterans’ networks.

“Now I’m very excited about the future and change is ahead but I have the support I need. It’s scary but it’s exciting at the same time.”

Helen was also able to enjoy some fun activities at the centre including archery, bike rides and swimming and feels the place brought her old self back out.

“Being at Phoenix House is helping bring me out of myself. Before I went to Phoenix House, I was not going anywhere or doing anything. I went in with a few ideas and they developed those.”

Any veteran wishing to find out more about Phoenix House or pay an informal visit is very welcome to contact the support hub to arrange this. Contact the Support Hub on 01748 834148 or emailcatterick.supporthub@helpforheroes.org.uk.