Reach out, we’ll be there
How one man benefited from Stoll’s Veterans’ Outreach Service
Adam Wilding followed in his biological father’s footsteps, joining the RAF in 1988 and serving for six years. During his time in the Forces, he was deployed in the first Gulf War, went on to be based on Ascension Island and then to work on the NATO operation in Norway. Adam finished his career at RAF Benson, working for the Air Vice Marshal. Before needing knee surgery, Adam also used to run for the RAF and was Cornish champion.
‘I didn’t really want to go to war, so it was ironic that I was posted to the Gulf. I realised shortly after I came back that something wasn’t quite right and I was told it would pass. I got on with my job and sort of tried to laugh it off and carry on. I could tell I felt different.’
Due to defence cuts, Adam left the RAF in 1994 and began working on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise liner for three years. He continued for the next 17 years to work on private yachts and in houses, as a butler, chief steward and purser, travelling the world. In 2009, Adam took on the incredible challenge of building a 95m yacht in Hamburg.
‘In 2013, my physical health started to deteriorate. I didn’t want to move back to the UK because of family troubles, but I knew it was the best thing to do.’ After moving back, Adam began to think of the future and what was next. He put his analytical mind and building skills into practice and secured a role as a medical technician with St John Ambulance, working for the London Ambulance Service.
Since working with Stoll, my mental perception has changed; I feel happier and have some of my independence back
‘I had a major flashback to the Gulf when I saw a burns patient at work. It took me by surprise really. I was living in Acton at the time and felt unsafe in my area so decided to move to West London. A few days before I moved, I helped my neighbour, who had been stabbed. That confirmed my move for me. It wasn’t the right area for me to be in, especially in such an intense job and coping with my health. I was struggling to manage financially and pay off debt that was accumulating. I was in an emotionally low place.
‘Thinking about what’s happened to me, I sometimes regret joining the RAF. The only thing that really made it worth it was the friends I made.’
In 2017, Adam gave blood in the community hall at Stoll Mansions and happened to donate next to a member of Stoll’s Outreach Service. ‘It was by chance that I came across Stoll and heard about what they do – while I was donating blood! I started working with their Outreach Service and focused on managing my money and accessing mymedical war pension so I have security for the future. The service also directed to me to the right medical help and I received a post-traumatic stress diagnosis earlier this year. I’m looking to perhaps take an AAP course in the future to enhance my qualifications, but for now I want to focus on starting from scratch.
’I was on the carpet at that time in my life and now I’m off the carpet. It all hit me like a shovel. Since working with Stoll, my mental perception has changed; I feel happier and have some of my independence back. The Stoll Outreach Service helped me see a snippet of what could be – they went above and beyond, and I am so grateful.’
If you have ever served in the British Armed Forces, the Veterans’ Outreach Service is here to support you and your dependents. This service is available to Veterans within the M25.
The support provided covers a wide range of areas, including housing advice and support to access suitable accommodation, advice on welfare benefits, debt and money management, mental and/or physical health, employment advice, and access to social and community activities.
Find out more
Stoll has been providing support to the Veteran community for more than 100 years and is here to support the next generation of Veterans. For more information about finding a home with Stoll or accessing support, please visit www.stoll.org.ukor call the Outreach Team on 020 7385 2110.
446 Fulham Road
London SW6 1DT
Tel: 020 7385 2110
Stoll’s drop-in runs every second Wednesday of the monthat its Fulham site (see above), in the Community Hall