A former Sheffield soldier has made a pledge - to create a haven for South Yorkshire veterans in need of support.
Alistair Casey knows just how tough life after service can be. He served in the army from 1985 to 1994 and, since returning home, has battled injury, emotional issues and a marriage breakdown - all of which led to him being unemployed and homeless for a number of years.
“I’ve been hungry, I’ve had nowhere to live, I’ve turned to drink - I know how that feels,” said Alistair, who now works for a Sheffield security firm and is getting married next year.
“I made the decision to rebuild my life and it’s been tough, but I did it. I have a job, I have a home and people who care about me. I’m safe. Now I want to help other veterans out there to feel safe too.”
Alistair, of Kiveton Park, wants to create three ‘hubs’ in the city, where veterans who are struggling can eat, sleep and feel secure while they work to get their lives back on track.
He said: “I want a haven for these men and women where they can go for cheap food, welfare checks, help looking for work and education in things that can help their present situation - such as learning to food shop economically and cook fresh and inexpensive meals for themselves.”
Alistair has now launched his own charity, South Yorkshire Veterans Hub, and is working tirelessly to raise the £100,000 he needs to create his first hub.
But with no financial backing, he insists his street collections, charity nights and car boot sales will only go so far.
He said: “I need financial backing, I need someone to help me, because I’m full of dreams and good intentions but I can’t do this alone, I’ve got lots of good people around me giving me a lot of moral support, but now we need some financial help.”
Alistair, aged 51, hopes the hubs could eventually create jobs for some of the veterans it helps.
He added: “Most of these people just need a chance to work and get their pride back. If this all goes belly-up, any money I raise will be donated to the Royal British Legion.”
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