Marc’s Story

Marc joined the Army in 1999 aged 21.  His regiment was King’s Own Scottish Borderer’s.  He discharged after 9 years, in 2006, having served in Iraq and Northern Ireland.

Marc is one of many Norcare have helped since the inception of Brims House and long may it continue to help our ex-servicemen and women lead happy independent lives.

Marc is one of many Norcare have helped since the inception of Brims House and long may it continue to help our ex-servicemen and women lead happy independent lives.

In spite of finding a flat and a job quickly, Marc found civilian life and independent living difficult and stressful, and due to an incident which involved alcohol, he ended up in prison. Marc was visited by a veteran support worker whilst in prison, and on his release was found a place in a Salvation Army hostel, which he describes as, “Like still being in  prison”.  He felt out of place among the other residents in the hostel, and feeling vulnerable and alienated he stayed in his room nearly all the time, becoming more and more withdrawn, which had a negative impact on both his emotional and physical health.  In spite of these difficulties Marc participated in a fourteen week construction course which he completed and passed with flying colours.  He says going out to his course every day saved his sanity.

Sadly Marc’s unhappiness and feeling of alienation in his accommodation unfortunately led to another incident involving alcohol, and he was asked to leave the hostel, then becoming homeless. When Marc contacted Norcare he was living under Byker Bridge with an occasional night on a friend’s sofa.

Thankfully a friend from the Army, who is a British Legion Case Worker, found Marc and told him about the new Norcare Veterans’ Centre.  Marc immediately contacted Norcare himself and became our first resident, as the paint was still drying.

His needs centred on him being an ex-offender, substance misuse, debt, managing money, employability, managing independent living, breakdown family relationships and PTSD. Once he had settled into his new environment we planned a programme of support which involved Norcare working together with a number of other agencies which specialised in meeting his needs. All agencies worked closely together to support Marc.

Marc says it was like finding sanctuary when he walked into the Veterans’ Centre.  At first he concentrated on his health and fitness, enjoying the peace and quiet, eating properly again and going to the gym every day.  Apart from having a place to live where he felt safe and understood at last, Marc says the best thing was being able to show his mother where he was living, so she could see things were changing for him and stop worrying.  Since then the relationship with his family has improved vastly.

Within weeks of finding his sanctuary Marc was attending a residential course on rural life skills in Derbyshire. He completed the Veterans’ Course at Finchale College, a Forklift driving course and  a Horticultural Course.  Whilst on the course he was attending a placement in the New Year at St Michaels Church in Byker, a community project which Norcare were involved with.  Marc moved on and is now living independently with family in the Borders and gained employment; however he maintains a link with Norcare through letter and telephone.  Marc may have needed a helping hand to set him on his journey, but he grabbed every opportunity offered to him with both of his own, going from strength to strength.

Marc is one of many Norcare have helped since the inception of Brims House and long may it continue to help our ex-servicemen and women lead happy independent lives.