“All of the staff at Avondale House have been amazing. I was not in a good place at one point but with the support and guidance of the staff at Avondale I am now positive about life and looking forward to what the future holds.”
Steven was born in North Shields and was brought up by his mum and three sisters. He describes his start to life as turbulent, witnessing abusive and violent behaviour from his dad towards members of his family. Steven’s dad suffered from PTSD which played out in violent episodes following time in the military which had devastating consequences for his family who eventually had to be relocated to a refuge and were placed in police protection for safety.
Steven left school without qualifications but enrolled on an apprenticeship in bricklaying. Steven explained how he felt lost and wanted to escape the North East and the abuse and violence within the family, so after three years, he left his apprenticeship and joined the Army. In 2001 he joined the Artillery, however unfortunately just after passing out, Steven had to leave the Army due to issues with his family. On discharge from the Army Steven drifted from one job to another and started drinking heavily. He found life very difficult at this time until he met his future wife in 2005.
Steven settled down into married life and had two sons, and it was at this point Steven decided he was going to rejoin the army again as he felt it was something he had not been able to fulfill back in 2001. He felt a longing to return as leaving the Army the first time was not his choice.
Steven rejoined the Royal Artillery RHA in 2008 as a Gunner, working within quarter master technical vehicle logistics, managing fuel accounts and fleets of vehicles. Steven was there for five and half years, however, whilst serving he suffered a back injury in Nov 2011, and at around the same time his marriage ended. Steven had spent most of the time being on exercise away from home and his marriage had drifted apart.
From 2011-2014 Steven suffered with his back injury, and spent a lot of time during this period having surgery on back and in rehabilitation. Due to his injury, he was found medically unfit for service and was medically discharged in 2014.
Once discharged from the Army, Steven fell into a deep depression as he had not wanted to leave the Army but due to his injury, he had no option. Due to his depression, he found himself again drifting between jobs before ending up unemployed and homeless. It was at this point Steven contacted Royal British Legion who put him in touch with Launchpad and Avondale House in Newcastle.
He moved into his flat in October 2018 and felt able to start rebuilding his life. He engaged with mental health services and all diversionary activities at Avondale. Steven has been a great support in the house, always willing to help wherever he can and has also provided support to other residents within Avondale who have gone through their own struggles. Steven’s mental health has started to improve, and he started to “see light at the end of tunnel”, and now feels he is in a positive place in his life.
Now looking forward to the future, Steven is now ready for independent living and has been successful in gaining permanent accommodation in the area he grew up in. Steven also now has a rescue dog named Zena who is a great companion to him.