Born in Rochford Hostpital, Tony spent time in the army, undertaking six tours of duty in places including Cyprus and Northern Ireland, where he experienced situations that resulted in him suffering severe post-traumatic stress.
Upon leaving active service, the army found him accommodation in London, but he was unable to settle.
Tony takes up his story: “I found it really hard to adjust to life out once I left the army, although they were good to me. I underwent psychiatric treatment for post-traumatic stress”.
“I’m Southend born and bred, and I didn’t much enjoy living in London, so I decided to come back home. It was very hard to find accommodation and I ended up sleeping on the beach”.
After some time spent sleeping rough, Tony was approached by a representative from Southend’s Citizen’s Advice. “They talked to me, encouraged me to find some help, and offered me a list of places to talk to – one of which was HARP”.
Tony first spent time in HARP’s emergency night shelter, before moving into our supported accommodation for people with complex needs, where, he says, he’s gradually finding his feet and getting his life back on track.
“HARP has been a God-send for me. I’m treated like a human being. I love living here; the garden is lovely and the food is great, too! For the first time in a long time, I finally feel safe”.