A QUADRIPLEGIC who said he wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for a Royston-based charity which helps war veterans is paying them back - by volunteering to help others who fall on hard times.
In 2015, Andy Martin became homeless due to a failed marriage and he credits Help 4 Homeless Veterans for spotting the signs that helped save his life.
The 49-year-old, from Thurnscoe, was referred to the charity by a concerned friend and they helped rehome him.
He is now repaying them by giving up his time to help other veterans who may be struggling.
He told the Chronicle: “I was at the lowest I’d ever been, even lower than when I lost the use of my legs - if they didn’t step in when they did, then I wouldn’t be alive, and I’m not ashamed to admit that.
“My first marriage broke down and I was left homeless.
“A friend of mine got in touch with a veterans’ housing charity that was local to him - Help 4 Homeless Veterans.
“After verification of my military service, they offered me a flat in Thurnscoe so I could start to rebuild my life.
“With the charity’s help, not just with the flat but with organising a food hamper, this enabled me to start to rebuild my life for the better.”
The transition moved quicker than usual for Andy due to him, fortunately, not suffering from any PTSD or addictions.
He said: “This made things a lot easier for me, and it was made a hell of a lot easier with Help 4 Homeless Veterans’ support.
“They were on the phone to me and popping in to help me with any housework, like washing and hoovering, or help with shopping and any other support I needed.
“What Help 4 Homeless Veterans did for me was huge, but they gave me a hand up.
“Everything I have now - a new ground floor, adapted flat, a new wife - Diane, who I met in 2015 and married in 2018, the voluntary positions I’ve held, a seat on Doncaster Council’s veterans’ steering group - are all because of me, but also because of the help that Help 4 Homeless Veterans gave me.”
Andy now volunteers for the charity at the support hub in the town centre.
The charity, run by volunteers, aims to provide support to homeless veterans from offering them stays at bed and breakfasts, to helping them get rehoused, and supporting those veterans who are transitioning from military service, to civilian life, whilst also offering advice to those veterans in need.
He said: “I was asked to be a trustee of a charity due to my previous voluntary positions in guiding veterans and my current role as a volunteer there with my wife.”