RNRMC Funding Aids Veteran Back to Work

Beneficiary, General, Grants
10 July 2023

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has been supporting The Poppy Factory with funding since 2016 to aid their support for Royal Navy and Royal Marines veterans with health conditions on their journey into employment.

A varied catering career in the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and HM Prison Service was cut short for Tony Gale when his mental health took a sharp downward turn. Rebuilding his resilience and confidence took time. With the support of The Poppy Factory, he is now back at work and looking to the future again, with a fresh qualification in food safety from a top university.

Employment support for Tony was made possible through a recent grant of £24,000 from the RNRMC, awarded to The Poppy Factory in May 2023.

Tony shares with The Poppy Factory:

“I joined in 1977 as a Steward and served for six years, then joined the Merchant Navy as a Chief Steward and 2nd Cook and Baker/Chief Cook/Steward for another 15 years.

In the services, they break you down and build you back up into what they want you to be. It’s difficult because civilians don’t generally get it.

I became ill and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2014. It just went downhill from there. By the time I came was referred to The Poppy Factory in 2019, I was in a situation where I couldn’t communicate with people. I would go all day on my own.

I always remember Katy, my Employment Consultant, saying to me that I didn’t have to talk. She didn’t ask lots of questions about my past, she just let me get it out in my own time. She was always there when I was feeling bad and I wanted to talk, and that helped tremendously.

I had no idea what I wanted to do for work. Katy helped me think about my hobbies and interests […] I didn’t think it would be possible to do that, but we found a way forward. I was able to enrol on a two-year course at the University of Birmingham in autumn 2020.

Organisations like The Poppy Factory and RBLI have given me resilience and purpose again and helped me back into the workplace with a long-term commitment to academic study.

Now that I have my qualification, I’m excited to see what the future holds. I feel like I’m nearly back to the person I was years ago, and I’ve got my confidence back again.” Tony Gale with his diploma

When things were bad, I don’t think I could have got much lower. Now, apart from winning the lottery, I don’t think I could get much higher.


To find out more about The Poppy Factory, visit poppyfactory.org