SPECIAL Forces veteran Ant Middleton has teamed up with military charity SSAFA to launch a fund to help Service personnel get back on their feet as they return to civilian life.
The SAS: Who Dares Wins star turned to SSAFA for support when he struggled after leaving the Services and hopes The Ant Middleton Fund will help other military personnel get the support he did.
The money raised will help SSAFA provide a lifeline for veterans and their families as they adjust to civilian life through its transition services.
Ant said: “The Ant Middleton Fund is a call to action. I want change so we can stop reading stories of veterans unable to get the support they need. I’m hopeful that together we can put an end to unnecessary suffering of those who risked their lives for our safety.
“I thought my transition was going to be easy, but I quickly found myself in a really bad place. After years of putting myself through my paces to be the strongest I could be, both physically and mentally, I felt defeated. It took a lot, but I have put that time behind me, learnt from it and SSAFA was there to support me through it.
“I wanted to set up The Ant Middleton Fund to help people going through similar situations to what I went through, to prevent others from experiencing this, and also to raise awareness of the support that’s needed.”
Veterans who struggle to adapt to life in the military, can often find themselves in desperate circumstances; suffering from long-term physical or mental problems, unable to find work or suitable housing and without enough money for daily living expenses.
SSAFA runs a range of support services to help people achieve their potential in their new lives outside of the military. These services include a bespoke mentoring service which offers face-to-face support to motivate and empower Service leavers, plus personalised welfare, housing and practical support for veterans and their families.
Gary Williams, head of specialist services at SSAFA, said: “When a Serviceman or woman leaves the military, their entire life changes at once. For the first time they may find themselves without a steady income, access to suitable housing or the support network they have become reliant on during their military service.
“Last year, SSAFA supported 73,000 people in their hour of need. From what can seem like small requests for help to the bigger, more life-changing asks, SSAFA is there for the Armed Forces community.
“The Ant Middleton Fund will ensure SSAFA can provide Service leavers and their families with the tools they need for a successful return to civilian life. Please support Ant in any way that you can.”