Warren knew he wanted to join the RAF from an early age, first joining the Air Cadets at Huddersfield Branch 59 Squadron, before signing up in 1991. He says, “all the way through my RAF career, I absolutely loved it. I’ll never forget my brothers and sisters who I served with.”
After leaving the RAF in 2005, Warren settled in Hull. He was employed in door supervision and security work, but unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury after an incident where he was pushed down three flights of stairs. Shortly after, Warren became unemployed.
Moving from employment to relying on benefits took a massive strain on the household and Warren began to struggle with his mental wellbeing. He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and at the same time began to experience financial difficulties. It was then that Warren reached out to the RAF Association’s casework team for help.
Our specialist team assessed Warren’s needs and organised practical, financial support which helped alleviate the financial pressures that he was experiencing. When he received a further diagnosis of PTSD in May 2022, our highly trained caseworkers also helped Warren to access vital emotional support.
“The NHS said that I’d be added to a three-year waiting list,” he says. “But the RAF Association arranged for me to receive counselling within three months of me calling.”
Warren was also referred to our RAF Association Connections for Life service, and now has regular calls with one of our trained volunteers. “Tony – my Connections for Life volunteer – calls me up every fortnight and whether it be a chat about the weather, or the football scores at the weekend, he’s a lifeline,” he says.
Unfortunately, like so many people in the RAF community, the cost-of-living crisis is having an incredibly worrying impact for Warren and his family. With two children who stay with him at the weekends, Warren has been forced to turn to foodbanks to make sure that there’s food on the table.
“We’ve had to swallow our pride and ask for help,” Warren says. “Even if we can’t eat breakfast and lunch, we make sure we have one meal – no matter how small that is.”
Looking to the future worries Warren. “Where does the tunnel end?” he asks. “As far as I’m concerned, people are either going to freeze or starve to death. Within our household, there’s no disposable income. Our food money is going on heating now – it’s a vicious circle we’re in.”
Warren finds comfort in knowing that the RAF Association casework team will continue to support his family in the months to come. Before he reached out, he says, “it felt as though reaching out to local establishments, nobody wanted to talk. But the RAF Association are willing to talk, willing to help and always there.”