Paul • 51 • Social entrepreneur
Paul served as a Gunner for seven years in the Royal Navy. He was diagnosed with Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the time he served in the South Atlantic.
After leaving the Navy he had various jobs, but over the years he found employment increasingly difficult due to his PTSD and physical injuries. In 2012, Paul was signposted to the St Loye’s ‘Transitions’ programme – a free service helping former armed services personnel establish new careers. He hasn’t looked back since. Having used woodworking on and off over the years as a form of personal therapy, Paul was encouraged by his mentor to put this forward as a business idea. The St Loye’s team were able to introduce him to UnLtd, the UK’s leading provider of support to social entrepreneurs. This resulted in Paul being awarded a £4,700 grant to help him grow his business, which uses woodworking as social therapy. St Loye’s client-centred approach and team ethos has provided Paul with the support he has needed to overcome the challenges he has faced.
Paul wanted to thank the St Loye’s team, particularly Richard, from Transitions, and Kelly, from the Employment Team, who helped him access the funding for his social enterprise. He said: “The whole team is like a family-in fact it’s better, it’s more secure and stable. The team accepts you for who and what you are, and understand any issues so well that they stop being issues at all. ”Paul is regarded as a social entrepreneur because he has created a business solution to a social problem. Using his woodworking skills he now helps vulnerable adults learn practical skills for future employment. Paul said: “Having this opportunity allows me to use my experiences to support vulnerable people and to help them steer a steady course. It’s not a fix, it’s another tool in the tool bag to cope with life. ”Julie Carthy, UnLtd South West Awards Manager added: “Working with St Loye’s helps us to extend our reach and meet more inspiring people who, with the right support can achieve amazing things. Without St Loye’s we may never have met Paul.”