CFO helps to heal the scars for Keith
9 Feb 2022
Eleven years after being discharged from the RAF, Keith Cooper began struggling with the mental scars of serving in Northern Ireland. Spending the subsequent years offending and in and out of prison, he faced his longest stretch this year. Two months since his release, he’s grateful to the CFO Activity Hubs
for their support in helping him to look to the future.
Discharged from the RAF in 1986, it wasn’t until 1997 that Keith, 64, began to experience PTSD and started offending. After several short stays in prison, he became dependant on alcohol in 2004, fuelling his mental troubles further.
“I led a normal happy life when I came out of the RAF,” explains Keith. “My station commander found me a job, which I had for 13 years, and I got married. It wasn’t until the PTSD started to take effect that my life changed. I ended up a total alcoholic, and that just fuelled all my anger.”
Receiving different support for his problems over the years, he first had access to the CFO Activity Hubs at Holme House Prison’s veterans’ wing this year, where he felt supported by people who fully understood his background.
Keith says, “Civilians don’t understand what we’ve been through so it’s very hard to open up to them. But the CFO was different. It’s a brilliant service and led by former service men – my adviser Graham was in Northern Ireland too so we could really empathise with each other.”
Keith had access to practical support through the CFO Activity Hub, including debt advice and independent living. He was also offered mental health support through group or one-to-one sessions, something which Keith found beneficial.
“The one-to-one sessions were hard but very helpful – they forced me back into myself. With so many veterans in prison this service is desperately needed, and I was fortunate to be able to use it. I’m still able to go to the Darlington CFO Community Activity Hub, and when I have my down days I talk to Graham and we can both relate to each other.”
The Ingeus justice division works with people with custodial or probation experience to shape their rehabilitation journey. Working within prisons and the community, its expert teams run CFO Activity Hubs and deliver Commissioned Rehabilitative Services (CRS) to support service users as they reintegrate positively into society.
CFO Activity Hubs
, including the Veterans’ Hub at Holme House Prison, are commissioned by HMPPS Co-financing Organisation and are part funded by the European Social Fund.