Supporting Turn to Starboard: Jim’s Story

Published on: November 16,2022 Published in: Forces Friendly Insights

Here at i3Secure, we’re proud to support a range of charities and causes that contribute to the continuous improvement and well-being of the communities in which we live and work.

With many of our own team having served in the Forces, one cause is particularly close to our hearts. COBSEO registered charity, Turn to Starboard (T2S), helps serving and retired Armed Forces personnel and their families readjust after operations.

For many Armed Forces personnel, moving back into civilian life after time spent on deployed operations can be challenging, particularly for those who have experienced hostile and often austere conditions.

With a focus on reintegration and reinforcing a sense of value and belonging, Turn to Starboard support these individuals and provide an opportunity to gain professional sailing qualifications and even start new careers in the marine industry.

Earlier this year, i3Secure made a pledge to fund a Yachtmaster Scholarship, enabling a beneficiary to gain the well-regarded and internationally recognised YHA marine qualification.

Ex-serviceman Jim was chosen by Turn to Starboard to benefit from the funding and we’re honoured to be able to share his journey and the importance of the charity’s work.

Jim’s story

Following six years in the Royal Engineers, Jim left the army while serving in Germany, a change forced by personal circumstances. Upon leaving the Army, he took a job as a lorry driver but became involved in substance abuse which, over a period led him to become suicidal. Jim was eventually Sectioned and was in a secure hospital unit until his release in February 2022. 

After leaving hospital, Jim was supported by the organisation Forgotten Veterans and entered their Buddy Scheme. In conversation, Jim had been fondly talking about a dinghy sailing experience he had when he was young, and as a result, Turn to Starboard was mentioned. Although Jim wanted to be involved, he was convinced that such an opportunity was unlikely to come his way. After some encouragement, he contacted Helen at Turn to Starboard and was asked to join the ‘Tudor Run’ initial training week which led to a four-week sailing challenge from Falmouth to the Tower of London and back.

When Jim first arrived at Turn to Starboard’s headquarters in Falmouth, he struggled to even go in the door and experienced high levels of anxiety sitting outside in the Marina. Helen and one of the Skippers went out and chatted with him convincing him to give it a try.

Jim did give it a try, and from then, he never looked back. Following the training week, he started to feel things changing. In his words, “Turn to Starboard gives you a base and a sense of belonging. When you’re here, you don’t feel alone and there is a huge amount of support available. You have a sense of purpose when you’re on the boat, you are trusted, and you just want to do a good job for the people you are with.”

Jim feels comfortable in the marine environment and his anxiety has reduced. T2S also helped Jim sort out his benefit allowances and formally registered him with the NHS as a veteran.

Jim stayed on with T2S and continued his sailing to the extent that he gained his RYA qualifications of Competent Crew, Day Skipper, and Power Boat Level 1 and 2. He has found his niche and is relishing his new responsibility of looking out for his colleagues at sea and having done over 2,800 miles crewing at sea, is now volunteering as crew with Turn to Starboard. Jim is First Mate on Turn to Starboard’s Tall Ship, Spirit of Falmouth, and is working towards his RYA Yachtmaster qualification at which point he can become a T2S Skipper.

In just eight months, Jim has really turned things around and has grabbed the opportunity that Turn to Starboard provided with both hands.

You can find more information about Turn to Starboard on their website.

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