Two former soldiers whose military careers were both brought to an end by injury are turning their attention to helping motivate young unemployed people in Catterick.
Lee Manley and Seveci Navelinikoro (known as Nav) are bringing the Prince’s Trust Team programme to their home town, in partnership with Stockton Riverside College, after the charity helped turn both of their lives around.
“The Team programme is all about helping young people who for a number of different reasons, have found themselves out of work and are unsure what to do next,” said Lee.
“By building their skills and confidence we can help them to rediscover their direction and explore the different options available to them.”
Both having faced similar uncertainty when their own army careers were cut short, Lee and Nav are well placed to offer support.
Lee, 30, had to be medically discharged after the effects of a spinal injury suffered in Afghanisan years earlier took their toll. While Nav, 37, saw his dream career end in an instant as he suffered life-changing injuries when the vehicle he was travelling in drove over an improvised explosive device (IED), also in Afghanistan.
“All of a sudden I had no idea what I was going to do,” said Lee. “The realisation that my army career had ended was hard to take.”
Suffering extensive nerve damage to his lower back, left hip, knee and ankle as well as a brain trauma and loss of hearing in one ear, Nav said: “For me the first hurdle was accepting that you are going to be out of the army,” Then, he said, comes the fact that everything has changed.
Both received support from Help for Heroes and working in partnership with The Prince’s Trust they now work with Stockton Riverside College, leading teams of young people through the charity’s personal development scheme.
Nav, a keen sportsman, was even inspired to find new ways of pursuing his passion going on to become a multi-medallist in the 2014 and 2016 Invictus Games.
Excited to now be able to bring the Team programme to Catterick, Stockton Riverside College’s Head of Prince’s Trust, Gillian Hutchinson, believes both Lee and Nav’s skills and personal experiences make them perfectly placed to deliver the free 12-week programme which helps young people get back into work or training.
She said: “Lee and Nav are both inspirational and a great example of just what you can achieve, even in the face of adversity.
“At Stockton Riverside College we have developed a very strong partnership with Help for Heroes and as a result of working closely with service personnel who live in Catterick Garrison we have identified a need for this type of programme there.”
Lee and Nav will be joined by fellow Help for Heroes veteran, Mark Tonner, who was also injured in service.
Catterick Garrison’s Commander Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jordan has welcomed the introduction of the scheme to the area.
“We are very excited to have the Princes Trust delivering courses in Catterick, it is exactly the right thing to do to motivate the young and unemployed in our area,” he said.
“Catterick Garrison and the surrounding area have every resource available to make this exciting and challenging and I’m sure those that take part will not only thoroughly enjoy the course but it will also test and challenge them.”
Offering opportunities for young unemployed people, aged 16 to 25, from Catterick, Richmond and the surrounding areas, the Team programme is due to start on Monday February 27 at The Family Welfare Centre, Catterick. For details or to get involved call Lee on O7436 795882 or visit: www.stockton.ac.uk/princes-trust/