On Armed Forces Day, Jason Zerafa shares his story of how The Beacon has helped him rediscover his identity and he’s now helping others at the supported housing service for veterans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Beacon is our homeless veterans’ accommodation in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire.
I served with 4 Rifles Regiment and moved into The Beacon in November of 2018. Now I have strived to improve my circumstances with regard to my physical and mental health and have taken the opportunity to attend various courses since staying there.
I am very passionate about my fitness and have achieved the following qualifications Gateway Qualifications Entry Level Certificate in Skills for Sport and Active Leisure (Entry 3), The Effect of Exercise on the Body, Planning a Healthy Diet, Exercise as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle, Developing Leadership Skills in Sport and Active Leisure and Assisting a Leader of Sports or Active Leisure Activities to Plan and Deliver an Activity.
My life was in turmoil before I came to The Beacon as I had lost my job, my home and I found myself living on the streets.
I am quite a sociable person generally, but also enjoy my own space and tend to retreat to my flat when I feel anxious or depressed. However, staff at The Beacon have always had faith in me and have encouraged me to try and improve my life skills, job prospects, education and my general mental and physical health. With their constant support and small objectives I gave myself, my life has turned around. I now have self-belief in myself and feel that I can achieve anything I put my mind to, as I never believed I could fulfil anything before my arrival.
During the pandemic fellow residents at the scheme have been asking me for advice on how to stay healthy and how to remain motivated. I have tried my best to assist them in the gymnasium and help them with dietary information and this has given me some self-belief that people have faith in me. I enjoy educating others and try to motivate them through fitness so that their mental and physical health is improved on a daily basis.
I also have faith in my religion which helps me remain focussed on life itself. Whenever I feel anxious I really struggle to talk about my feelings, but the staff, clients and myself try and guide me as much as they can and they don’t give up on me!
I have recently been united with my estranged family members and find that this has also been made possible with my positive attitude as I know that I am a better person of late and my family have encouraged me to remain this way. Feeling appreciated, loved and cared for is the ultimate goal in my life as I like to show respect to everyone I meet.