Tony Wright's Story
Tony travelled to the USA to investigate the resettlement and support services available to ex-service personnel prior to and after a return to civilian life.
Tony Wright, Founder & Chief Executive of Forward Assist, joined the Royal Marines in 1978 and was medically discharged in 1981 after seriously injuring his shoulder during basic training. As an Early Service Leaver (ESL) he had firsthand knowledge of how difficult it is for many former servicemen and women to re-establish themselves back into the civilian community after discharge from the Armed Forces. After leaving the Armed Forces he was technically homeless and unemployed for some time before returning to the education system to gain appropriate qualifications so that he could re-train in an occupation of his choice. He worked in a range of statutory and voluntary welfare settings, qualifying as a social worker in 1996.
His Fellowship, in 2011, took him to the USA to compare and contrast the resettlement and support services available to ex-service personnel prior to and after a return to civilian life. He was especially interested in those veterans who experienced chronic social exclusion as a result of combat operational stress.
Since his Fellowship, Tony has worked as a Home Office advisor based within Government Office North East, and whilst working in the homeless sector developed numerous innovative interventions for adults facing chronic exclusion that are now recognised as best practice. Tony sits on several groups that specialise in meeting the currently ‘un-met’ needs of veterans in the Criminal Justice System.
He has since established a Veterans Exchange Programme with the USA and teams of veterans from both countries have taken part in this cultural exchange. Tony is currently campaigning for the introduction of Veterans Treatment Courts into the UK Criminal Justice System and has advised politicians, magistrates, and government officials on this matter.