Alex Askew, 34, served three years with the RAF Regiment but after leaving the Forces in 2008 following a diagnosis of PTSD he struggled to find steady employment and housing.
Alex and wife Lisa, who met online while he was serving in Afghanistan, spent three years staying with friends and family and were classified as homeless before they were finally allocated housing. The couple have since had to move twice but are now happily settled with their 20-month-old daughter.
Now musician Alex is releasing a song – Just Another Week – performed by himself and his Shadey Scandals band mates (www.shadeyscandalsband.com) Martin Tiedman, Brian Brockie, Tony Amato, Pete Ravenscroft and Rick Lewis, which he hopes will speak to others who have been through similar problems and donating part of the proceeds to SSAFA as thanks for the support he has received.
“I wrote the song when we were really stuck a few years ago and because of the things I was going through when I wrote it I thought other people would be able to relate to it,” he said. “I had been posted non-effective for about a year after I got back from Afghanistan and then when I first came out the Forces there was just no work because it was 2008 when we were in the recession. We started up our own gardening business which went quite well for a couple of years but we worked ourselves into the ground and both ended up in hospital.
“We had nowhere to live and the council wasn’t helping us to get housed. We had saved up a lot from when we had the business but when we were off work we had to live off the money we had saved.”
Now the couple, having moved for a second time, are settled in Crayford with their daughter Katie-Juliet and Alex has found a permanent position at a sign-makers. Following a donation from Welling Round Table, Alex’s band Shadey Scandals was able to have Just Another Week professionally produced and recorded and have even made a video, while photographer Lisa created the single cover.
She said: “We support and encourage each other and that’s what has kept us going. There’s definitely something about the song that I think will resonate with people who have been through tough times.”
Alex said: “It occurred to us that the feelings I was going through whilst writing Just Another Week are not only relevant to me, but any other ex serviceman that may reach out to SSAFA for help, maybe even people who have not served and may have just gone through a tough time themselves. I’m hoping this will appeal to everybody no matter what their age.”