In 2018 Veteran Steve Wyllie (58) attended an Erskine Reid Macewen Activity Centre Open Day and it was to change his life.  Now Steve is a regular face at the Centre, where he enjoys the camaraderie of fellow Veterans and taking part in the many activities on offer. 

Dumbarton born Steve’s aspirations of being a chef were realised when he joined the Army in 1979. 

During his 14 year career Steve served in Northern Ireland and Germany with his last posting in London, cooking for the Royal Engineers, providing his happiest memories. Within 18 months Steve was promoted to Lance Corporal then Corporal. It was, however, his initial posting to the Falkland Islands with the 3rd Royal Green Jackets that would be the most influential on his life after the army. 

I did a 6 month tour of duty in Northern Ireland and I saw a few things there that still affect me to this day.

Having been severely injured during his posting to the Falkland Islands he found that on returning to Civvy Street, in 1993 aged just 31, his biggest challenges in life were yet to come as a result of his traumatic experience.

Once back Scotland getting accommodation and jobs was extremely difficult.  Steve spent years in temporary accommodation, in addition depression was just one of the emotional problems he was experiencing.

After PTSD was first mentioned there came a long period of treatment from various sources until his GP suggested the Shoulder to Shoulder Erskine programme.  The mentor told him about the new Activity Centre soon to open.

This place is a godsend and I feel very comfortable. It’s like being back in the forces. We all speak the same language. I’m becoming more social and it’s given me confidence.

Steve remembers that day clearly: “At first I was shy, I didn’t talk to anyone, but in time everyone there helped bring me out of my shell. ERMAC has enabled me to do things I could never have done before. I produce the ERMAC newsletter/magazine. I am self-taught and I love doing it.  It keeps me occupied – at the moment I work on it a couple of hours each day. I am also in the photography group at the centre”.