A charity is urging veterans across Waltham Forest, Redbridge and Epping Forest who are struggling with mental or physical health conditions to come forward.

Employment charity The Poppy Factory helps wounded, injured and sick veterans back into sustained and meaningful work in their communities.

It is particularly concerned for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the run up to the busy festive season.

According to a recent YouGov poll, 41 per cent of Londoners felt that having a paid job is important for those with mental health challenges during Christmas.

Former Royal Marine Casper works as a maintenance manager and has reached out to The Poppy Factory for support with dealing with his PTSD.

He said: “My post-traumatic stress disorder is related to something that happened to me while II was in the military.

“A couple of years after I came out I was finding things a bit difficult, and I was sent to a psychiatrist who said I had PTSD. I didn’t even know what it was at the time.

“I went to a number of organisations for help before I found Tom at The Poppy Factory.

“Tom managed my expectations and didn’t promise too much. You have to put in the work yourself, and I found the more work I put in, the more Tom was able to help me as well.”

Deirdre Mills, chief executive of The Poppy Factory, said: “We know from experience that those who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder can find it very challenging to stay in a job.

“But with the right support over the long term, they often become the most dedicated, passionate and successful workers.”

To find out how the charity can help, visit www.poppyfactory.org.