New bedding and towels, toiletries, cutlery and tins and packets of food are just some of the essential items homeless veterans receive when they first move into their flats at Hollyacre House in Durham.
Funding for the packs has been granted by the Trustees of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, that provides lifetime support to soldiers, veterans and their immediate families.
Around 90% of the veterans who arrive at Launchpad are homeless and turn up with nothing but the clothes on their backs, so the packs are a welcome boost to residents.
The charity provides vital accommodation and support for up to 100 veterans across three houses in the North of England and helps residents to transition from military to civilian life.
Launchpad acquired Hollyacre House in May and comprises 18 flats and communal facilities such as a lounge, kitchen, IT suite and gym. Residents are supported for up to two years (longer if necessary).
Phil Thompson, Manager of Hollyacre House, said: “Every veteran who walks through that front door has different experiences and backgrounds however, most have been referred to Launchpad because they are homeless or sofa surfing and need a safe place to live.
“It can be very daunting for them, so we try to make them feel at ease and give them the best start possible to help them on their journey to transition to civilian life. Everyday items we take for granted mean a lot to our residents so we are very grateful to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity for continuing to support our charity and veterans.”
One resident commented, “I wasn’t expecting to receive this much help and on-going support from the staff. I was given items such as toiletries, towels, bedding and kitchen supplies such as cutlery, a fridge, microwave and more. Having been given these items meant that I only had to worry about food shopping and paying for my own electric. It’s been completely stress free.”
Another resident said: “From the day of moving in, I was surprised and delighted to see the amount of toiletries, bedding and towels. This was such a massive help and a weight off my shoulders. I couldn’t be more appreciative of what Launchpad and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity has done for myself.”
Brigadier (Ret’d) Peter Monteith, Chief of Staff at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, added: “We are always proud to support Launchpad and admire its award-winning work with Army veterans who find themselves homeless and vulnerable, and need specialist support. We are committed to helping all members of the Army family.”
Launchpad purchased Hollyacre Centre on Front Street, Sacriston from administrators, after Single Homeless: Action Initiative in Durham (SHAID) was placed into administration earlier this year, securing the future of eight veterans and saving four jobs.