Royal Air Force veterans living at Launchpad’s Avondale House in Byker, Newcastle, have secured paid employment thanks to a national grant from the RAF Benevolent Fund…

Veterans’ charity Launchpad applied for funding through the RAF Benevolent Fund to continue to provide accommodation and support with the assistance of specialist providers, to help veterans stabilise their lives and make a successful transition from military to civilian life.

Now in its 100th year, the RAF Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s welfare charity providing a range of support aimed at serving and former RAF personnel and their families across the UK and overseas. This includes welfare breaks and financial assistance to help veterans live independently.

Last year, Launchpad applied and successfully received a grant for £7,500, which was awarded towards the costs of providing care for RAF veterans living at Avondale House. Throughout the year, the funding contributed towards supporting the veterans by providing accommodation and tailored support for health and wellbeing, training and employment.

Each veteran was allocated a support worker who helped them with advice and signposted them to the various support agencies available across the city, helping to stabilise their lives and become more independent. The veterans secured paid employment and moved out of Avondale House into stable accommodation.

Phil Thompson, Manager of Avondale House, said: “Launchpad costs £650,000 per year or £5,400 per veteran to run so we rely on income in the way of grants and contributions from businesses and individuals that fundraise and donate to help us to deliver the service we do.

“Here at Avondale House in Byker, we have 32 flats with 100% occupancy levels so we are very grateful and acknowledge the grant that was provided by the RAF Benevolent Fund to help our RAF veterans. The grant contributes towards the running costs and for our staff to provide targeted support each veteran needs to become independent and the veterans very much appreciated the generous support the RAF Benevolent Fund provided them.”

Pete Ashcroft, Welfare Projects Manager for the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Avondale House provides invaluable support for RAF veterans living in the Newcastle area and struggling with the transition from service to civilian life.

“As the RAF Benevolent Fund marks its centenary year, we are launching a campaign to reach even more RAF veterans in need who may not know they are eligible for support. Working with charities like Launchpad enables the Fund to provide that support in all areas of the country.”