Veterans’ charity Launchpad has welcomed two new significant appointments to its Liverpool team to extend and further strengthen its support to homeless veterans.

The charity, which provides accommodation and targeted support to UK Armed Forces’ veterans experiencing homelessness and unemployment, has welcomed Patrick Donaghue and Donna Thomson to Speke House in Liverpool.

Patrick has been appointed as an Employment and Training Specialist to support residents by gaining the necessary skills and training they need to secure employment. He will support up to 50 veterans at any one time, who are living at the house and seeking employment by engaging with training specialists, colleges, and corporate partners by matching their skills and supporting them into work.

He joins the charity from his previous role where he worked as a Mental Health Stepdown Recovery Worker supporting patients on their road to recovery and helping them to integrate back into society.

Donna has been appointed as an Independent Living Co-ordinator to support the residents once they have moved on from Speke House and to help them successfully transition to living independently. She joins Launchpad from her previous role where she worked as a Women’s Centre Support Coach/Keyworker for a housing association.

Donna has experience of working with vulnerable adults, supporting them by developing personalised action plans for long-term accommodation and resettlement and helping them to sustain and manage their finances, and explore education, training and employment opportunities.

At Speke House, she will be responsible for supporting Launchpad’s veterans by linking them with a variety of external partners and providers to support their needs, enabling them to thrive and avoid falling back on hard times. This tailored support will help them access the benefits they are entitled to as well as help them to manage their finances, secure their tenancy, gain support for their mental health issues and wellbeing, as well as encouraging them to find employment.

Donna’s role is being funded as part of the government’s Op FORTITUDE programme – a pathway to reduce veterans’ homelessness. Last year, Launchpad was selected by the government as one of nine funded organisations to reduce veterans’ homelessness. The programme will see Launchpad support 230 homeless veterans over two years from all three of its houses.

Sam Jackson, Manager of Launchpad’s Speke House, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Patrick and Donna to our growing team – these are both significant appointments for Speke House. They both bring with them the skills, knowledge and experience that will help to enhance our service delivery and the support we provide to our residents.

“We provide tailored support to each resident, focussing on three core pillars: mental health and wellbeing, employment and move on. Both Patrick and Donna’s roles will complement each other. Experience shows that once residents secure employment, it gives them something to focus on – some structure and stability. This then gives them the confidence to move and live independently which is our ultimate priority.”

Last year, Launchpad’s Speke House provided accommodation and support to 81 veterans. On average, over the last five years, 56% of veterans supported by Speke House have successfully moved on and 28% left in paid employment.

Speke House comprises 50 self-contained, one-bedroom flats for former serving personnel and their partners. Launchpad has three houses in the North of England in Liverpool, Newcastle and Durham providing accommodation for 101 homeless veterans – accepting veterans from all over the UK.

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