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Liverpool veterans set up cycling club

Veteran residents living at Launchpad’s Speke House in Liverpool are looking forward to getting outdoors and keeping fit this summer after establishing their own cycling club.

The club will help residents to combat challenging mental health and improve their wellbeing through physical activity and provide greater opportunities to socialise.

Staff and residents will be organising bike rides throughout the year to encourage residents to get outdoors and keep active and they are also hoping to raise money for the charity by cycling the Coast-to-Coast route.

To get them on their way, Launchpad has purchased bikes, storage units, clothing and equipment thanks to a donation of £9,100 by the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS).

The funding is part of its annual Big Salute campaign, which raises money to benefit members of the armed forces’ community and their families. Launchpad is one of eleven charities that has been successful in applying to the latest round of funding.

Monies are raised and donated through activities undertaken by their audiences as well as BFBS staff. The Big Salute is supported by BFBS Trustees and by the forces’ community through fundraising events in the UK and abroad.

Nicky Ness, Director of Broadcasting and Entertainment, BFBS, said:

“Every year, the Big Salute supports armed forces’ charities with grants to fund a huge variety of projects, many of which have helped to connect veterans and communities together. The pandemic has reduced the opportunities for socialising and physical activities, so we are thrilled that this grant will enable more veterans to enjoy cycling to help boost their overall physical and mental wellbeing.”

Sam Jackson, Manager at Speke House, said:

“This funding will make an enormous difference to the veterans at Speke House, especially after such a long period of lockdown when they have been unable to support each other in their recovery and exercise freely. As lockdown eases and the weather improves, it will be fantastic for them to get outdoors on their bikes to socialise and improve their mental health and wellbeing.”

Speke House opened in 2015 and is the city’s largest veterans’ accommodation providing 48 self-contained flats and communal areas. 85% of the residents that arrive at Launchpad are homeless and the charity provides accommodation and support, through the assistance of specialist providers, to help residents successfully transition back into civilian life.

Last year, Speke House supported 71 previously homeless veterans. 61% of those successfully move on to settled accommodation and 28% left in paid employment.

More information on the Big Salute is here www.bfbs.com/bigsalute

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