His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Sue Snowdon, attended Launchpad’s Hollyacre House in Sacriston on 12 October to officially open the house.
Mrs Snowdon unveiled a plaque and guests, partners and Trustees met staff and residents and had a tour of the house, which provides accommodation and support for veterans who have found the transition from the military to civilian life difficult.
Launchpad purchased the house from administrators in May after previous owners, Single Homeless: Action Initiative in Durham (SHAID) was placed into administration in February 2022. The agreement not only secured the future of the building, but it also enabled eight veterans to continue living at the house and safeguarded the jobs of four members of staff.
Launchpad provides vital accommodation and support for up to 100 veterans across three houses in the North of England and helps residents to make a successful transition. Hollyacre House accommodates up to 18 veterans in self-contained flats and includes communal facilities such as a lounge, kitchen, IT suite and gym. Residents are supported for up to two years (longer if necessary).
90% of the veterans who arrive at Launchpad are homeless and since 2013, over 575 veterans have been supported. On average over the last five years, 61% of residents successfully moved on while 41% gained employment during their time at Launchpad.
Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, Mrs Snowdon, said:
“The Armed Forces make an outstanding contribution to this country and deserve our support in helping them to successfully move on with their lives following the transition from military life into civilian life. I am delighted that Launchpad have acquired Hollyacre House, have secured the future of the building and can continue to provide much needed help and support for our veterans. I wish Launchpad well and every success for the future.”
David Shaw, CEO and Founder of Launchpad, commented:
“We are very grateful to the Lord-Lieutenant for visiting and officially opening our new house in County Durham. While most veterans make a successful transition, Launchpad provides vital accommodation and other expert support to those veterans who need a helping hand in order that they can stabilise and build more successful lives.
“Hollyacre House is the charity’s third veterans’ house in the North of England and although it has only been open a few months, the staff and residents are making great progress engaging with the local community and businesses across the County.
“We are already working with partners from housing, education, training and employment, mental health and wellbeing and community groups but if there are any other organisations that would like to get involved and support our veterans, we’d love to hear from them.”
In addition to Hollyacre House, Launchpad also manages Avondale House in Byker, Newcastle, which comprises 33 self-contained flats and Speke House in Liverpool, which comprises 50 flats for veterans.