North East regeneration specialists, RE:GEN Group have provided Army veteran Jack Harrison with the best possible start to help rebuild his life after donating a welcome pack for his flat in Newcastle.
Like Jack, around 90% of the veterans who arrive at Launchpad are homeless and turn up with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Jack, 24, arrived at Launchpad’s Avondale House on the Byker estate with only a bag of clothes and his toothbrush in his possession but, RE:GEN Group sponsored a welcome pack which has provided him with new bedding and towels, toiletries, cutlery and tins and packets of food.
Launchpad provides accommodation and targeted support, with the help of specialist partners, to UK Armed Forces veterans experiencing homelessness and unemployment and those who have struggled with the transition from the military into civilian life.
Jack, who originates from the North East, moved into the house in September after he was rough sleeping. Following in the footsteps of his brother and Grandad, he signed up to train as a driver with the Royal Logistic Corps and was based at Army Training Regiment Pirbright. He left training, by mutual consent, to build up his fitness and was sofa surfing at his sisters before moving out and being rendered homeless.
Jack was referred to Launchpad through The Forces Employment Charity and has since been working hard to build up his fitness and focus on his career options and move on, which he hopes to achieve in the new year. He is actively engaging with staff and residents and is participating in the England Boxing Veteran’s Project to improve his fitness.
Paul Flannigan, Director of People and Culture at RE:GEN Group presented the welcome pack to Jack in his flat and said:
“It’s sad to see someone like Jack, who has genuinely tried to make a good start in life end up homeless and unemployed.
“Launchpad is a brilliant charity providing vital accommodation and support to help veterans to move on to live independently.
“RE:GEN Group has been working on the Byker estate for the last few years and we wanted to give something back by supporting the charity and saying thank you to the veterans, like Jack, who need that little extra bit of support. Hopefully, this welcome pack goes someway to help provide the best possible start in his transition to moving on with his career and life.”
“I really didn’t know what to expect when I moved in. I literally turned up with a bag of clothes and that’s it so to move into a lovely, warm fully-furnished flat and then to receive this welcome pack from RE:GEN Group, it’s a godsend. All the costs and worry of moving in have been removed, which has helped me to settle in and focus on my future.
“I’m really grateful to Launchpad for providing me with a place I can call home – the staff and residents have all been really supportive.”
Jack hopes to continue to build up his fitness and eventually resume training with the Army but, he is also considering applying for a role with the Police.
Ann Rees, Specialist Veterans Case Worker at Launchpad’s Avondale House, said:
“When the veterans arrive at one of our houses, it can be really 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 Paul and RE:GEN Group for providing this welcome pack to Jack.”
Avondale House comprises 33 self-contained one-bedroom flats for former serving personnel and their partners. Launchpad has three houses in the North of England in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham providing accommodation for 101 homeless veterans – accepting veterans from all over the UK.