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Speke-Garston Councillors award funding so veterans have presents to open on Christmas Day

Ward Councillors from Speke-Garston have donated £730 to Launchpad’s Speke House to ensure resident veterans living at the scheme have at least something to open on Christmas Day.

After receiving a similar donation last year, staff from Launchpad applied for the funding from the Mayoral Neighbourhood Fund – a community pot of £1m which is divided between wards and allows local councillors to choose what project and activities to invest in.

Cllr. Doreen Knight, Cllr. Leon Tootle and Cllr. and Deputy Lord Mayor Mary Rasmussen, granted permission for the funds to be awarded to Launchpad to purchase Christmas presents for all 48 veterans living at the scheme.

Without this funding, some of the residents may have woken up on Christmas morning with nothing but, thanks to their generosity, they will each receive a present including boxed sets of deodorants, shower gels, boxes of chocolates, socks and diaries.

In addition, residents will also receive hampers to ensure they don’t go hungry over the Christmas period.

Cllr Tootle said:

“As councillors, we are aware of immense contribution that all veterans have made in serving our country. It is a privilege to provide support to an organisation that supports these veterans and assists with what might be a challenging transition between military to civilian life.”

Natalie Scully, Assistant Manager (Projects) at Speke House, said:

“We are very grateful to our local councillors for supporting and providing this funding to the veteran residents living at Speke House. Many of our residents won’t spend time with their families and loved ones this Christmas and may feel lonely and isolated. Having something to open on Christmas morning will mean the world to them so thank you.”

Launchpad’s Speke House is the city’s largest veterans’ accommodation in Liverpool and provides safe, secure accommodation and other essential support to 48 veterans to help them make a successful transition to civilian life.

Since it was founded in 2013, Launchpad, which also has Avondale House in Newcastle upon Tyne, has supported almost 500 homeless veterans.

In a typical year, 69% of residents living at Launchpad successfully move on to settled accommodation and 42% leave in paid employment. This year, those numbers have fallen due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as employment opportunities are harder to find and recovery rates have slowed due to difficulties in getting veterans the support they need.

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