Speke House strengthens mental health service support to veteran residents

Liverpool’s largest veterans’ accommodation provider has strengthened its team with the appointment of a specialist case worker.

Kate Riley has been appointed at Launchpad’s Speke House to help residents living at the scheme to overcome mental health, gambling, drug and alcohol issues and to move them on to stable and independent lives.

She will be based full-time at the house, which provides safe and secure accommodation and other essential support to 48 veterans to help them make a successful transition to civilian life.

Many of the residents living at Speke House have mental health issues, ranging from anxiety to service and non-service-related PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Some need help with addictions to alcohol and drugs.

Prior to Covid-19, residents accessed face-to-face mental health support, but since lockdown in March, waiting lists have increased and certain providers are now only offering support via telephone or video.

Kate joins Launchpad after working for three years as a prison officer at Altcourse Prison working with young offenders and adult males who had a range of needs including mental health, drug and alcohol additions. She has also worked within a high secure mental health service for 16 years.

Commenting on her appointment, Kate, from Bootle in Liverpool, said:

  1. “I have years of experience working in similar roles with vulnerable people who had addictions, encouraging them to successfully rehabilitate.
  2. “I motivate individuals to do what’s best for themselves and others around them. I work with them to respect the help and advice we offer and this is something I want to do while working with the veteran residents here at Speke House.”

Sam Jackson, Manager at Speak House, said:

“This is a really great appointment and Kate has a lot of experience that will help our residents with their addictions and mental health issues.

“The impact Covid-19 has had on our residents has affected their mental health and wellbeing. Our residents need face-to-face contact and support while those receiving online and telephone support said they spoke to a different person each time and there was no continuity of treatment.

“In the past, we have worked with partners to deliver this service on our behalf but only a handful of residents could access the service. By bringing Kate on board full time, it means all residents can access this vitally important service.”

Funding was secured from various partnering organisations such as the Steve Morgan Foundation, The Edward Gostling Foundation and Medicash, all of whom have contributed towards creating this full time role.

Since 2013, the charity, which also has a house in Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne, has supported almost 500 veterans. In a typical year, 69% successfully move on to settled accommodation and 42% leave in paid employment.

Last year, those numbers had fallen due to the Covid-19 pandemic, as employment opportunities were harder to find and recovery rates slowed due to difficulties in getting veterans the support they needed from partner organisations.

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