Wednesday, 4 June 2014

AFV-Launchpad receives £171k grant from the Big Lottery Fund

It is with great pleasure that the AF&V charity, AFV Launchpad, took receipt of a cheque for £ 171,288 from the Big Lottery Fund today. AFV Launchpad helps those vulnerable armed forces veterans returning to civilian live in Newcastle.

While in uniform, support for servicemen and women includes planning for accommodation and job search, however, all support ceases once they have left the Forces. Those who leave early may have only had a month or two with the Forces after leaving school and so are unprepared to find employment, accommodation. Older veterans have become dependent on the Forces providing them with meals, accommodation, clothing and financial budgeting. Many are slow to plan for leaving and don’t take full advantage of the support while it is offered when they are still in uniform.

AF&V Launchpad supports such veterans. The charity offers accommodation at Avondale House on the Byker Estate reserved solely for veterans and their partners where they are offered training, work placements and job search skills. They are also offered skills in cooking, welfare, benefits, GP and dentist registration, financial management and developing social networks through sport and volunteering.

David Shaw, Chairman of AF&V Launchpad, said: “The Big Lottery Fund grant that Armed Forces' & Veterans' Launchpad has just been given is hugely important - it enables the charity to pay for the manager of Avondale House in Newcastle for the next five years as well as provide some much-needed training facilities.  Through close partnership with the Byker Community Trust, Launchpad has provided 34 refurbished flats to veterans of the armed forces and their partners in Newcastle, in Avondale House, on the Byker Estate.

“The new manager will run the house, developing good connections with partner organisations, ensuring the house is full of residents, helping the residents with financial and social matters, as well as ensuring the infrastructure is well maintained.  Working with other organisations in the public, private and third sectors, the new manager will assist the veterans in finding permanent jobs and accommodation. Veterans will also receive training to ensure they stand as good a chance of finding jobs as they can.

“Since opening in August 2013, over 40 veterans have used, or are using, the facilities and assistance provide by Launchpad through Avondale House. Given that about 10 per cent of members of the armed forces come from the North East and then return home there, and given the number of applicants Launchpad has already experienced, there is no doubt that many veterans will benefit from this project in the future.  As a consequence of the creation of Launchpad and thanks to Big Lottery funding, fewer veterans in the North East will suffer homelessness, unemployment and social exclusion.”

For more information visit the AFV Launchpad website

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