Over 130 guests attended a glittering black-tie celebratory dinner in Newcastle last week to celebrate Launchpad’s 10th anniversary.
The event, which was held last Friday at the Discovery Museum, was organised to celebrate the charity, which provides vital accommodation and support to veterans who have struggled with the transition from the military to civilian life.
Guests were entertained by The Sing United choir and an inspirational speech by Launchpad’s ambassador, James Rose. The evening concluded with a raffle and auction and over £6,000 was raised on the night.
Also in attendance was His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Ms Lucy Winskill OBE, the leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr. Nick Kemp plus many other corporate guests, key partners and suppliers the charity works with. Launchpad staff and residents were also in attendance who spoke to guests and told them of the support they have received from Launchpad.
Founded in 2013, 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.
The charity 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.
To date, over 635 veterans have been supported since 2013 and 139 residents were supported between July 2022 and end of June 2023. On average, over the last five years, 60% of residents successfully moved on from Launchpad to live independently and 32% gained employment during their time with Launchpad.
David Shaw, CEO of Launchpad, said:
“It was a wonderful evening and I’d like to thank our sponsors for enabling the event. The aim of the dinner was to bring our guests, staff and some of our residents from all three houses together to celebrate our anniversary. The venue, food and entertainment was all first class and my thanks go to them all, and organisers, for making it such a memorable occasion.”
Darush Dodds, Group Corporate Affairs Director for main event sponsor, Esh Construction, said:
“Launchpad’s 10th anniversary dinner provided an opportunity for service users, military colleagues, business and the third sector to come together to reflect, celebrate and raise money for a brilliant cause.
“Launchpad is much more than a charity; it provides safe, secure accommodation and other essential support to help veterans make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Men and women who have done so much for us and our country should never have to face huge challenges – such as homelessness, poverty, addiction and mental and physical health issues – alone.
“Esh has signed the Launchpad Pledge, and in line with our Gold Armed Forces ERS we will continue to support this, inspirational local charity.”
Chris Chennell, Regional Director for gold sponsor, Hydrock North East, said:
“We’re committed to being a force for good in the communities where we live and work.
“That’s why we are proud to be the Gold Sponsor of the Launchpad 10th Anniversary Dinner which has helped raise £6,000 for the massively important work the charity delivers to provide ongoing support to our veteran community in the North East and beyond.
“At Hydrock, we’ve a large community of exceptional employees who are ex-forces and have successfully navigated from military to civilian life and so Launchpad, in particular, has a special place in our heart.”