Staff and veteran residents from all three houses have been busy this week finalising preparations for Remembrance Sunday.
Since July, Speke House residents and staff have been collecting, cutting and painting the bottoms of plastic bottles to make a poppy wall, which is now a prominent feature in the garden at the house.
The materials were kindly supplied by property services company Bell Group, who have been working with the house over the last few months and the end result is fantastic.
In addition, staff and residents spent an afternoon helping to put the finishing touches to the cenotaph and cleaning the Commonwealth gravestones at St. Aiden with All Saints Church in Speke.
Jan Buckley, Activities Co-ordinator at Launchpad’s Speke House, said:
“This week is really poignant for our veterans and we wanted to engage with the local community and in activities they will remember. They’ve really enjoyed spending time decorating the bottles and creating the poppy wall and getting outdoors to help clean around the church. This is a commitment we make every year in the lead up to Remembrance Sunday and our residents and staff are very proud of Speke and the local community.”
The charity received funding of £400 from Byker Community Trust (BCT), part of Karbon Homes, through the BCT Community Partnership Fund to contribute towards the costs of the materials needed for the activity, such as the clay, paint and brushes.
Sam Hughes, Assistant Manager – Projects at Launchpad’s Avondale House visited Byker Primary School to talk to pupils about the importance of Remembrance Day and explain why we remember those who served and honour armed forces members who have died in the line of duty. The pupils were also invited to write messages about what Remembrance Day means to them and to use them to create a wreath.
Teachers, pupils, Launchpad staff and residents and corporate partners were all invited to attend a special Remembrance Day service held at St Lawrence’s Catholic Church yesterday morning (Friday, 10 November).
During the service, Father Jonathon Bowes invited all the children present to come to the front of the church and lay down their poppies.
“This is the third year we have engaged with Byker Primary School, and the first time we have engaged with St. Lawrence’s RC Primary School. Remembrance Day is such a significant day in our calendar of events and it is important for the children to learn about what Remembrance Day is, the significance of the poppy, why we fall silent at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month and what this means to armed forces personnel.
“The feedback we get (from the pupils, teachers and the school) is always positive and they learn so much from it. After the service, we invited all pupils back to Avondale House for a buffet and an opportunity for them to have a look around the house and meet some of the staff and residents.”
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.