“I’m very grateful to Launchpad. Not only have they provided me with a roof over my head, they’ve also supported me in securing employment which will enable me to support my young family.”
Anthony left school at the age of 16 and opted for a career in the Army. He signed up in 2001 and attended the Army Foundation Centre in Harrogate where he completed his initial 32 weeks of training to become an infantry soldier. He then spent 8 weeks at Catterick and worked as a private in the recruitment team as he was still too young to serve.
In 2002, he was posted to Ballykelly in Northern Ireland and spent six months patrolling before moving to Beachley Barracks in Chepstow with the Green Howards, now known as the Yorkshire Regiment. He was discharged in 2005 after he decided to leave the Army to pursue a different career.
He secured employment working in construction and scaffolding and has spent the last seven years as an HGV driver. Following a breakdown in his relationship, he found himself homeless and referred himself to the council’s homeless team but they couldn’t find suitable accommodation.
His brother is also ex-Army and suggested he contacted the Royal British Legion who referred him to Launchpad.
He said: “I split up with my ex-partner but as the house was only in her name, I became homeless and had nowhere to go. I applied for housing and soon after, I was offered accommodation with Launchpad.
“The flat is excellent and has given me everything that I need. My ex-partner is pregnant, and I want to be able to support her and the baby, so my intention was always to find employment as soon as possible and Launchpad has supported me to achieve this.”
Anothony sent over 200 CVs to potential employers but couldn’t secure work. After speaking to some friends who worked on wind turbines, he contacted AIS Survivex in North Shields and secured funding through Greenskills. After an initial assessment, he was accepted onto a course to undertake training work on wind turbines which he completed successfully. The company has now offered him a contract to work on wind turbines in North America.
Anthony said: “Launchpad has helped me massively. They’ve provided me with the funding to be able to get through the Tyne Tunnel so I could attend the four-week training course as well as a grant towards my petrol expenses. They also provided me with a loan so I could set up a Private Limited Company and get sufficient Public Liability Insurance.
“I appreciate Launchpad’s support to help me go on this training. I needed expenses for the Tyne Tunnel charges, which I couldn’t afford. Launchpad offered me the money to help support my training plan and I would certainly say that having this accommodation to come to in my time of need has been excellent for me.”
He continued: “Launchpad has given me peace of mind. Just knowing I’ve got somewhere to be able to put my head down. Although I’ve only been living at Hollyacre House for a few weeks, it’s given me time to gather my thoughts and get back to where I used to be. The staff have been very supportive and have helped me to gain my confidence. I’ve started to feel myself again and my goal is to be able to reconnect with my son and daughter who live in Australia, my 6-year-old daughter who lives in the North East and my new daughter who is due in August. It will be difficult living and working in another country, but I know this work will enable me to support my children and provide for their futures.”