“Launchpad is worth its weight in gold. It has helped me massively and I feel I can now move on with my life. It has brought me out of my shell. I didn’t know what to expect when I first got here but when I came to have a look around, straight away I felt this has got to help me and it has.”
Straight after interviewing Antony for this case study, he was going to sign the paperwork for his own house. It’s been quite a journey for the 34-year old who served nine years in 2nd Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
Antony left school and became a father at the young age of 15. He was in and out of jobs doing labouring but nothing permanent. His friend was in The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and was doing well so he decided to follow in his footsteps. He signed up in 2008 and got married the following year. He spent four years in Cyprus and completed two tours of Afghanistan.
He never got injured but was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the second tour. The full medical board asked him to stay and work in logistics, aka ‘the stores’. Knowing he would never serve on the front-line again was tough to take in.
He returned to the UK with his family and relocated to Weeton Barracks in Preston. He received on-going treatment as his PTSD got worse and he was eventually medically discharged. His marriage also broke down as a result of PTSD and he stayed at his mum’s place in Liverpool for 18 months.
He applied for housing at South Liverpool Homes (SLH) but there was a three-year waiting list, which made it impossible for him to be housed. Here, he was referred to Launchpad’s Speke House who had a flat available and moved in in October 2018.
“When I first came here, I just kept myself to myself but as weeks went by, I started to get to know people and re-build my confidence. I was in a better place being here – spending time with people. When I was at my mam’s, I just stayed in the bedroom.
“The staff at Speke House have been excellent and have been there for me since day one. They’ve also helped me to claim the benefits I was entitled to including my Personal Independence Payment (PIP). I came here with nothing – I didn’t even have a kettle to have a brew. The furniture package from the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity was brilliant – it was a huge help. I can move into my new home and be comfortable and it’s good for my kids when they come to visit. People take things such as TV’s, curtains, towels, lamps and even blow-up beds for granted, but it means so much when you hit rock bottom.”
Antony used Launchpad as a stepping stone. Because he was in temporary accommodation, he was able to jump the waiting list by three-and-a-half-years and is now ready to live in his own home.
“I know Launchpad is always there for me if I need it but it’s time to move on and re-build my life. I’m going to try and ease myself back into work and hopefully resurrect my marriage. I’ve got four children – three little ones and my eldest, who is 18, has followed in my footsteps. He’s an infantry soldier based in Cyprus.”