Deane’s Story

“If I hadn’t reached out to Op FORTITUDE, I probably would be dead if not from suicide, then probably natural causes from sleeping out in the cold. Launchpad has been a saviour for me.”

Eleven days after his 16th birthday, Deane joined the Army in 1975 and served with the Grenadier Guards. Three months before completing his basic training, his Battalion was sent to Hong Kong so he finished the remainder of his training in Asia and stayed there for one year before completing four tours of Northern Ireland.

He worked his way through the ranks and became a Sergeant in 1987. When his service came to an end, he decided to leave the Army, get married and set up home.

His mental health was affected by his time served in Northern Ireland and he was later diagnosed with PTSD. Prior to his diagnosis, he sought help from his GP and said: “I just wanted someone to tell me what was wrong, the feelings and emotions that PTSD gave me had frightened me.”

Unfortunately, due to the severity of his PTSD, his marriage broke down and he ended up homeless.

He was sleeping rough in a tent in the woods for a couple of months, but it was his daughter who reached out to Op FORTITUDE who then referred him to Launchpad’s Speke House in Liverpool. He said: “I had no idea of who could help me or who to reach out to, it was an emotional event, being homeless and then hearing a caring voice on the phone.”

After arriving at Speke House, he initially wanted to gain employment but upon reflection, he acknowledges his mental health requires some attention. Deane has made great strides in his mental health recovery and it has taken him time to understand the depths of his PTSD and is working extremely hard to control this.

He is engaging well with all of the activities in and out of the house and is always keen to help staff with any projects. He said: “I embrace Speke House and all that it has to offer and I am now 90% better than I have ever been. From the games of bingo and days out to talking to Kate, it all helps for me.”

Before moving into Launchpad, Deane always struggled to budget but is now confident in this and knows that staff can support him should he struggle. He said: “I did not have a clue about paying bills, this is a new skill I have been able to learn.”

Deane has no family in the country and didn’t have any other places to reach out to. He feels this would have led him to go back onto the streets had he not found Launchpad. He said: “Everything was dependent on being given this opportunity, I had no plan B.”

He has been instrumental in his recovery path and his hard work is paying off. He is aware that his mental health is the most important focus to him at this time and he has been reflecting over the last couple of months and years of his life and does not want to return. He would eventually like the option to work again but knows this may take time.


Launchpad was selected by the government as one of nine funded organisations to reduce veterans’ homelessness. As part of a two-year £8.5 million programme, vulnerable veterans across the UK can access Op FORTITUDE, a dedicated pathway for veteran rough sleepers.

As part of the programme, Launchpad provides additional, sustained support to homeless veterans across its three houses in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham. In addition, Launchpad has partnered with Healthier Heroes CIC based in Burnley and together, we aim to support 230 veterans over the two years.

Following successful trials delivered for existing veterans, Launchpad will provide combined addiction and mental health psychotherapy services, intensive training and employment support, greater access to community activities and focussed support to help the veterans transition to live independently.