Shaun has benefitted hugely from Launchpad not only by living at Avondale House but he has also secured employment with the charity too.
“Without Launchpad, I would have probably been still out on the streets. Now, I’ve got my identity back and a future to look forward to”, said Shaun.
From a very young age, he always knew he wanted to join the Army. The 41-year-old served 11 years in The Parachute Regiment covering five tours in Northern Ireland and single tours in Macedonia, Kosovo and Iraq as part of the invasion. He joined the British Army in 1994 and served until 2005 when he felt ready to leave.
He went back to his hometown of Alnwick in Northumberland and applied for housing but was refused because he ‘left the area and gave up his entitlement to live in the town’. He applied for housing in other local authority areas but was faced with the same problem and ended up living on the streets.
“That was really tough. I was homeless for over four years and felt punished for leaving my hometown. I couldn’t see a way out and thought this was it for the rest of my life until one day, I met up with an old friend who was living at Avondale House. He suggested I contacted the office to see if they had any flats available. Within a month, I had my own apartment, a roof over my head and a safe place to live.”
Launchpad provided Shaun with accommodation and access to a support network to help him rebuild his life. “I moved into Avondale House back in December 2016. I literally had nothing – just a bag and a rucksack of clothes and that was it. Without Launchpad, I would definitely be still living on the streets and who knows where I might have ended up.”
Shaun is a handyman – always willing to volunteer and help staff around the house. When the cleaner and gardener left, the charity re-structured their roles and advertised a new position. He applied for the job and was successful and is now living on site and working 26.5 hours per week.
“Launchpad has done exactly what it said it would do. When I was homeless, I felt like a nobody, now I feel on top of the world. I’ve got a fully furnished flat, a car, clothing and a job with steady income.
My role is to do general maintenance and odd jobs that need doing around the house, decorating, turning the flats round ready for the next resident to move in, look after the garden. I really enjoy it and I’ve got a good rapport with all the residents. I’ve worked on building sites, in factories and struggled to hold jobs down but this job gives me enjoyment and security. I don’t begrudge getting out of bed on a morning because I’m motivated by the work.”
Simon Lock, Manager of Avondale House, said: “Our role here at the Charity is to provide tailored support to all residents to help them transition successfully to civilian life. Some, more than others, embrace that and Shaun is a perfect example of this. He saw an opportunity to go above and beyond, demonstrating he wanted to change and improve his life and volunteered to help around the house. When a job opportunity came up, he grasped it and has never looked back. He is a great asset not only to the house and my staff but to all our residents too.”