“The staff treat me with respect and are all very pleasant. It’s a really nice place to live and I’m so grateful to Launchpad.”
For years, Tom was stuck in a life of crime and admitted he needed to change his ways so he visited his local Army Careers office, filled in the necessary application form and never looked back.
He successfully completed 14-weeks basic training at the Army Training Centre in Pirbright followed by 4-weeks advanced training. He passed out first time and joined the Household Cavalry where he was based at Combermere Barracks in Windsor where he completed 12-weeks riding school. He was eventually based at Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge and said his proudest moments were participating in Trooping of the Colour (twice) and the Musical Ride.
Tom served for three years and when he left, he secured various jobs including working for a company who manufactured doors, he helped to run a pub with his now ex-partner and worked for DHL driving forklift trucks to supply parts to the production lines at Jaguar Land Rover.
He found the transition to civilian life difficult and turned to cocaine to cope with certain events that happened in his life, especially his childhood. He struggled to make and keep friends and felt he couldn’t trust people.
After 10 years of substance abuse, he got referred to Tom Harrison House, that runs a specialist addiction recovery programme, to deal with his addiction as he knew he had a problem and needed to face his issues. He graduated from Tom Harrison House after completing a three-month rehab and is now 11 months clean and proud.
When he moved out of Tom Harrison House, he became homeless and knew he needed to move away from the environment he was in and acknowledged he needed to break the cycle. So he moved to Derby but, things didn’t work out and he became homeless again.
He contacted Project Nova who referred him to Launchpad’s Hollyacre House in Durham. He said: “Once I knew I had been accepted by Launchpad, I became less worried but the anxiety was still there, if not worse, because I don’t like change but when I arrived, the staff put me at ease and were very welcoming. I felt I could relax more and my guard slowly dropped. Since moving in, my mental health has improved and I feel a lot better in myself.”
Tom has been living at Hollyacre House for two months now and has settled in well. He continued: “Life is a lot brighter for me, the staff are hands off but always here if I need them and very approachable. They have helped me with things like benefits and have referred me to external services to support my mental health.”
When he moved in, he was provided with a furniture pack via ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, to give him a head start in rebuilding his life. The only possessions he arrived with was a coffee table and a wide selection of DVD’s and games. He received support with his Personal Independent Payment (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and as he has no family, his pet Beagle, Mabel, is his number one companion.
“The staff treat me with respect and are all very pleasant and understanding. They allocated me a ground floor flat because they knew I had problems with my shins and the furniture pack was excellent as it gave me a good start. Things like this has put me at ease as it’s one less thing to worry about.
“It really is a great place to live and it’s so quiet away from the city. It has helped me to stay clean and I can take Mabel out for walks which helps me with my mental health. I feel settled and want to stay here until I feel ready to move on.”