AF&V Launchpad

664. David Shaw (Edinburgh)
665. Kenneth McMillan (Dunoon)

David Shaw CBE and Ken McMillan MBE, who have already been recognised by the Queen for their military service, are army veterans who are passionate about supporting those who have also left the forces.

They created ‘AF&V Launchpad’ to help veterans struggling to make the transition to civilian life to find a home and gain the skills necessary to find a good job. They run two supported living centres in Newcastle and Liverpool, with 34 and 52 one-bedroom units respectively. Veterans can stay for up to two years and are able to access a wide range of training courses during that time including CV writing sessions and debt management support.

In personal letters to David and Ken, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“You have given so much to this country through your service with our armed forces. It is inspirational that you have gone on to support your fellow veterans with ‘AF&V Launchpad’. The transition to civilian life can be a challenging one, but your important work is giving service men and women in need the opportunity to create rewarding and fulfilling lives for themselves after their military careers.”

David said:

I am delighted to accept this Point of Light Award in recognition of what the whole Launchpad team, past and present, does to help those of our armed forces’ veterans who are in need.  My thanks also goes to all the organisations and numerous individuals who have helped and funded the charity; I implore them to continue providing their support so we can help other veterans with complex issues re-establish successful and independent lives.”

Ken said:

I feel very humbled, privileged and honoured to receive the Prime Minister’s Point of Light Award.  Although the majority of the Armed Forces leave the services with life enhancing skills, some veterans find it difficult to transition to civilian life and as such, can fall into a spiral of despair.  This often results in homelessness, criminality and substance misuse. Some suffer with PTSD, relationship issues or adjustment disorders and simply cannot integrate with their civilian counterparts.  The ‘team of teams’ that is ‘Launchpad’ attempts to address these complex issues.  Without the sterling support of ABF – The Soldiers Charity, the Big Lottery Fund, the LIBOR Fund and most importantly, our dedicated staff and Trustees, we would not have been able to help the hundreds of veterans that have benefited from a safe place to deal with their issues since August 2013.  As Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going!”  For some veterans it’s a long, hard slog, and we at Launchpad aim to help them get through it.

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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