Launched two years ago, Simon Weston House has been a place of rest and recoupment for veterans who have left prison and have had nowhere to go.
It was Care after Combat’s intention to have veterans live there while they ‘caught their breath’, before moving on; however, it became clear that some of the veterans thought, “wow, this’ll do me”.
Care after Combat CEO, Jim Davidson OBE said: “The idea was always for Simon Weston House to be a stepping stone back to normality for our veterans, but some didn’t see it like that.
“We quickly adapted the license that veterans had to sign to stay there. They could stay for 28 days if they were looking for work, working, or training for work. They also had the responsibility of paying their housing allowance as rent. This started to work, along with the hard work by Care after Combat’s Deputy Head of Projects, Sam Cook and his army of mentors.
“Such was their success that many moved into permanent accommodation with worthwhile jobs. None of the residents who stayed at Simon Weston House over the two years have re-offended.”
The problem came with a lack of veterans who were eligible to stay there. Jim continued: “We asked other charities and even advertised in local papers and on social media. We could not find enough homeless veterans to fill it up. It was very expensive to run, and when half full was a real drain on our hard to come by money.
“Libor funds helped enormously, but there is no more of that. We have received no funding from Hampshire or Southampton City Council.”
The two-year lease on Simon Weston House ran out last week and the decision has been made by Care after Combat to divert what money we have, to help veterans who have drug and drink problems, by investing in the Burton Addiction Clinic, based in Burton upon Trent.
Jim concluded: “I would like to thank Pete Scrancher for his help and patience.