The Beacon is a housing project in Catterick designed to house homeless or at-risk single Veterans and Service Leavers. It also provides support to facilitate their move-on into permanent housign in the area of their choice. I spent the morning speaking with both management and also several Veterans about their experiences.
The Beacon contains 31 self-contained flats and tennants can remain there for up to 18 months. During that time the staff at the Beacon work with Veterans to help them back onto a path to sustainable housing and hopefully employment or further education.The team also work with service personnel in tackling any health issues (especially related to mental illness like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and provide general support for transition to civilian life. The team have a great record in tackling complex issues facing Veterans and helping back on the path to security, stability and prosperity.
This is unique servie providing vital help to ex-service personnel. SAFES (the umbrella organisation that oversees the Beacon) estimates it has helped over 13,000 people find accommodation since being set up.
At the Beacon, I spent time with several Service Leavers and Veterans to hear their experiences. Most had not come directly to the Beacon from leaving the forces but were introudced to the institution many years later. It was clear from their stories that tackling various issues facing service leavers is a complex problem and one that requires a holistic approach. It was pleasing to see all were on the path to permanent housing and security of further training or employment. One of the guys was about to start his own security business which was particularly encouraging.