There’s a vast difference between a shelter and a home. A home is where we feel safe, secure and nurtured – yes, a place to keep out the cold and rain, but also one that lights the fire that drives out darkness. Launchpad Reading’s mission is to provide more than shelter: they provide a home.
Launchpad Reading provides housing with support to 111 people who have a history of homelessness, as well as support services to a further 200 people in their own accommodation. Launchpad also focuses on the conditions that so often surround or compound homelessness; such as mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse, poor nutrition and unemployment. It also helps those impacted by homelessness: helping to repair fractured relationships between Launchpad clients and their loved-ones.
Reading is home to Microsoft UK HQ, and we wanted to do something for a local charity. Launchpad have been in Reading a little longer than we have, helping some of the town’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people turn their lives around. It is this that makes Launchpad Reading such a perfect partner for Microsoft in our global initiative, Upgrade your World. This year-long project celebrates people and organisations doing great things, including partnerships with 10 global and 100 local charities, 10 of which are in the UK. Each charity will receive $50,000(roughly £33,000).
Launchpad Reading is looking to use this funding to support digital inclusion work with their clients; for example, by making Wi-Fi available within their accommodation and at the Launchpad offices. “While many people take access to the internet for granted, its role in the lives of our clients is truly transformational.” says Ian Caren, Launchpad Reading CEO. “It allows them to search for jobs, learn new skills, find vital health information, and connect with a support network they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.”
At Microsoft, we’re passionate about empowering people, something which is clearly at the heart of Launchpad’s work too. “Launchpad sees the potential in people, and provide tailored support to help them build better futures. It’s inspiring work by a dedicated team, and we’re excited about what our support will enable Launchpad to do.” – Hugh Milward, Director, Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Ltd.