KM Column - Lawson House - 4 April 2019
When I came back from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, I found it difficult to settle back into civilian life. After being so far from home and under such different circumstances, many of the communities I knew felt remote and isolated. It was tough, but I was lucky to have a strong family to turn to for support.
I know that I’m not the only veteran that felt that way but it becomes harder as people age. After risking their lives for our country, many older veterans feel isolated and could use support to re-engage with their former communities and help adapting to civilian life.
Rapport’s Chief Executive, Leon Steer, realised many older veterans were in this position and decided to do something about it. That’s why he, along with many others, created Lawson House in Larkfield, a brand-new block of flats for supported living that has 20 flats dedicated to housing veterans.
That’s why I was proud to be asked to officially open the new building. It is a wonderful place. Not only does it have the quality and space of a good hotel, it provides plenty of areas for residents to meet together, and all for an affordable rent.
I spoke to a few of the residents and found out the fantastic impact Lawson House has had on their lives. Bringing people together helps combat loneliness and support individuals whether veterans or civilians.
Making sure that veterans are made to feel part of our communities and neighbourhoods, at whatever age, and provide them with the support they deserve is essential. Lawson House is a wonderful example of what can be achieved, and I hope I see many more similar houses opening in the future.