Work is due to start on a project in which veterans in Plymouth can build their own homes. The project aims to house ex-service personnel and provide training and skills to help them get back into work.
A new partnership between the Community Self Build Agency, DCH and Plymouth City Council, will provide 24 affordable homes in the city. Included in the scheme will be at least 12 custom build homes for ex-service personnel and six homes for people with learning disabilities. Veterans will also receive construction training and skills.
The Community Self Build Agency will coordinate the skills, training, support and mentoring that those taking part will need. Local armed forces charities including Help for Heroes, The Hasler Company (Drake Barracks), SSAFA and Royal British Legion are being approached to help involve any vulnerable ex-service personnel in Plymouth who need housing and are interested in training and skills to build their own homes and gain future employment.
Stella Clarke, Chair of the Community Self Build Agency, said: “The aim of the project is to provide homes for veterans and also help overcome some of the barriers they may face when trying to access housing and employment, and make it easier for them to integrate back into the local community.
“We’ve done a similar scheme in Bristol and it can be really hard for people leaving the armed forces to get back into normal, everyday life, especially as many are young when they join the army. Some people really struggle, and obviously some have very bad injuries, while many will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives, Housing and Community Safety for Plymouth City Council, said: “This is a fantastic project and we are delighted that Plymouth has been chosen to take part. We have such strong military links in the city as well as a need for more affordable housing, and this scheme helps address both needs. The Council is also one of the partners in the Community Covenant which supports the families of local military personnel, and this initiative will compliment that work.
“It’s really important that we do all we can to help integrate ex-service personnel back into the community, and help equip them with the skills to adjust back to civilian life. There are 277 households in Plymouth with an armed forces background registered for one bedroom accommodation on Plymouth’s housing register, and 163 have a priority housing need.
“By working and becoming involved on this project along with local builders and educators, people will be able to improve their prospects and quality of life and obtain a new home.
“We are very pleased as a Council to be able to work with the Community Self Build Agency and DCH to bring this project to fruition.”
Gareth Jones Development Director for Affordable Housing at DCH said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners on such a flagship scheme for Plymouth, supporting the further regeneration of Plymouth. The project will provide much needed housing for a wide range of people and will also offer something unique and special, where during the construction period ex-service personnel will have the opportunity to train and build on the scheme supported by the Community Self Build Association. We are proud to be instrumental in bringing forward high quality build and a design which focuses on the wellbeing of residents making it an exemplar project.”
The project is due to start in Spring 2015 with a view to completion by April 2016.