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Self-Building Home Scheme Launched for War Veterans

A new project and the first of its kind in the UK will help military veterans construct their own homes to help them rejoin the local community much more easily.

St George’s Day Centre, which is located at George Place in Millbay, was recently transferred to DCH by the Plymouth City Council. It will serve as the future site for 12 self-built residences, with half of these to be constructed by the former servicemen.

Six more homes will also be built for people who have learning disabilities.

The scheme is the result of a collaboration between DCH, the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA), and Plymouth City Council, which received over £898,200 worth of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency. The city council provided an additional investment of £250,000.

Community Self Build Agency chair Stella Clarke stated that the goal of the new project is provide badly needed housing for veterans, assist them in overcoming some of the obstacles they encounter when attempting to find employment and housing, and making their reintegration into the local community go more smoothly.

Two similar projects have already been launched in Bristol by the CSBA. They helped 22 people construct their own homes, giving these individuals valuable employment skills while helping them cope with addiction and relationship issues.

Ms Clarke explained that many veterans are having a hard time coping with serious injuries, while others continue to struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Help for Heroes representative Kevin Bunt chose the former servicemen who would take part in the scheme. He said that the oldest participant is a 57-year-old veteran of the Falklands conflict and the youngest is 25 years old.

 

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Mr Bunt confirmed that the veterans come from a broad variety of armed conflicts -Afghanistan, the Falklands, Northern Ireland- and struggle with different types of disabilities. Some are amputees while others have serious mental health issues.

Chris Penberthy, Plymouth City Councillor, explained that the project would provide these veterans with the skills they need to adapt better to civilian life.

He added that 277 Plymouth households with a military connection are registered for one-bedroom homes on the city’s housing register. Out of these, 163 have a priority need for housing.

The University of the West of England is looking at the overall benefits of everything that has been achieved so far, with the possible goal of using them for a study. The university’s report will be researched and completed in the near future.

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