House building for veterans gets under way

Leading housing association Stonewater is working with Community Self Build Agency (now part of Alabaré, a leading UK provider of supported housing) and The Royal British Legion to deliver a long-awaited community build development at Waterworks Lane in Leominster, Herefordshire.

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Work on the innovative and exciting community housing development is underway, with plans to bring 19 brand-new homes to the area. The mixed development will consist of one to two-bedroom flats and one to three-bedroom houses, all available for affordable rent with a proportion of the properties allocated exclusively for ex-service personnel.

Stonewater’s Waterworks Lane project aims to demonstrate how organisations can work with local councils and charities to provide much-needed new homes to those that need them most, but in the process provide these individuals and their families with valuable and transferable skills that they can then bring into the workplace.

The project will see up to nine veterans, who will all receive training and support, working alongside Stonewater’s local contractor at the development. The veterans who work on the project will then be able to rent one of the homes upon completion.

This particular development will be one of those benefitting from the £224m of funding awarded by Homes England to their largest strategic partnership to date that will see Stonewater and Guinness Partnership build an additional 4,500 homes by 2020.

Matthew Crucefix, Assistant Director of Development (West), said: “At Stonewater our commitment to providing everyone with a place they can call home is at the core of everything we do. In Herefordshire, there is a large armed forces presence and so there is a constant need for veteran accommodation. We’re proud to lead the way alongside our community partners and show other organisations how important schemes like this are for the wider community. We hope to inspire others to take on similar projects in other areas of the country with similar challenges.”

Harper Group Construction Ltd, the local delivery contractor for the project, was appointed after the company showed it shared similar social responsibility values with Stonewater in its tender application, which even factored an onsite trainer specifically to support the veterans that would be on site.

Michael Harvey, Group Commercial Director of Harper Group Construction, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this prestigious local project.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the team at Stonewater to produce a high-quality development in addition to helping local veterans gain valuable experience within the construction industry.”

Councillor Barry Durkin, at Herefordshire Council, said: “We are committed to supporting local veterans across Herefordshire and this new self-build partnership with Stonewater and Alabaré is a great opportunity to provide more affordable housing for veterans. This scheme not only provides much needed homes but will also provide the veterans with the training and skills needed to not only help build their own homes and but hopefully also gain future employment.”

Major (Retired) Ken Hames MBE at Alabaré, said: “We’ve worked on similar projects in other parts of the country which, whilst challenging to get off the ground, really make a long-term difference. For the veterans fortunate enough to be part of the project they have a unique opportunity to gain the skills that could lead to long term employment, and the support to ultimately be able to live successful, independent lives once more. Together they will be creating a community that they can call home.”