Homes to be self-built by military veterans in Plymouth
Work has started on the Stirling Project, Plymouth’s latest veterans self-build scheme.
Based on the site of a former residential care home on Honicknowle Green, the project will see eight previously homeless veterans involved in the construction of 25 self-contained affordable homes to rent.
The start on site has been made possible through a partnership between the Plymouth City Council, housing association and Homes for the South West member, LiveWest, and veterans’ charity Alabaré, who in 2019 merged with the Community Self Build Agency.
Taking inspiration from the successful Nelson Project, 12 of the new homes will be built, and lived in, by former service personnel who have been previously homeless or are in need of housing.
During the course of the build, the veterans will earn construction qualifications and skills which will help them gain employment once the project is complete.
The Alabaré team specialise in providing support to the veterans throughout the project to help them rebuild their self-esteem, mental health and wellbeing, enabling them to live successful, independent civilian lives in the new homes they have built. The support provided by Alabaré has been funded thanks to a grant from Plymouth City Council.
Adrian, a veteran who has joined the Stirling House Alabaré Veterans Self-Build team, said: “This is a unique opportunity for me to learn new skills and to have a fresh start and to seek new challenges ahead.”
Councillor Vivien Pengelly, Cabinet member for Home and Communities, said: “We are so proud to be able to support this the Stirling Project, Plymouth second veteran’s self-build project.
“Plymouth is a service city and we owe so much of the character and vibrancy that we have in the city to the many former and serving military personnel who live here which is why it’s so important we deliver to help those who have served their country through projects such as these.”
“I look forward to watching the project and individual veterans go from strength to strength as the project progresses.”
Russell Baldwinson, Executive Director of Development for LiveWest, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners on such a flagship scheme for Plymouth, supporting the further regeneration of the city.
“The Stirling House 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 Alabaré.
“We are proud to be bringing forward high-quality build and design which focuses on the wellbeing of residents making it an exemplar project.
“We are looking forward to this exciting development progressing over the coming months and seeing the veterans gain some valuable experience in construction and job-based skills.”
Major (Ret’d) Ken Hames MBE, Chief Operating Officer for Alabaré Veterans Self-Build, said:
“This is our second veterans self-build in Plymouth and we are pleased to be in partnership again with Plymouth City Council and LiveWest.
“As a veteran myself I understand the difficulties some veterans face transitioning to civilian life. This scheme offers the right support, challenge and training to help veterans toward full time employment and independent living.
“It also demonstrates a wider objective to bring an inspired vision of growth and regeneration to the Honicknowle Community.”
The project will be built on the site of the former Stirling House, a former residential care home, owned by the Council, which had been empty for several years.
The scheme follows on from the completion of the Nelson Project in October 2017. This multi award-winning scheme saw the construction of a 24-home development that includes 12 self-build homes for military veterans and 12 mixed use affordable homes, including supported housing.
Totnes-based, Coyde Construction, has been contracted to build the Stirling House scheme which has been designed by architects Form Design.
Of the 25 homes, 19 will be one and two-bedroom flats together with two, three and four-bedroom housing.
Once complete, all of the homes will be let by LiveWest at a subsidised social rent, in order to provide support for households in high need.
The large four-bedroom house has also been designed as a wheelchair adapted property, helping to address the significant shortage of such properties across the city.
The project will benefit from grant-funding from government housing agency Homes England.