VETERANS have celebrated the completion of their on-site training at a development in Ludgershall, thanks to a unique partnership.

Lovell, Stonewater and veterans’ charity Alabaré teamed up with Wiltshire Council to provide ex-military personnel with work, mentoring and the opportunity to secure a new affordable home.

The scheme’s partners are providing a Veteran Build Experience at Drummond Park in Ludgershall, the former Defence Medical Equipment Depot. The programme enables ex-servicemen and women to join the Lovell workforce and learn valuable, transferable skills to increase their opportunities of securing long-term employment. 

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On Thursday, September 7, the first group of veterans, Kevin, Jamie and Jack, completed their year-long training. A celebration was held at the site, where the veterans were each presented with an award by James Duffet, regional managing director at Lovell and Matthew Crucefix, director of development (South & South West) at Stonewater.

Over the last year, each veteran has received training on site from Lovell, focusing on construction skills for the first six months, and latterly in a specialist area of their choice. All have undertaken multiple courses and are now qualified to work in their chosen areas. Underlining the success of the scheme and the veterans’ dedication to the build, each has also been offered full-time employment with contractors who have worked on the Drummond Park site.

One of those taking part is RAF veteran Kevin, who joined the build after coming to live with Alabaré following a relationship breakdown which left him homeless and struggling with his wellbeing. Alabaré provided a home and support for Kevin, who was then able to join the build at Ludgershall.

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Throughout the Build Experience, Kevin, Jamie and Jack have each continued to receive support from Alabaré with their wellbeing, and practical help to ensure they are able to manage their future tenancies successfully.

Kevin has now qualified as a plant operator, receiving the highest grades for his class. He and the other veterans now have the opportunity to live in one of the homes on the Drummond Park site, managed by Stonewater, that they have helped to build.

Major (Rtd) Ken Hames MBE, chief operating officer of Alabaré Self Build for Veterans, said: “We are delighted to celebrate with our veterans as they complete their year on the Community Build scheme. Alabaré are grateful to Lovell and Stonewater for their huge commitment to the scheme and for the opportunity to work together to deliver this exciting housing development in Ludgershall.

“Days like today are what makes the Veteran Build Experience stand out. Our veterans have opportunities to learn new skills on the building site which can lead into employment, but it is the personal development that happens alongside it that is fundamental to recovery. The site, its rigour and its creativity improve attitude, mindset, and mental health that, when aligned, help enable a veteran to reintegrating back into the community and manage their new tenancy successfully.

“Schemes like this offer exciting opportunities to veterans and communities alike, where regeneration and better housing provision are witnessed first-hand.”

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Regional managing director at Lovell, James Duffett, said: “We are extremely proud that the first year of the Veteran Build Experience has been so successful, and would like to congratulate Kevin, Jamie and Jack for completing their training to such a high standard.

“This scheme means a great deal to us at all Lovell, as it has enabled ex-military personnel to explore a new career path and move into a home that they have proudly helped to build. Our site team at Drummond Park have also benefited immensely and learnt a lot from the experience, and we cannot thank Kevin, Jamie and Jack enough for their hard work and commitment.

“We are looking forward to continuing the scheme and our partnership with Alabaré, Stonewater and Wiltshire Council, and to welcoming new veterans into the Lovell team.”

Matthew Crucefix, director of development (South & West) at Stonewater, said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in this scheme and to work with the other partners to create something truly worthwhile and even life-changing for the veterans involved.

“We’re proud of the passion and dedication that has gone into the Veteran Build Scheme by those partners, and of course by Kevin, Jamie and Jack, who we are thrilled to welcome and continue to support as our new customers. We wish them every happiness in their Stonewater homes that they have helped to create and we look forward to welcoming the next cohort of Veterans for even more success.”