A project to develop a veterans’ community by bringing empty homes back in to use in east Manchester is calling for construction firms to offer their support.
Military veterans,including those with families or who are single ,could find a new home in the specially established community, while being part of the BBC DIY SOS programme.
Construction firms already signed up to support the project include: Kier, ISG, Keepmoat, Mears, Rowlinsons, Wates Living Space and Willmott Dixon, along with architects BTP and design lead Arcus.
The project,that is bringing together Manchester City Council, the BBC’s DIY SOS Big Build project, charities Walking With The Wounded and Haig Housing and Adactus Housing Groups in a first of its kind development, will improve the street scene to provide disabled access and disabled parking and introduce planting, facelift all 62 properties and refurbish 8 of the 25 empty homes on the streets.
The refurbishments will create three larger adapted residential homes for veterans and their families, one standard size property and a veteran walk-in support and advice centre – all by the end of September.
As part of a second phase the remaining 17 empty properties will be refurbished by the charity Haig Housing.
Completed properties will offer opportunities for veterans to get on the housing ladder with options including shared equity, discount purchase and rent to buy.
The aim is to create a veteran’s housing community within the existing community, the advice centre will have a private space for therapy and counselling – run by Walking With The Wounded – and provide a space for the community. Training and employment opportunities are being developed for veterans and existing residents.
Nick Knowles, the BBC DIY SOS presenter, said: “We’d love to get local trades involved. This is a massive project – our biggest yet – and we really need your help. We especially need special joiners and timber frame experts, kitchen fitters and carpet and flooring fitters. Come and join us. It’ll be really worthwhile and a lot of fun.”
The BBC DIY SOS team will be in east Manchester – Thursday 20 August from 9am – to meet organisations who are interested in being involved in the development and discuss the opportunities that are available to them.