Today, we mark the completion of the first houses, which form phase one of the Stirling House project in Plymouth.
Our first veteran self-builder and his family have moved into their new home, along with two local families who were in housing need.
The Stirling Project, based on the site of a former residential care home on Honicknowle Green, has seen nine previously homeless veterans involved in the construction of 25 self-contained affordable homes to rent.
Thanks to a partnership between Plymouth City Council, housing association LiveWest and veterans’ charity Alabaré, 12 of the plots are being built and will be subsequently lived in, by the veterans themselves.
Major (Ret’d) Ken Hames MBE, Chief Operating Officer for our Alabaré Veterans Self-Build Scheme, said:
“Alabaré’s second veteran self-build scheme in Plymouth marks a significant milestone in our delivery of transitional programmes for veterans. We are not just building houses we are also building lives, providing the right support and challenge to learn skills, find a job and maintain independent living.
“Self-build is a metaphor for growth and exciting possibilities, and I commend the scheme for its resilience and high social impact. We are already looking forward to the next scheme where we will continue our mission to deliver high-performance success factors and real hope for those veterans who have struggled with civilian life.”
Councillor Rebecca Smith, Cabinet member for Home and Communities, said:
“I am so pleased that the Stirling Project has arrived at this significant milestone and that families will be able to benefit from the hard work that the vets have put in on site.
“The project’s first phase looks fantastic and I can’t wait to see the project finished next year.”
Russell Baldwinson, Executive Director of Development for LiveWest, said:
“It is fantastic to see three new homes completed and our customers moving in.
“While the scheme is to be delivered as socially rented affordable housing, we have been working with Alabaré Veterans Self-Build Scheme in allocating up to 12 properties within the development to let to military veterans.
“They have been given the opportunity to participate in the actual build of the scheme, overseen by the contractor, to gain experience and potentially work their way towards a qualification.
“It is great to be able to deliver more affordable homes in the city.”
The Stirling Project, which began construction in July 2021, 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.
Adrian, one of the self-builders, adds,
At first, it was daunting to think that I’ll be put out in this world that I don’t know anything about, and I’m being encouraged to assist in building my own property! I’ve been involved since 2019 with the Alabaré, and it’s just phenomenal. Of all the charities I’ve worked alongside and been supported by, they’re the only ones that have genuinely done what they said they would. It’s not just supporting me and helping me in this project, but it’s my wider family. So, it’s my children, my ex-wife, they’ve helped the entire family. So rather than just focus on the veteran, they’ve looked at me and what’s going on. Because all that has an impact.
Totnes-based Coyde Construction, has been contracted to build the Stirling House scheme 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. They are built with an energy efficiency EPC rating high 85 ‘B’, which, when combined with a Solar PV option, rises to 93.
Each plot is fully electric with Air Source heat pumps to assist with customer sustainability.
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 the government housing agency Homes England and support from the Local Government Association.
Our Alabaré Veterans Self-Build Scheme relies on grants and donations to help our veterans rebuild their lives through the journey of helping build their own homes. Please donate today to help us provide this opportunity and support for more veterans.