A new housing scheme to help ex-servicemen and women in Teesside adjust to civilian life has been given the seal of approval from a retired Army commander.
Lieutenant General Robin Brims has praised £3.6 million Hardwick House in Teesside, describing it as “outstanding”.
The new complex provides 20 modern apartments for ex-service personnel, plus a range of support to help them settle back into the community and deal with complex health issues.
Owned and run by housing association Riverside, it also provides training and employment support, and counselling to those who have served for their country.
Rtd Lt Gen Brims, aged 65, whose distinguished military career spanned 38 years, led troops in Bosnia and became General Officer Commanding 1st (UK) Armoured Division in Iraq, for which he received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO).
He said: “Hardwick House is an outstanding first step for anyone preparing to return to civilian life. The apartments are fantastic. They look great and allow residents to live independently, and because they’re furnished that’s one less problem to deal with.
“I was particularly impressed by the skilled staff who work on site. They really understand the needs of veterans, and are able to offer training and advice on a range of areas including access to housing, welfare benefits and a range of skills including cooking and IT.
“The fact that the support is available means that residents can access advice and training at a pace that suits them. It also really makes a difference that Hardwick House can take referrals from veterans up to 12 months before they are discharged. This is vital as it provides some certainty at what can be a very stressful time.”
Helen Gore, Head of Supported Housing for Riverside, welcomed Rtd Lt Gen Brims’ support and said that helping veterans is crucial.
“It’s always heartening when people with a military history and of high ranking recognise the work we do, and the quality of our service offered to veterans,” she said.
“Hardwick House is part of Riverside’s network of supported housing specifically for veterans of the armed forces, and we are proud of the work we do to transform the lives of people who have struggled with the transition into civilian life.
“The support and programmes our teams deliver enable people who have hit really hard times to re-learn skills, build confidence and resilience, and retrain for the workplace. I would ask that any military personnel and the agencies who work with veterans spread the word about this service, which can very literally save and change lives.”
Hardwick House opened in 2016. For more information about the facilities and for veterans to sign up, contact SPACES (Single Persons’ Accommodation Centre for the Ex-Services) in complete confidence. Just email: [email protected] or telephone 01748 833797.