Forces Flats Supporting Veterans in South Tyneside
Armed Forces veterans are reminded they can benefit from their own dedicated 'move-on' accommodation in South Tyneside.
The block, in Bedford Avenue, Laygate, consists of nine spacious one and two-bedroomed furnished flats, which are made affordable for rent to ex-servicemen and women as they leave the forces.
Veterans are given housing priority status by South Tyneside Homes and are signed to a tenancy with a view to move into longer term accommodation within a year. During that time, they will be offered support, advice and assistance lead by the Armed Forces Support Officer.
The scheme, which was developed in 2018, aims to provide veterans with support to enable them to progress into employment, education, training and a more independent life.
Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chair of the South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "Most service personnel cope well with the transition into civilian life when leaving the Forces. However, for others this can be a huge adjustment, with some veterans struggling with the unfamiliarity and transition from service life.
"Our specialist accommodation provides servicemen and women a place to call home, in a supported environment, which can help veterans adapt to an independent way of life.
"We are committed to supporting the men and women who have served their country and I'm delighted that we are able to offer this service.
"No veteran in South Tyneside will ever be left without an offer of a home."
South Tyneside Homes, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, established the project in the summer of 2018, and since then have supported more than 200 veterans, providing advice and support with benefits, pensions, employment, housing and signposting to various veteran specific mental health support services.
Mark Campbell, a veteran who has been a tenant at Bedford Avenue since March last year, said: "I've nearly been here a year and I've been collecting bits and bobs for when I get my new house.
"I'm on band one priority for housing and I'm in the process of looking for a new house at the minute, so hopefully I should be moving on in the next month or so.
"The block of flats is safe, there's no threat or any trouble - it's a quiet block of flats. I've really enjoyed living here and will miss it."
Referrals for housing for veterans are made to South Tyneside Homes' Housing Solutions team by a range of partners including health, probation, social services, the British Legion, HMP Service and armed forces charity, SSAFA.
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Housing and Transport, said: "The flats provide veterans with a comfortable home while they find their feet again.
"It's a great initiative that is helping many ex-service personnel with the transition from service life to civilian life."
For more information on the wealth of support available for the Armed Forces community in South Tyneside, visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/armedforces