Homes for military veterans gives them 'stability'

Andy, a former Bombardier, right and Tracy Credit: ITV News

Andy Charman, former Bombardier, spent 21 years in the army, serving in Germany and Northern Ireland.

However when he left the armed forces, he struggled to begin his civilian life.

At his lowest, Andy was close to being on the streets.

Even reuniting with his childhood sweetheart didn't mean a happy ever after for Andy.

After being bounced from private rental to private rental, and moved on at a moments notice, the couple struggled with rising costs and long commutes.

Their new flat at a recently opened development gives them a forever home.

The new housing development is specifically for former members of the armed forces has been officially opened in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

The scheme is thought to be one of the first of its kind in the country and will provide a home for ten veterans and their families.

With affordable rent and the reassurance of knowing they won't be moved on, residents say the project has given them a fresh start.

Andy served for 21 years in the armed forces. Credit: ITV News

Andy's partner Tracy said "the stability of knowing we're not going to be moved on... its just ours for as long as we want, all our lives if we want it, its just a lot better health-wise as well, not having to worry."

In this scheme, Cheltenham Borough Homes transformed a derelict site in the town into council housing which is prioritised for Veterans.

For £1.4 million, they built 2 houses and 8 flats - 3 with disabled access. All are sustainable and made to last a lifetime.

The flats are offered with "affordable" rent rates, 20% lower than local market rents - a one bedroom flat costs a former serviceman £105 a week.

For £125 a young family can share a 2 bed flat, and £150 a week gets a two bedroom house.

Lord Paddy Ashdown opening the new development. Credit: ITV News

The happy task of opening the project fell to Lord Paddy Ashdown. A former Marine, he knows stories like Andy's are all too common.

He said, "So many of our ex servicemen spend five year, tens years, relying on army accommodation."

"When they come out they haven't got a home to go to... we can't simply abandon them."

"I think in doing this we are setting a model that other communities could follow up and down Britain."