Carilion Telent, a joint venture and preferred supplier to BT supporting the delivery of the BDUK programme, has taken part in a project in association with DIY SOS to create a military veterans’ community by bringing rundown, empty homes in Manchester back into use.
As the largest project DIY SOS has ever taken on – with support from Prince William and Prince Harry and in partnership with Manchester City Council, Walking With The Wounded, Haig Housing and Adactus Housing Groups – the popular BBC programme has successfully transformed an entire Manchester street with voluntary assistance from local SME’s right through to leading nationwide providers.
The first stage of the ambitious project saw the refurbishment of eight empty houses to create three larger adapted residential homes for veterans and their families, one standard size property and a veteran walk-in support and advice centre.
The second phase focussed on giving the other 54 properties a facelift, in addition to street scene improvements to increase disabled access. In introducing a superfast broadband network, Carillion telent removed overhead cables and telephone poles, enabling the pavements to be flattened to alleviate obstructions for wheelchair users. A planting scheme was also introduced to give the outdoor environment a much needed enhancement.
This is not the first time that Telent has volunteered its services for a DIY SOS charity project, having been involved in the programme’s 2012 Big Build to renovate a children’s centre in Edinburgh for BBC Children in Need.
Commenting on the Homes for Veterans project, Ric Welsby, Director of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) at telent, said: “We knew we wanted to be involved in this latest brilliant DIY SOS project as soon as we heard about it. The importance of reintegrating veterans into communities is very close to our hearts and we are proud of our many employees who come from our Armed Forces.
“We were delighted to be able to provide our expertise, making the neighbourhood wheelchair friendly and well-connected with superfast broadband.”
Veterans and their families will move into the properties at the end of the month. The project will also offer opportunities for veterans to get on the housing ladder with options including shared equity, discount purchase and rent-to-buy.
Watch the first part of DIY SOS Homes for Veterans on BBC iPlayer here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06jky29/diy-sos-series-26-7-homes-for-veterans-part-1. Don’t miss the second instalment on Wednesday 21st October at 8pm on BBC One.