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Forces Flats at the Double

Armed Forces veterans are set to benefit from their own dedicated 'move-on' accommodation in South Tyneside.

A block of nine spacious one and two-bedroomed furnished flats will be available for affordable rent to servicemen and women as they leave the forces.

The scheme, in Bedford Avenue, Laygate, has been developed to provide veterans with support to enable them to progress into a more independent life and employment, education or training.

South Tyneside Homes, in partnership with South Tyneside Council, has established the project and managed to secure £17,000 in funding from the Ministry of Defence's Covenant scheme.

An Outreach Worker - who will be ex services - will help identify prospective tenants and make referrals as well as being able to help them access training, education, employment and funding opportunities.

Cllr Ed Malcolm, Chair of the South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "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.

"We know that it can be a big adjustment coming out of the army and settling back into civilian life.

"Having a place to live, in a supported environment, can help ex-services personnel manage that transition and get on the right track to live an independent life on civvy street."

Referrals will be 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: "We know that good quality housing can have a major impact on people's lives and wellbeing.

"Veterans will be signed to a tenancy with a view to moving into longer term accommodation within a year.

"The flats will provide veterans with a great place to call home while they find their feet again."

South Tyneside Homes will manage the block as part of its Housing and Area Management Service. A caretaker, from the veteran community, has also been employed to work in the block and surrounding Trinity South estate.