Flats Fit For Heroes Opened In Edinburgh

12 May 2009

Nine outstanding new one bedroom flats for Veterans have been opened by the Housing and Communities Minister, Alex Neil MSP in Gilmerton, South Edinburgh.

The flats, developed by Scottish Veterans' Residences (SVR) and Hillcrest Housing Association will provide high quality, affordable housing for veterans.

"If Scottish Veterans hadn't been there, I would be dead by now" Donald is quite clear about where he would be without SVR. He thinks his only option would have been suicide. "SVR helped me to calm down, find work and now a house"

Donald served for nine years with the Second Battalion Scots Guards seeing active service in the Falklands Campaign in 1982. Donald struggled to adjust to life after leaving the Army in 1984. "I came to Whitefoord House in 1995, I had nowhere else to go. When I came to Whitefoord House I had problems with aggression and post traumatic stress from my time in the Falklands. I got a lot of support from the staff and my fellow residents, many of them had been through similar experiences in their lives".

In 2005 Donald moved from a room in the residence to an independent flat at Whitefoord House, where the support of the SVR staff was still available, and now he finds that newer residents often come to him with their problems. "Everybody fits in at SVR, you notice when people are down, it is a big family which is helpful when you first arrive".

The flats have been developed in partnership with Hillcrest Housing Association from the ruined stable block on the site of a former nursing home owned by SVR. With the aid of a housing association grant and financial support from The Scottish War Blinded, The RAF Benevolent Fund and Seafarers UK, SVR and Hillcrest have created a development of outstanding flats which are available to the veteran community at a very affordable rent.

The tenants at Gilmerton are a mixture of couples and single men and women, from all parts of the country. They each have their own story to tell.

Donald is now ready to make a break away from Whitefoord House altogether and is looking forward to moving in to a smart new flat with a garden. He commented "I can't wait to start my new life. For me this is like emigrating from being a soldier to being a civilian. I'm looking forward to dealing with life by myself, although I know there is back-up there if I need it. I'm finally ready to be a civvy".

Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said:

"The Scottish Government is doing all it can to help our war veterans, heroes that deserve our lasting gratitude.

“Through their sacrifice we take for granted the freedoms they won for us, often at a terrible cost.

"This new housing development by Scottish Veterans Residences will allow these brave men and women to have a comfortable, affordable home.”

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