Worle art club brings Christmas cheer to armed forces veterans

13 December 2016

Armed forces veterans training on our site at Poppy Court, Worle, were treated to some festive cheer from a local art group today, with homemade Christmas gifts kindly donated.

The 10 veterans, who have been on site for the last seven months training and helping to build their new homes, each received handmade Christmas cakes and gifts from the Tuesday Art Club based at Lawrence Hall in Worle.

The ‘Train and build’ programme sees the veterans play a part in building their own homes, whilst learning new skills and gaining recognised qualifications to support them to get back in to work.

Sylvia Rees, from the art club, said: “It was wonderful to give something back to the armed forces veterans who have served our country and are building only down the road. We wanted to say ‘thank you’ by giving them a little something at Christmastime.”

Gina, 67, found out about the build through Age Concern. Having joined the army when she was 17, she’s one of the 10 veterans who are now building their own home. Gina said: “It’s now fifty years since I joined the forces, but it’s great to be able to work alongside people with shared experiences. Life on the site is brilliant, and there’s lots of comradery and stories to be told. There’s a real sense of community here, not just on the site, but our neighbours too, like the lovely ladies at the art group.”

In partnership with the Community Self Build Agency (CSBA) and with support from North Somerset Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, Poppy Court will provide 14 new homes for affordable rent.

David Summerhill, our Senior Development Manager said: “It’s great to see the local community coming together to support the veterans and the Poppy Court development. This is the third ‘Train and Build’ scheme for armed forces veterans that we’ve worked on with the CSBA, and each time we see the veteran’s skills and confidence increase which is great to see.”

Cllr Elfan Ap Rees, North Somerset Council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member whose portfolio includes Housing, said: “Poppy Court train and build development is a very worthwhile scheme that the council is pleased to support. The self-builders are doing a fantastic job and it is much appreciated that members of the local community have been so generous in their kind donations.”

Ken Hames, former Major in the Armed Forces, representing the Community Self-Build Agency, said: “The build at Poppy Court has really become a big part of the community in Worle. Local people, as well as other veterans often pop by for a cup of tea, to find out more about what’s going on here.”