HRH The Duke of Kent officially opened leading national housing association, Stonewater’s ground-breaking veteran community-build scheme, Noden’s Mews in Leominster earlier this month (19th May)
Working in partnership with Herefordshire Council, local contractor J Harper & Sons Ltd and veterans’ charity Alabaré, who were supported with funding from Longleigh Foundation, Stonewater completed the 19-home scheme which provides a safe and secure place to call home for up to nine veterans and their families in December 2020.
HRH The Duke of Kent was greeted by flag-waving pupils from Leominster Primary School, before being welcomed to Leominster by Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Mr Edward Harley OBE and Mrs Victoria Harley. The Duke was introduced to Sarah de Rohan, High Sheriff of Herefordshire, and other local dignitaries, including Cllr John Rumsey, Mayor of Leominster Cllr David Hitchiner, Leader of Herefordshire Council and Sir Bill Wiggin MP.
Matt Crucefix, Director of Development (South and West) at Stonewater, said: “This particular development has been a unique opportunity for Stonewater to not only bring 19 much-needed new homes to Leominster but also provide the veterans working on the project with the skills they need to secure themselves long-term employment.“It was with great pride I was able to host HRH the Duke of Kent to meet the partners who worked with us on the project and to see the veterans living alongside other Stonewater residents in the cohesive community created as a result.“Today’s Royal Visit has been a great opportunity to show how housing providers, local authorities, and specialist charities can work together to combat veteran homelessness and we hope to see more projects like this in the future.”
Cllr Ange Tyler, Herefordshire Council Cabinet member for Housing, Regulatory Services and Community, also attended the official opening. She said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to witness the official opening of Noden’s Mews and sit with the Duke of Kent to talk about the project. The project has been a perfect example of how community-led partnership working can achieve great things. The delivery of affordable housing is a national issue, and one that we are prioritising at a local level through the aims of the Council’s County Plan. Given Herefordshire’s strong ties to the armed forces, it is fantastic to see another step taken to combat veteran homelessness and provide the housing and support that many veterans need within our communities.”
Cllr Barry Durkin added: “We are committed to supporting local veterans across Herefordshire and this particular partnership project with Stonewater and Alabaré has been a great opportunity to provide more affordable housing for veterans. When we initially sought a housing association partner to deliver a veteran community-build scheme locally we knew the project wouldn’t be without its challenges, but we are delighted to be here today and celebrate the realisation of our vision for the project. It was an honour for Herefordshire and the veterans that HRH Duke of Kent came to open Noden’s Mews."