The project originated with the military charity’s desire to create a presence in the city to ensure wounded veterans could be referred to local support provided by Walking With The Wounded.
The resulting DIY SOS partnership was a first-of-its-kind, bringing together Manchester City Council, WWTW, Haig Housing and a huge amount of time, expertise, materials and supplies donated to the project by volunteer contractors.
Co-founder and Chief Executive of WWTW Ed Parker commented: “Residents are getting the training and employment opportunities they need in a veteran’s housing community within the existing community. I celebrate this unique partnership between public, private and charity sectors.
“We are hoping that in time we can replicate the WWTW elements of the Manchester project in other cities where there are so many veterans deserving a brighter future.”
He added: “Currently the scheme is being supported by employers like IKEA Ashton, CleanStart, Kier Group and PepsiCo. Working in partnership a reactive construction training package has been developed by the Skills Company. It is still early days and we have lots more to achieve – we are inviting employers to engage with us to find ways to work together.”
WWTW North West Operations Manager Gary Lamb said: “Canada Street aims to provide a service to veterans who contact us for help as well as those who are residents in the street to assist them access employment, gain new skills and ensure that they are supported throughout the process. The scheme also aims to provide guidance, support and advice to those who are or at risk of becoming homeless.”
Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “The Canada Street project provides the full package of support for veterans in Manchester. Good quality housing is of course key, but it’s important to think long-term. That means training, education and development to provide the skill set necessary to ready veterans for employment – and work placements like this are one of the best routes into jobs.”
David Mawson, Managing Director Kier Housing Maintenance said: “It’s been a privilege to have spent the last 12 months working with Walking With The Wounded, initially as lead contractor on the delivery of the DIY SOS Big Build and latterly as a supporting employer. What they’ve done already has been transformational. Their understanding of veteran needs has been critical in shaping a project that has given veterans not just a house, but a home, a community and importantly a new potential career path. In return as an employer taking on a veteran, this group offer a wealth of skills and experience, which is why Kier is a leading defence sector employer nationwide.”
CleanStart is a Trafford Housing Trust social enterprise which offers facilities management, grounds maintenance and recycling services to private and public sector clients.
Steve Lever, Team Leader, CleanStart said: “CleanStart has been working closely with WWTW over the last 9 months to develop employment opportunities for veterans and service leavers who are ready to take on new challenges and responsibilities.
“The combination of transferable skills gained while in the armed forces, together with many organisations wanting to actively help veterans, means having ex-service personnel as part of the CleanStart workforce is a genuine win-win.
“We have also recently announced ambitious plans to grow its business, and we see the WWTW being a key partner going forward to help us expand our team and bring new skills and experience to the CleanStart offer.”
The WWTW Manchester office mission is:
To establish the charity in the North West, develop numerous corporate networks and partnerships to generate funding opportunities, promote and build community cohesion with all residents on Canada Street and provide accessible accommodation at the training hub to support veterans attending training courses within the area.
For more information or interviews please contact:
WWTW Head of Communications: Willa Greenock T: 01263 863 901
To contact the WWTW Manchester Office:
Gary Lamb. North West Operations Manager 0161 205 9287 Mobile: 07867 420 473 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 42 Canada Street, Manchester, M40 8AE.
About Walking With The Wounded
Walking With The Wounded is a charity established to support the employment aspirations and vocational outcomes of our wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, those who have been physically, mentally and socially disadvantaged by their service.
WWTW recognises the inherent skills of our armed service personnel and wants to compliment these qualities, as well as provide support to transfer their skills into the civilian workplace. We offer assistance through our programmes to those vulnerable veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service and assist them in gaining independence through new long term careers outside of the military. This includes providing support to homeless veterans and veterans in the Criminal Justice System, areas which are too often ignored.
The outcome? Sustainable employment and independence for them and their families.
www.walkingwiththewounded.org.uk Walking With The Wounded is registered as a charity in England and Wales, number 1153497. Walking With The Wounded is registered in England and Wales as a charitable company limited by guarantee, number 8612989.