The Duke of Kent was greeted by flag-waving pupils from Leominster Primary School, when his visited housing association Stonewater’s ground-breaking veteran community-build scheme, Noden’s Mews.
Contractor J Harper & Sons Ltd and veterans’ charity Alabaré worked in partnership with Herefordshire Council, and were supported with funding from Longleigh Foundation, allowing Stonewater to complete the scheme in December 2020.
During the Duke's visit on May 19 he was welcomed to Leominster by Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Mr Edward Harley OBE and Mrs Victoria Harley.
He was introduced to Sarah de Rohan, High Sheriff of Herefordshire, and other local dignitaries, including Councillor John Rumsey, the Mayor of Leominster, Councillor David Hitchiner, the leader of Herefordshire Council and Sir Bill Wiggin MP, as well as senior people from Stonewater, Alabaré, J Harper & Sons, and Longleigh Foundation.
He also spoke to veteran Adam Daniel who now lives in one of the new homes.
The Duke heard from Mr Daniel about living in his new home and the opportunities the project had offered the veterans to gain valuable, transferable skills to improve their employment opportunities.
He formally unveiling a plaque commemorating his visit in the the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year and planting a tree with the help of a pupil from Leominster Primary School.
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.
“The 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.”
Councillor Ange Tyler, Herefordshire Council cabinet member for housing, regulatory services and community, also attended the official opening.
She said: “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.”