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Partnership starts homes for heroes scheme

Words: Laura Edgar
Artist impression of housing

A new not-for-profit organisation has partnered with a social business and housing association in a bid to improve access to homes for armed forces, police and NHS emergency personnel in Crewe.

Working alongside First Ark, social business company Step Forward Housing, based in north-west England, has agreed to purchase homes in Tytherington, Cheshire.

The homes will be made available to armed forces personnel and veterans as well as emergency workers including firefighters and NHS staff.

Christopher Metcalf, representing Step Forward Housing, said the organisation was set up to provide homes for those who have risked their lives.

“The aim is that these homes will provide them with a base; giving them the stability and security they need to start a new life after serving in the armed forces.

“Agreeing to purchase these homes is a big step in the process of ensuring that those who have suffered in the name of conflict and emergency response have the shelter they deserve,” he said.

First Ark is the parent company of the Knowsley Housing Trust housing association.

Working alongside these two bodies, Step Forward Housing plans to make 200 homes available for shared ownership and rental this year.

Although the organisations are only working in the North-West for the moment, they plan to expand nationally to “alleviate the housing crisis facing military and emergency personnel”.

Tony Cahill, executive director at First Ark, said: “Together, we’re going to help as many military, ex-military and emergency workers into high-quality, affordable accommodation as possible. We have the right infrastructure in place to be able to offer a successful management and support operation for Step Forward Housing’s tenants, and we’re eager to put that to good use.”