Last week Tracey welcomed Defence Minister Mark Lancaster TD MP to the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) to lay the foundation brick for the charity’s latest housing development which will offer homes for Veterans.
RBLI, a charity which has been providing training, jobs, housing and welfare to the Armed Forces community for nearly a century, was awarded a £2million grant from the Armed Forces Covenant, LIBOR Veterans Accommodation Fund, to begin the development of their site on Hermitage Lane, Aylesford, Kent
The grant, together with its own matched funding, is being used to build 24 fully adapted apartments, to provide accommodation for single wounded, injured and sick (WIS) Veterans.
Mark Lancaster, himself a Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers, was met by Tracey and RBLI’s Chief Executive Steve Sherry CMG OBE for a tour of the charity’s 75-acre site that incorporates, manufacturing and social enterprise facilities, before moving on to the site for the new development.
Mr Lancaster, in his speech praised the good work of RBLI and highlighted the collaboration of those who support the Armed Forces Covenant, saying: “This is the perfect example of how the LIBOR Fund can recognise the contribution that our Armed Forces have made to our nation and ensures that they are not disadvantaged by their service. Our thanks go to RBLI working closely with the local authority and local builders, surveyors and architects for their efforts to provide this fantastic Veterans’ accommodation.”
During their visit Mark Lancaster met with Tracey Crouch MP for Chatham and Aylesford; the project’s architect and builders; members of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council as well as residents from RBLI’s existing housing developments.
Tracey said: “I was delighted to welcome my good friend and colleague the defence minister Mark Lancaster to Aylesford this morning to lay a ceremonial brick as part of the development of new veteran accommodation by the RBLI. The housing is all part of the Borough's commitment to the military covenant and will hopefully all be finished and ready for the first tenants in February next year. I don't need reminding of how brilliant the RBLI is but these visits make me realise how proud of them I am. The work they do to support veterans whether through housing, employment or well being is phenomenal and I'm delighted Mark got to see it this morning.”
RBLI’s Chief Executive, Steve Sherry CMG OBE welcomed this visit saying: “We are deeply honoured to have Mark Lancaster with us to be part of this memorable day and highlighting the importance of these life-changing homes. These apartments are just the beginning, as we embark on a £20m campaign to develop our Village. This campaign will guarantee that RBLI can be here for another 100 years, helping our Veterans live fulfilling lives after service.”
He added, “We are also extremely grateful for the Government’s financial support and the hard work of so many people who have made this project possible.”
For more information about RBLI please visit www.rbli.co.uk.