Former soldiers back Wilton project

Former soldiers and servicemen are giving a helping hand to a unique project near Salisbury to build the UK’s first purpose built campus for service veterans.

The Salisbury Veterans Breakfast Club will be working alongside the team on the development in Wilton to support veterans making the move to the site.

Our Wilton is behind the project at the former Erskine Barracks, which will see the UK’s first purpose built campus for service veterans.

The campus will include at least 44 homes for veterans who will rent the units for a period of between six to 24 months while they receive business and skills training.

The homes will sit alongside an enterprise hub, crèche, care home and retail units.

The Salisbury Veterans Breakfast Club, set up six months ago, will be working with Our Wilton to support the veterans as they move on to the campus and to assist in the enterprise element of the project.

The Club was set up by Andy Heath just six months ago to offer a relaxed, uncomplicated support network for other veterans.

Andy said: “I served for 22 years in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps and the Royal Logistic Corps. When I left the forces, I cut all ties and occasionally spoke with a few old friends.

“It was only when I came across ex soldiers in my job or in outside interests that I realised how quickly we gelled and how easily we related to one another. I enjoyed that camaraderie and the easy trust and friendship we had.

“That’s when I decided to set up the Salisbury branch of the breakfast club. It’s a really informal group – we meet for breakfast, chat and are there to support one another should we need it.”

Andy continued: “Our involvement in the Wilton project will provide a soft mentoring option for the veterans moving on to the site. Some may find it difficult – we want to be on hand to show them we can support them on their journey and can relate to the struggles they’re facing.

“We will bring a variety of other skills to the table, along with our common service experiences, which will enhance the projects overall effort.”

Sue van Leest from Our Wilton said: “Once the veterans accommodation and community café are built, the Salisbury Veterans Breakfast Club will be on site to welcome the veterans moving in.

“Having people there who understand what many of these veterans have gone through is very important and will help make that transition smoother.

“There are members of the group who are also interested in supporting the enterprise element of the project by supporting veterans into work experience and business start-up.

“We believe that the Salisbury Veterans Breakfast Club will greatly enhance the development and delivery of the project on Wilton Hill. “

Work is due to start on the veteran’s campus at Wilton later this Spring with the first due to move in a year later.

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