New Gedney Hill project to provide barracks for former soldiers
A new project plans to use South Holland as a site for rehousing homeless army veterans.
Project Dignity, which will be run by the Knights Templar Great Britain, aims to set up barracks for ex-soldiers to live in while they work on local farms.
The proposal has been spearheaded by John Murray (56), who is the Master of the UK’s Knights Templar organisation.
He says it has been his “life ambition to stop our veterans becoming homeless after serving our country.”
Basic plans state that Project Dignity will begin by providing barracks built for the accommodation of six ex-soldiers. The first set will be built at Gedney Hill.
“You have to take them back to the basics. They have to be taken back to the barracks, with other soldiers in their own comfort zone,” John said.
John says the arrangement will benefit both the farms as well as the soldiers themselves because Brexit has led to a shortage of European farm workers in the area.
According to Project Dignity’s intentions, the Knights Templar will attempt to work with local councils to find permanent accommodation for the chosen ex-soldiers after around nine months - before branching out in the future to help veterans across the country.
John said the organisation is committed to work with the soliders.
“What we won’t want to do is say, ‘okay you’ve had your nine months, now move on’.
“Once Knights Templar take these guys on, we are their mentors for life. It’s cradle to grave with us,” said John.
“Once these soldiers are with us, we’ll never abandon them.”
The project will also hold on to 20% of the soldiers’ wages in order to pass the money along at the end of their time in the barracks as a “moving in gift” when they attempt to secure permanent residency elsewhere.