Homeless war veteran finally moves into South Yorkshire home ahead of Remembrance Sunday

Jo Howe, estate agent for St Leger Homes, handing over keys to the first property for veterans to Steve Bentham-Bates, chief executive of Help 4 Homeless Veterans.
Jo Howe, estate agent for St Leger Homes, handing over keys to the first property for veterans to Steve Bentham-Bates, chief executive of Help 4 Homeless Veterans.
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A former armed forces veteran who ended up homeless has moved into a new home thanks to an initiative to help combat heroes who fall on hard times.

St Leger Homes, which manages Doncaster Council’s housing stock, has partnered with Barnsley-based charity ‘Help 4 Homeless Veterans’ to offer up to 10 one and two-bedroom bungalows in the west area of Doncaster.

They handed over the keys to one of the properties last week.

Details of the veteran who moved into the home were not released, however project leaders said the hand over meant they should have been able to move into the property before Remembrance Sunday at the weekend.

Steve Bentham-Bates, chief executive officer of Help 4 Homeless Veterans, said last week: “I am delighted that through our scheme with Doncaster Council and St Leger Homes today, we have just taken over our first property which will allow a former veteran to move in in the next few days.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who had a hand in making this happen.

“I hope it will be the first of many homes which will allow homeless veterans or those in serious housing need an opportunity for a safe and secure home locally.”

For five years ‘Help 4 Homeless Veterans’ has been helping to find accommodation for ex-armed forces personnel.

The charity helps with tenancy issues, and once they are settled in they also help veterans to access education, training, and employment opportunities.

To date the charity has helped more than 200 veterans across the country, but primarily in the Barnsley area.

Susan Jordan, chief executive of St Leger Homes, said: “We are proud to be doing what we can to help rehome former veterans in Doncaster. “We recognise that a safe and affordable home is fundamental to an individual’s wellbeing.

“This first home signals our intention to make a real difference to those in need who have given so much serving our country.

“This is just the beginning.”

Extending the scheme into Doncaster is apt as the charity’s patron is Bessacarr war hero Ben Parkinson MBE.

The former paratrooper was nearly killed while serving in the British Army in Afghanistan in 2006 when a Taliban bomb blew up a Land Rover he was travelling in. He lost both legs and suffered injuries including brain damage, and has been described as the UK’s most severely injured soldier to survive his wounds.

But he has continually defied the odds to complete a number of charity challenges.