Landlord highlights plight of ex-soldiers

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A housing association is highlighting the issues faced by the armed forces trying to get back into civilian life through a series of exhibitions.

Town & Country Foundation, the charitable arm of the Tunbridge Wells-based Town & Country Housing Group, has also launched a website to show the difficulties faced by ex-service men.

Veterans trying to re-enter civilian life often encounter issues such as homelessness, alcohol and drug dependency, attempted suicide and unemployment, the housing association says.

The ‘Two Worlds’ project is being run as the Ministry of Defence works towards a programme to reduce force levels by 20,000 by 2017.

Jackie Sumner, head of community investment at the housing association, said: ‘We know what a big challenge the restructuring of our armed forces will be to housing associations.

‘Thousands of soldiers will be looking for homes and a way back into civvy life. But more than this they will also need help and support in making this difficult transition.’

The first of the exhibitions was held in January this year and has been on tour around the country at military related venues. At the start of next year a sculpture created by service veterans will be exhibited and in September to November next year another exhibition, Our History – families, memories and mementos of war, will be held.

The 9,000- home Town & Country Housing Association also signed up with other local organisations to an ‘armed forces community covenant’ in Tunbridge Wells last month.

The covenant aims to encourage organisations to offer support to the local armed forced community and point it in the direction of help offered by other bodies, such as the Ministry of Defence and charities.