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Home provides a fresh start for veterans as service ends

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 06, 2013

HELPING HAND:  Chief executive of Alabare, Andrew Lord, residents Stacey Gilpin and Tan Rauto, and team leader Joe Larkin

HELPING HAND: Chief executive of Alabare, Andrew Lord, residents Stacey Gilpin and Tan Rauto, and team leader Joe Larkin

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COMING back into civilian life after more than 21 years on the frontline can be daunting, but a new home for veterans in Gloucestershire is helping those in need.

Stacy Gilpin, who left the army last month after two decades, is now staying at the new house in Alexandra Road, Gloucester, which is run by the charity Alabaré.

The transition to civilian life does not always run smoothly as veterans face problems including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental and physical ill health.

To help combat these issues, a group of county supporters has worked tirelessly over the last two years alongside Alabaré to establish the new home.

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It will provide accommodation for veterans from across the nation who have found themselves homeless or are at serious risk of becoming homeless. Stacy said: "I applied for a council property but there was nothing for me by the time I was due to finish from the Army and they directed me to the Alabaré route.

"Some people are homeless when they finish the Army but charities and schemes like this really do help.

"For me it has given me a roof over my head but I also know it is not long-term.

"So I need to set myself some goals and find another property soon.

"I have been in the Army for 21 years but the job has exhausted me. I have done my bit now. I am looking into starting a cooking course and eventually opening an Irish restaurant."

Each veteran will have their own room in the shared house. They will be required to eat together four times week and clean and maintain the garden space.

Team leader Joe Larkin said: "The vast majority of veterans transition into normal life easily, but there is a small percentage who really struggle. That is where we can hopefully help. We will direct them to the correct agencies for support and we will help them with employment and education decisions. The home is a place for people to come when they have nowhere else to turn to. It will be a place for them to think about themselves, regain some dignity and self-respect back."

Veterans will be assessed before they are given a place in a home.

OPINION, P10

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