ESTABLISHED to help ex-Service men and women make a successful transition back to civilian life, the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded a grant of £75,000 for the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol to carry out an evaluation of a self-build project involving ex-Service personnel.

The current scheme to be evaluated, run by Community Self Build Agency (CSBA), is based in Bedminster in Bristol and involves ten ex-Service personnel who have encountered problems such as drink and drugs during their transition.

The evaluation will attempt to record and quantify the impact that self-build projects can have on such ex-Service personnel.

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2014 and the evaluation report will be used to support a programme of further projects for ex-Service personnel.

The CSBA is partnered with Knightstone Housing Association who will manage the property when complete. A construction company will be providing some of the training, site management, materials and equipment required for their work.

Once the accommodation is complete, participants will be able to rent two-bedroom units with their family thus creating a stable family unit which, without the project, may not have been possible.

Chief Executive of the FiMT, Ray Lock, said: “One of the key challenges faced by ex-Service personnel as they transition from military to civilian life is to find suitable accommodation after they leave.

“For some, this, combined with other issues such as mental health and alcohol misuse, can leave them with low self-esteem and poor ‘job-readiness’.

“The UWE and CSBA’s project aims, not just to provide ex-Service personnel with accommodation they have built themselves, but also to raise their self-esteem and sense of self-worth, are extremely worthwhile. We are delighted to be able to play a part in this exciting project.”

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