Veterans Aid welcomes Royal visitor to Guards Museum
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh attended an informal reception at the Guards Museum hosted by Veterans Aid.
Earlier this year HRH became the first official visitor to the frontline charity’s newly transformed Old Rectory where veterans moving from single room accommodation in its main hostel prepare for life with more autonomy and responsibility.
Nearly six months later he was able to catch up with staff and residents who had reaped the benefits of the on-going £7m refurbishment project and learn about its progress.
CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said, “The redevelopment of our New Belvedere House hostel was driven by necessity but it provided an opportunity to build on a successful model and set a standard that will change the way people think about hostels for the homeless. The months spent at ‘NBH’ are life changing for the men who make it their temporary home and we are delighted by the interest HRH has shown in our activities.”
On arrival at the reception HRH was presented to VA’s Patron, The Dowager Viscountess Rothermere, Guards Museum Curator and Veterans Aid Trustee Mr Andrew Wallis and the charity’s Honorary Life President, Brigadier Johnny Rickett.
Last year Veterans Aid provided 22,000 nights of accommodation for ex-servicemen and women in crisis, dealt with 389 new clients and found appropriate housing for 184. Typically the cost of caring for one veteran in VA’s hostel is £8,500 a year with a further £1,600 spent on sourcing and furnishing a sustainable new home.
Dr Milroy added, “Homelessness is only one of many problems that bring ex-servicemen and women to our door and in almost every case the underlying cause is complex. The enduring interest demonstrated by His Royal Highness in our activities and our veterans has been heart-warming.”