A NEW temporary housing facility for ex-servicemen and women who are or facing homelessness was opened in Bournemouth over the weekend. 

Poole-based charity Helping Homeless Veterans UK (HHVUK) has opened a new accommodation for veterans above the Royal British Legion Social Club in Wimborne Road, Winton. 

Capable of housing six people, the accommodation is equipped with private rooms and en suite facilities as well as a kitchen area and common area. 

Providing a stopgap for veterans for up to six months, HHVUK’s new facility offers veterans stability while they find permanent accommodation. 

Bournemouth Echo: Tobias Ellwood opening the accommodationTobias Ellwood opening the accommodation (Image: Daily Echo)

Charity founder David Wood said: “The idea behind the project is to bring any veteran that is either homeless on the streets, sofa surfing or living in temporary accommodation to ourselves so that we can directly deal with them in one area. 

“They can then move on into permanent accommodation.”

He added: “I’d like to offer my thanks to Selco, all our volunteers, all the corporate companies that have helped us, all of the trustees that have helped us and Tobias Ellwood our honorary guest today.” 

Bournemouth Echo: David Wood, founder of Helping Homeless Veterans UKDavid Wood, founder of Helping Homeless Veterans UK (Image: Daily Echo)

Founded by army veteran Mr Wood with his fellow trustees Neil Hague and Stephen Young in 2019, the charity has helped 350 veterans, with 289 now settled in permanent housing. 

The ribbon for the new accommodation was cut by Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, a soldier for the British Army since 1989 who remains a reserve. 

Mr Ellwood said: “There is a recognition that those who serve in our armed forces do something quite exceptional – standing in harms way and watching our backs. 

“So there is a sense of duty that we look after them but sadly sometimes they find times are tough. 

“Facilities like this allow them to regain their sense of esteem and get back on their feet. 

Bournemouth Echo: Soldier and MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias EllwoodSoldier and MP for Bournemouth East, Tobias Ellwood (Image: Daily Echo)

“I must pay huge tribute to David and his entire team for what they have done here. 

“I’m really proud and pleased to see all the support this project gives to our veterans.” 

Mr Wood’s commitment to helping veterans comes out of his own experience, where he found himself homeless after leaving the army in 1997. 

He has been recognised with accolades for his work, including the British Citizens Award, and the Dorset Hero Award for four years running.