Veteran families have moved into Scotland's largest affordable modular housing development in Ayrshire.

Riverside Scotland handed over the first homes, with four homes being allocated to military veteran households. 

The ground-breaking £9.8million project is being delivered by Riverside Scotland and Connect Modular, part of The Wee House Group, and will provide 63 much needed affordable homes in Dundonald. 

With Christmas around the corner, the new residents were presented with a festive bouquet for their front doors and a personalised tree bauble as they look forward to spending their first Christmas in their new home. 

Irvine Times: The new housingThe new housing

These homes, which were handed over to residents on Thursday, November 25, will specifically address the housing needs of households who are at risk of homelessness upon discharge from the forces, or who require dedicated support to assist with resettlement. 

Royal Highland Fusiliers veteran Scott Devlin, 31, is delighted to finally have a permanent home after being in and out of temporary accommodation for the past year.

Irvine Times: Scott DevlinScott Devlin

He said: “I was brought up in the army. My dad served with the RHF for 25 years and in 2008 when I was aged to join, I signed up straight away.

"Unfortunately, my career was cut short when I permanently lost my hearing in one ear and suffered trauma to the other during a live fire exercise in Kenya.

"Military life was all I had known and returning to civilian life wasn’t easy. I was depressed, my relationship broke down, I was unemployed and found myself homeless. I was in a bad way and my mental health really suffered. 

“I found out about Veterans First Point and haven’t looked back. They have helped me get back on my feet and I’m finally in a good place. I am starting an engineering apprenticeship in the New Year and to top it off I’ve eventually got my own house. 

“I’ve lived in four temporary homes throughout Ayrshire in the past year – some in such poor conditions that I couldn’t even have my kids to stay. I was over the moon when I found out I had been allocated a brand new modular home in Dundonald.

"It’s a complete new start for my family and I can’t thank the team at Riverside Scotland enough. I am definitely ending the year on a high note knowing I won’t be spending another Christmas in temporary accommodation.” 

Irvine Times: In his new homeIn his new home

Riverside Scotland said they have made a strong commitment to providing homes for veterans at risk of homelessness at its two newest social housing developments by allocating more than 10 per cent of new homes to support veteran households. At Dundonald 13 per cent (eight) of the homes are being allocated specifically to veteran households. 

The commitment follows a recent Riverside Scotland-commissioned poll, conducted by Survation, which found that 85 per cent of Scottish people said they were concerned or very concerned about military veterans sleeping rough. 

The organisation has a service level agreement in place with Veterans First Point/NHS Ayrshire and Arran to ensure that veterans are fully supported in their tenancies, and in the transition to civilian life after service in the armed forces. 

Heather Anderson, head of service delivery at Riverside Scotland developed the agreement with Lindsay Kirkwood, clinical psychologist for Veterans First Point.

Heather said: “Riverside Scotland recognises the housing and wider needs of many veteran households, and the difficulty many experience in accessing suitable accommodation and support upon discharge from the Forces, and beyond.

"The partnership we have developed with Veteran's First Point Ayrshire will provide a much needed combination of secure and suitable housing, alongside support to address any mental, physical, emotional, and tenancy related needs for veterans and their families, for as long as it is needed.” 

One of the driving forces behind opting for a modular build is the environmental benefits that can be achieved by building modular homes over standard built homes. Compared to an equivalent, traditionally built project, up to 67 per cent less energy is required to produce a modular building and construction waste is up to 85 per cent less than on traditional sites. 

For this development, homes are built in Connect Modular’s manufacturing facility in Cumnock, within controlled conditions and are made wind and watertight on the same day they are delivered to site. This eliminates the potential for moisture to be trapped in the structure and reduces shrinkage. 

Jennifer Higgins, managing director at Connect Modular, said: "It’s a momentous occasion handing over the keys for the first five houses in our development with Riverside Scotland, the largest affordable modular housing development in Scotland.

"Handing over at this time proves the speed and efficiency with which the project is moving, thanks to modular build. A great achievement for all involved, and we look forward to continuing the delivery and handover of these homes in the coming weeks and months.”