On Saturday 24th August, the War Memorial Village Derby hosted the ‘Salute to the Village’ event, part of a series of celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary of the War Memorial Village Shelton Lock. Festivities kicked off with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal on 18th July, who met residents and laid a ceremonial wreath at the War Memorial.
To celebrate 70 years since the first bungalows were handed over to veterans of the Second World War, this weekend the Village played host to a full military showcase, the likes of which Derby has never seen before. The event featured a number of military displays, marches, live music, and a Battle of Britain commemorative fly-past by an original Second World War Dakota fighter plane.
The War Memorial Village provides affordable housing for disabled ex-members of the Forces and Emergency Services. The original properties were built in the 1940s for soldiers returning from the Second World War, as part of the government’s pledge to build ‘homes fit for heroes’.
In 1949, Princess Elizabeth visited Derby and laid the foundation stone for a property on Edinburgh Crescent in the village. At the laying of the foundation stone, Her Royal Highness declared, “the people of Derby have shown wisdom and imagination in deciding to build the village”. Seventy years later, that same wisdom and imagination remains in the provision of good quality, affordable and accessible homes exclusively for injured and disabled ex-services personnel and their families. The village in Shelton Lock is one of just two in the UK, the other being Westfield War Memorial Village in Lancaster.
Since opening, the War Memorial Village (a registered charity) has been managed, maintained and developed by a group of trustees consisting entirely of retired ex-services personnel, with Derby Homes acting as the managing agent since May 2013. The trustees have recently embarked on an ambitious plan with the local authority to replace all the original properties with new, purpose-built accessible homes over the next 20 years.
The charity has also appointed Derby Homes as the prime contractor to build nine new properties, at a cost of £1.1million. Designed with the future in mind, these “Centenary Bungalows” commemorate 100 Years of Council Housing and are the start of an ambitious plan to ensure housing for the 21st century and beyond. Incorporating new village signs and communal gardens, the aim is to respond to the ever-changing needs of ex-services personnel. This will mean changes, not just in the design and specification of new homes for those with physical disabilities, but also in the increasing support available for those with post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health complexities.
The village also provides additional services and activities that create a peer support network for all its residents, providing safety, security and the opportunity to resettle into society successfully on leaving the services.