Ashton charity’s paint donation helps former homeless soldiers
Friday 16th December 2016 @ 11:39 by Adam Higgins
Ashton Community Dukinfield News

An Ashton charity has made a generous donation of paint to help former homeless soldiers decorate their new homes in Manchester.

The Armoury Trust received around 100 cans of different coloured paint from Crown Wallpapers to help decorate the Armoury on Old Street.

But they have given them to help towards transforming derelict flats and houses on Canada Street for over 1,000 ex-servicemen and women to live in.

Chris Matley, who is a support and community project manager from the Trust, explained why they decided to make the goodwill gesture.

Chris, from Dukinfield, told the Reporter: “Around two years ago, loads of flats were made available to ex-soldiers who were living on the streets which made the national news.

“They are now moving in, the flats are furnished and being painted so we have given them the paint, which is all different colours, free of charge.

“They came up to have a look at the paint which was in my garage and picked it up in a van. We are also going to go down to the flats to talk to them and see the paint on the walls and what the flats look like afterwards.

“The walls have already had their undercoat so it’s just the finishing touches that are needed now.

“We were going to sell it to them but they don’t have any money so we all voted at the charity and decided to give it to them for nothing.

“I have spoken to Daniel from SSAFA who said some are wounded soldiers, others are from the Royal British Legion and there are three ex-veterans.”

Through some of its volunteers, the Armoury Trust has also donated clothes to SSAFA, who provide lifelong support for army veterans and their families.

Ex-para Pete Taylor was given 200 sets of hats and gloves by Blackpool manufacturer Custom Workwear, while Jenny Ward has also donated coats and tracksuits she received from a national bike club.

They have also teamed up with Brother UK in Audenshaw, who raised £500 which the Trust used to buy gardening tools so they can help maintain the surrounding areas of 14 war memorials across Tameside.

The Trust met with five volunteers at the company’s base to co-ordinate three teams of people in conjunction with Tameside Council to tidy up the memorials, such as picking up litter and cutting hedges.

Last Saturday night, they also held a raffle and auction at Waterloo Conservative Club in Ashton where prizes were given out.

And Tulip Slaughterhouse in Ashton has sponsored the Trust for some hairnets, promising to double or treble the amount raised. A cheque presentation of £380 will be made in the near future

The Trust, which has been running for three years but only received charity status 18 months ago, is currently based in Mossley at the home of chairman Graham Braithwaite but they are desperate to move to what they feel is their rightful home.

Last year, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) offered the Armoury to the charity for five years but will knock it down in 2020 if they don’t buy it for around £2 million.

Chris added: “We are waiting to get into the Armoury but we were told no civilians are allowed in at the moment, yet there was a craft fair there last weekend which 3,000 people attended.

“There are 12 trees growing on top of it and the roof will have to be replaced. It hasn’t been touched in 20 years and there has been a gas leak there.

“We wrote a letter to the Queen trying to save the unit and a representative on her behalf wrote to the MOD. We arranged a meeting with them which is when they offered it to us for five years.

“It’s the first time the MOD have offered a building but once the five years are up they will either let it go or knock it down.

“There are around 40 people living on the streets in Ashton, I’ve been told, and about 10 of them are ex-soldiers.”