THE firm building homes for soldiers at Stafford’s Beacon Barracks has taken on a former Wren as community liaison officer to work with local residents and with families moving into the new homes.
Helen Murphy joins builders Lovell after working for a telecoms company. Before that, she served with the Royal Navy for nine years for nine years.
“It’s funny coming back into this environment 23 years after I last hung up my uniform," Ms Lovell said. "Coming to MoD Stafford was the first time I’d stepped back on to a station since 1991 but it all soon comes flooding back.
"Even though the technology has changed unrecognisably in those years, other things have changed far less – for example, the Forces lingo is still the same and I seem to have been able to pick up where I left off!”
Her role involves keeping local residents informed about what is happening during the construction process, and then helping forces families settle in when they arrive in Stafford. She is also able to take any questions or concerns back to Lovell.
“Lovell understand the importance of working together with the community in a time of change where there will be unavoidable disruption despite every effort being made to minimise it," she said." By speaking to local residents regularly and hand-delivering all the latest information in the form of a newsletter, we have been able to keep people informed and happy. People understand there may be some disruption or noise occasionally but if they know when and why, and that we’re doing our utmost to minimise it, they are incredibly understanding about it.”
The £51 million contract to build new homes in Stafford for soldiers and their families returning from Germany was announced earlier this year by former Defence Minister Andrew Murrison. The contract will see the construction of 346 homes for soldiers based at Beacon Barracks in Stafford and is a step towards establishing the town as one of the Army’s seven major concentrations of manpower.
The homes should be complete by autumn 2015 when troops from 16 Signal Regiment and 1 Armoured Division Signal Regiment will move to Beacon Barracks allowing for the closure of Rhine Garrison by the following March.