01622 689700 / 01474 887688

Centenary Village takes a step closer

Blair Gulland is a trustee of Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) and they have recently opened the first phase of their new Centenary Village here in Maidstone.

The £4m apartments for injured veterans are divided between two new apartment blocks – Victory House and Invictus Games House at Hermitage Lane, Maidstone and they have an award-winning Chelsea Garden as a centre piece.

The Chelsea Barracks Garden, was designed by Jo Thompson for the 2016 Chelsea Flower Show.

The new village will eventually include permanent homes for more than 80 residents along with a large community centre which will offer welfare, support and training. The Chelsea Barracks Garden will form the centrepiece, providing a much-needed space for relaxation, reflection and recuperation.

“We are absolutely delighted by this generous donation,” said the RBLI’s Chief Executive Steve Sherry CMG OBE, who served in the Army for 38 years. “It is wonderful to have such an impressive garden at the heart of our new housing development, where it will contribute to the rehabilitation and recovery of veterans who have sacrificed so much to serve their country. The village will be a home to many veterans, some of whom have faced great difficulties following their return to the civilian world, including life-changing disabilities. It is so important to ensure they have a comfortable and stable home where they can regain full independence and play a full role in civilian life. This garden very much supports with this.”

The garden draws on the heritage of the Chelsea Barracks site in London, the former British Army barracks, with cues taken from the architecture and landscaping of the new neighbourhood being created in SW1, which neighbours the Royal Hospital (where the Chelsea Flower Show has been held since 1913). Roses were a main feature of the garden reflecting the listed Garrison Chapel, with its historic Rose Window, which is preserved at the heart of the new development on the Chelsea Barracks site.

“I am thrilled that the garden now has such a worthwhile home,” said Jo Thompson. “It is always a joy to find a permanent home for a Chelsea Flower Show garden, particularly so when linked with an important charity. The Chelsea Barracks Garden is a traditional British rose garden, reimagined for the 21st century. I very much hope it will provide ex-service personnel with a beautiful place to enjoy, as well as offering the chance for residents to get involved with a range of activities to aid their recovery.”

Blair Gulland comments: “It is an honour to work with RBLI. This is a fantastic project to have been involved with and to have a garden of such a high standard here in Maidstone is a real achievement for RBLI.”