Wiltshire

Military spouses in Wiltshire get £1.9m jobs boost

The partners of servicemen and women in Wiltshire's garrison towns are to benefit from £1.9m of government money to help them find work.

The funding was announced by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Minister Richard Benyon.

He said the money would create more than 200 jobs and support 450 businesses in Ludgershall, Tidworth, Amesbury, Bulford and Durrington.

Some of the money will be used to improve broadband speeds in the area.

'Untapped resource'

Programmes to help military spouses set up small businesses will also receive funding.

The bid for the Rural Growth Network grant was submitted by Wiltshire Council.

Alistair Cunningham, the council's director of economy and regeneration, said: "We pitched around supporting our military communities because we are having more soldiers in Wiltshire, but of course most soldiers have partners and you need to create the jobs.

"This money will be used to develop the business centres that new businesses can work from, but also put together programmes that can help businesses write business plans and get finance."

Mr Benyon said: "We think there's an enormous untapped resource from service personnel, their spouses and people who have left the service.

"This is an area that, with the proper connections of broadband and skills, can really fly.

"Women, with the right support, can start a business and it can fit in with their lives."

Heledd Kendrick, a military wife with a business called Recruit for Spouses, at Buckley Barracks, Hullavington, welcomed the funding.

She said: "Military spouses are often pushed out of the jobs market through no fault of their own, mainly because of their transient lifestyle.

"This kind of money will really create a focus, so that when they do move around they can at least have a set of contacts which would really help them."

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