Homeless veteran given a helping hand from Falkirk businessman

Businessman Chirs Wieczorek hands over the keys to the Falkirk property to veteran John Paul Gillespie (32) from Silverburn in Glasgow.

Businessman Chirs Wieczorek hands over the keys to the Falkirk property to veteran John Paul Gillespie (32) from Silverburn in Glasgow.

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A homeless veteran has been given a boost thanks to a big hearted property developer.

Chris Wieczorek, who owns Falkirk based Wizz Properties, served in the armed forces himself for 10 years and was shocked at the rates of homelessness for former soldiers.

He decided to donate one of his properties for six months to a down-on-their-luck veteran to help them get back on their feet.

Now John Paul Gillespie (32), who served with the Royal Logistics Corps from 2000 to 2003, has a roof over his head and a job thanks to Chris.

The veteran from Silverburn, Glasgow, who served in Northern Ireland, is settling into his flat in King Street, Falkirk and with no rent to pay for six months, is looking forward to getting his life back on track.

He starts work with Wizz Properties next week and will pick up vital work experience and skills in property developing and maintenance.

Chris (43), from Bo’ness, said: “I was lucky when I left the armed forces and I found a good job working in security in the Middle East then started my property business but many soldiers aren’t so lucky.

“The rates of homelessness for former soldiers is sky high and I thought it was about time I did something to give back.”

The entrepreneur launched a Facebook appeal last month to find a suitable candidate and after working with charities Soldiers Off The Streets and Help for Heroes, he found John Paul.

In addition to helping John Paul with accommodation and work, Chris has also just purchased five flats in Falkirk to rent out to former veterans and he hopes to help many of them secure work and training too.

The father of two said: “When I posted on Facebook I wanted to help a veteran by giving them a free flat for six months, I had no idea it would grow to this.

“I ended up getting inundated with offers of help, with MGM Timber in Grangemouth supplying the flat with flooring and lots of business and individuals helping with furnishings and even food vouchers.

“I want to keep helping, my new flats for soldiers won’t charge any deposits and I hope to employ some of them too. The more work I get with the business, the more I can help soldiers after they leave the army.”

For more information on Wizz Properties,visit their Facebook page.