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Last call for help as Shropshire veteran's charity risks closure

By Mat Growcott | Newport | News | Published:

Veterans are making a last ditch effort to save their charity after years of trying to find a location for a base.

Veterans who marched against changes at Combat Stress

Bosses at the Veterans' Respite Centre (VRC) are putting out a final call for help from landowners in and around Newport in the hopes of providing help to former armed service personnel with mental health issues.

The charity was set up by former service users at Combat Stress in Audley Court, and it was hoped that it would be able to set up its respite centre on the grounds of the charity.

But after more than a year of work, Combat Stress turned down the Veterans' Respite Centre's application, and left them searching for a new base.

The grounds need to be big enough for six 40ft containers to be housed, and would act as a home for veterans who need respite services.

Pete Neale was one of the people leading the procession when veterans marched against ceasing residential treatment at Combat Stress in October 2017.

In the years since, he has worked to find an alternative respite for veterans, going as far as to become director of the Veteran's Respite Centre when it formed.

He said the charity needed someone to step up and help them.

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"Me and my team are still working hard to find a building but we are hitting brick walls at every turn," he said.

"If it is not possible to find a place, then I don't know where else to turn to after two years of hard work and sleepless nights.

"I want to say a massive thank you to my team and the close people around us that have put their own time in to try and get it off the ground.

"I feel that we were let down, but we have moved on from that now. If anyone knows of any buildings or land that are suitable, please get in touch. If not we will have to look at closing down the VRC."

A poll would be started of Veteran's Respite Centre members, asking them where they think raised funds should be donated if the centre closed.

Mr Neale said: "I feel that I have put my life and soul into this over the past two years. It's took its toll but I still got up and carried on."

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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