Wigan's armed forces HQ making a difference as it reaches first anniversary
More than 200 veterans have been given help to integrate back into civilian life since Wigan's armed forces hub opened one year ago.
Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ, which celebrates its first anniversary on Remembrance Sunday, provides specialised support for the armed forces community.
It was delivered by Wigan Council and the Ministry of Defence to offer help on a range of issues, including housing advice and financial support.
One of the people receiving support is Anthony Young, a 55-year-old ex-parachute regiment veteran.
He said: “I was going through a really bad time following a heart attack and stroke.
“I had worked all my life, been active and never asked anyone for anything. Following a stroke which affected my speech and use of my left arm, for me my life was over.
“I ended up homeless, living in a wood and had basically given up all together.
“I was in hospital when I was picked up by the HQ team. The support I received from the Armed Forces HQ has literally saved my life and I will be eternally grateful.
“I am now a lot better, have a lovely home that the HQ helped me furnish and they even got me a dog which has become a great companion. I wouldn’t be alive today without their support.”
Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ was unveiled on November 10, 2018 by war heroes Simon Weston and Andy Reid.
It is managed by Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ CIC in partnership with Healthier Heroes CIC and has also provided a base for other charities, including the Royal British Legion, which has offered its services there.
Coun David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council, said: “Thanks to the commitment demonstrated by staff and services operating from the hub, we have been able to support many of the borough’s armed forces families, from helping them integrate back into civilian life to offering financial and housing advice.
“In the last year, we have worked with charities, our partners and the local community to provide bespoke guidance, advice and support to the borough’s armed forces community. We have also been awarded a silver Employee Recognition award from the Ministry of Defence to recognise our commitment to the armed forces community.”
Wigan Sea Cadets also use the hub on School Lane, after selling their former building last year.
Coun Molyneux said: “The borough’s armed forces HQ also doubles up as a facility for the Wigan Sea Cadets to meet up and train and is another example of how Wigan borough is leading the way across the region.
“We look forward to continuing working together with our partners to ensure a prosperous future for our veterans and the HQ.”