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Cromer earmarked for centre to tackle stress of war

PUBLISHED: 08:13 01 June 2011

Tom Weston and (L) Darren Chapman inside the new Bridge for Heroes charity shop in King's Lynn, which has been set up to offer emotional support for both serving and retired personnel, their families and the families of those killed in action. Picture: Ian Burt.

Tom Weston and (L) Darren Chapman inside the new Bridge for Heroes charity shop in King's Lynn, which has been set up to offer emotional support for both serving and retired personnel, their families and the families of those killed in action. Picture: Ian Burt.

Archant © 2011

Cromer is being earmarked for a centre to help servicemen and women and veterans take their first steps in tackling post-traumatic stress.

Army veteran Mike Taylor and his charity The Bridge for Heroes has opened the country’s first dedicated town centre facility to offer emotional support for those at risk of suffering from the disorder in King’s Lynn.

But Mr Taylor also wants to open centres in Hunstanton and Cromer as well as hotels in the two coastal towns to give serving and former troops and their families a free holiday by 2014.

The veteran, who served in the Gulf, Northern Ireland and Bosnia, said: “Service personnel can drop into our new centre for a free tea or coffee, to chat to others and to access a range of support services and people trained to listen to the issues they face.

“Such is the concern growing nationally about the extent of post-traumatic stress among service personnel and veterans that there is pressure to use the Lynn initiative as a blueprint to establish centres all over the country.

“We also want to establish respite centres where servicemen from all over the country can try to recuperate and recover from their mental scars.”

Mr Taylor said they had planned to open the new facility at the end of the year, but the was so great the date was brought forward.

“We have been taking it day by day and we are still putting things into place but already we have had 30 people come along here.”

“I set out thinking that to start off with if we only helped one person a month that would suit me but to get so many people so early on has been fantastic.”

The charity has already made links with Combat Stress, which delivers dedicated treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women with post-traumatic stress disorder, and SSAFA, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

For more information about the charity, visit www.thebridgeforheroes.org


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