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Warrington charity at risk of closure
10:00am Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
A CHARITY tackling combat stress for veterans faces closure if it cannot find a new home.
Blue Apple Heroes, of 11 Tatton Court, Woolston, is currently housed in a rent-free warehouse but with the property now sold, has until March 3 to find a new location.
Founder Mark Smith, aged 52, a soldier for 10 years in the Army and Territorial Army, formed the charity in 2012 after his poem Blue Apples touched hundreds of ex-servicemen and women.
It supports 24 veterans regularly and advises 90 families worldwide.
He said: “If we do shut down, I fear a lot of veterans could go under. When they come here to us, the camaraderie comes back for them and they get a sense of normality.”
Mark has also criticised the Government for not doing enough to support veterans.
“After suffering from combat stress myself, I know just how devastating it is and know it affects the whole family, that’s where the Government system is failing,” he added.
“Many people affected turn to drug and alcohol as a coping strategy which is no doubt dangerous but it takes that to make them more confident with their surroundings.”
Mr Smith was a social worker for five years following his service in the Army and has done more than seven successful negotiation jobs with Merseyside Police involving ex-servicemen.
He is hoping talks with Warrington Borough Council may secure a premises in the town centre.
The charity is set to begin music lessons for veterans, with the help of Dawsons music shop which will be donating guitars, but Mr Smith stresses the need for more help.
“We are desperate for donations but if we can get a spot in the town centre it will open us up to integrate with the community more.
“But who knows when we will find another building, I’m not sleeping because of it at the minute.”
For more information call the charity on 354561 or attend a drop-in session at the Gateway, on Sankey Street, every Tuesday from 10.30am to 3pm.