Warrington charity at risk of closure

Warrington Guardian: Mark Smith Mark Smith

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.

Comments (10)

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4:35pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Nick Tessla says...

I do give money to the British legion and Help for Heroes.


However - I can't help thinking that there are too many charities supporting armed forces causes - it seems to be a real growth industry. One where too many are chasing the same money.

On a recent, brief, trip into town I encountered people raising funds for two more that I hadn't heard of before.

Perhaps they should amalgamate, pool resources and effort and be more effective.
I do give money to the British legion and Help for Heroes. However - I can't help thinking that there are too many charities supporting armed forces causes - it seems to be a real growth industry. One where too many are chasing the same money. On a recent, brief, trip into town I encountered people raising funds for two more that I hadn't heard of before. Perhaps they should amalgamate, pool resources and effort and be more effective. Nick Tessla

4:44pm Thu 20 Feb 14

GRUMPY PARENT says...

Nick Tessla wrote:
I do give money to the British legion and Help for Heroes.


However - I can't help thinking that there are too many charities supporting armed forces causes - it seems to be a real growth industry. One where too many are chasing the same money.

On a recent, brief, trip into town I encountered people raising funds for two more that I hadn't heard of before.

Perhaps they should amalgamate, pool resources and effort and be more effective.
Have to agree with you on this Nick.
[quote][p][bold]Nick Tessla[/bold] wrote: I do give money to the British legion and Help for Heroes. However - I can't help thinking that there are too many charities supporting armed forces causes - it seems to be a real growth industry. One where too many are chasing the same money. On a recent, brief, trip into town I encountered people raising funds for two more that I hadn't heard of before. Perhaps they should amalgamate, pool resources and effort and be more effective.[/p][/quote]Have to agree with you on this Nick. GRUMPY PARENT

8:20pm Thu 20 Feb 14

Angel Sue says...

Having benefited from Blue Apple Charity's, family orientated approach I hope this valuable resource continues to be available to our North west ex forces families.We as a family have been unable to access help from help 4 heroes as my husbands service was prior to 9/11 and therefore not "eligible" for their help.
Blue Apple do not discriminate in this manner and have quite honestly saved my husbands life on many occasions..
PTSD is so much more than an anger/drink/drugs issue....and it effects entire families.....Blue Apple acknowledge this in a way a lot of the other charitie do not....
so from the bottom of my heart, I implore you to help them if possible and help my husband, my children and myself.
Having benefited from Blue Apple Charity's, family orientated approach I hope this valuable resource continues to be available to our North west ex forces families.We as a family have been unable to access help from help 4 heroes as my husbands service was prior to 9/11 and therefore not "eligible" for their help. Blue Apple do not discriminate in this manner and have quite honestly saved my husbands life on many occasions.. PTSD is so much more than an anger/drink/drugs issue....and it effects entire families.....Blue Apple acknowledge this in a way a lot of the other charitie do not.... so from the bottom of my heart, I implore you to help them if possible and help my husband, my children and myself. Angel Sue

11:33pm Thu 20 Feb 14

freakybritgal says...

Devastated if this happens this charity has been the only charity that has helped us and numerous other family's . Gutted that the help that is needed and used are the charity's that are struggling . This charity is the only one that helps the family's also . If there is no support for the family's 90% of them split up and the veterans are alone and struggle to live in society . Why not give this charity a chance and let them do there work because they have a lot more to offer than any other charity .
Devastated if this happens this charity has been the only charity that has helped us and numerous other family's . Gutted that the help that is needed and used are the charity's that are struggling . This charity is the only one that helps the family's also . If there is no support for the family's 90% of them split up and the veterans are alone and struggle to live in society . Why not give this charity a chance and let them do there work because they have a lot more to offer than any other charity . freakybritgal

12:10pm Fri 21 Feb 14

denihair says...

Blue apple heroes support the veteran and family that suffer the effects of combat post traumatic stress disorder, they emphasize on helping the families.
Blue Apple help from all conflicts,unlike help for heroes!
The British Legion helps practically if you need a fridge etc,and they are a great charity which I support,and have raised money for.
There are many great veterans charities out there that talk the talk ! But Blue Apple are walking the walk.
@ Blue Apple the founder Mark Smith is still to this day a sufferer of combat PTSD.Who better to help others than someone that knows.
Blue apple heroes support the veteran and family that suffer the effects of combat post traumatic stress disorder, they emphasize on helping the families. Blue Apple help from all conflicts,unlike help for heroes! The British Legion helps practically if you need a fridge etc,and they are a great charity which I support,and have raised money for. There are many great veterans charities out there that talk the talk ! But Blue Apple are walking the walk. @ Blue Apple the founder Mark Smith is still to this day a sufferer of combat PTSD.Who better to help others than someone that knows. denihair

12:28pm Fri 21 Feb 14

denihair says...

Check them out for yourselves www.blueappleheroes.
org.uk/‎
Check them out for yourselves www.blueappleheroes. org.uk/‎ denihair

7:21pm Fri 21 Feb 14

Sephton Trophy says...

Blue Apple are a charity actually doing and helping the veterans quickly unlike some of the other charities, you can ring them and they get back 2 weeks later which is too late. Keep up the good work and see you at Crosfields for Armed Forces Day again.
Blue Apple are a charity actually doing and helping the veterans quickly unlike some of the other charities, you can ring them and they get back 2 weeks later which is too late. Keep up the good work and see you at Crosfields for Armed Forces Day again. Sephton Trophy

12:14pm Sat 22 Feb 14

bigblueone says...

To grumpy Parent and Nick,
I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council.
I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude.
When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health
Big Blue One
To grumpy Parent and Nick, I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council. I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude. When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health Big Blue One bigblueone

12:23pm Sat 22 Feb 14

denihair says...

bigblueone wrote:
To grumpy Parent and Nick,
I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council.
I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude.
When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health
Big Blue One
Well said !
[quote][p][bold]bigblueone[/bold] wrote: To grumpy Parent and Nick, I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council. I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude. When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health Big Blue One[/p][/quote]Well said ! denihair

3:20pm Sat 22 Feb 14

Sephton Trophy says...

bigblueone wrote:
To grumpy Parent and Nick,
I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council.
I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude.
When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health
Big Blue One
Well said. You do a great job and Im honoured to be one of your volunteers.
[quote][p][bold]bigblueone[/bold] wrote: To grumpy Parent and Nick, I fully understand where you are coming from, there are a lot of armed forces charity's out there making many claims, however we do exactly what it says on the tin and we are supported and advised by the national veterans council. I set the charity up because the system failed both myself and my family and I had a look at who was doing what and was it available in the Warrington and surrounding areas and there was nothing like what we do. The RBL do a fantastic job, but they are limited when it comes to Combat PTSD. We refer to RBL, Combat Stress, Saffa and War Pensions. To get a veterans referred and seen and given a place by Combat stress could take up to 18 months, who helps that family or that veteran during that period? And that's the other reason for setting up the charity. We have approx 8-12 calls daily from a veteran, partner or Psychiatric hospital asking if we can help. We will visit a veteran in hospital within 24hrs and we will give them hope I am living prove that you can manage this illness, but it takes a lot of hard work, it is not easy and I still have times when I get very depressed and low, but I have to fight otherwise we go under. I only wish there was one big Veterans charity that was national and they helped veterans and families from all conflicts with everything, but unfortunately there is not, but maybe, just maybe Blue Apple may one day be that, after all we have helped families directly in the Isle of White to Scotland with items for family's in dire straights with finances because the husband has lost his job because of his Combat stress. By speaking to other charity's in there areas, some are helpful, some are downright rude. When a veteran takes an hostage off the street or barricades himself in, that could effect the whole community, taking up many personnel from the emergency services. Which charity is on hand in Merseyside to help with this 24/7 Blue Apple is, unpaid just a volunteer. I don't see the police ringing up RBL or any other charity's at 2am in the morning, but that's what I do. Yes I have a big heart and I have empathy, but I also have the qualifications to go with it from my 5 years spent in social work working with ex offenders with mental health Big Blue One[/p][/quote]Well said. You do a great job and Im honoured to be one of your volunteers. Sephton Trophy

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