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Preston’s Armed Forces Group could close through lack of funds

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Admin officer Mark Banks and Tony Richards (secretary) at  the Armed Forces Group offices in Preston Guildhall Arcade

UNCERTAIN FUTURE: Admin officer Mark Banks and Tony Richards (secretary) at the Armed Forces Group offices in Preston Guildhall Arcade

A veterans’ group, designed to help ex-service staff adjust to civilian life, is facing closure after struggling to attract funding.

Preston’s Armed Forces Group has already lost one member of staff through a lack of cash, and now faces an uncertain future.

But volunteers are hoping to relaunch the service, and are calling on people across Preston to offer their support.

The group, based in the city’s Guild Hall arcade, has been running for almost two years and staff have been funded by the Poppy Factory – part of the Royal British Legion.

But now the cash is running out, and by the end of March the group will be left with no paid staff, after they failed to attract any alternative funding.

Secretary Tony Richards said: “Unless things improve, at the end of March we will be a purely voluntary organisation, which means we need to get more volunteers. What we are after is people with expertise in certain areas.

“We are a sign posting service. Our main areas are benefits and pensions, employment, health – both psychological and physical – and we are also looking to do support and well being like coffee mornings.

“So we are looking for people with expertise in any of these areas to come in and help – or even if they want to make brews we would welcome it.”

He said the service, which has helped more than 400 people, was under threat of closure without help from volunteers, but said he was trying to be optimistic.

Coun Drew Gale, member champion for armed forces, called on the people of Preston to offer their time or help with fundraising.

He said it would be a “tragedy” if the service were to have to close.

He said: “We are all about giving something back to the military community who have given so much to us.”

 

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