A CHARITY offering help and support to military veterans is to set up an outreach base in Darwen.
Veterans in Communities, based in Haslingden, will launch the new centre in the coming weeks.
Based at the town hall in Croft Street, the charity will support ex-service personnel, their families and members of the uniformed services who have experienced difficulties in their transition from their military to civilian life.
The outreach centre, to be open on Tuesdays, will be run by ex-servicemen Danny Flaherty and Patrick O’Reilly.
Both were medically discharged from the Army after suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mr Flaherty, 47, of Mill Hill, Blackburn, left the Royal Army Ordnance Corps 27 years ago but said he never received the kind of support available now.
He said: “I never got any help until very recently but I want to help the lads coming out now.
“PTSD is a big thing, especially with soldiers returning from places like Iraq.
“But it is only in the past few years that it has started coming into the limelight.
“Doctors don’t really have a clue how to deal with it.”
Mr Flaherty said that when the outreach centre was up and running, it would give people a place to talk about their problems and get support and help.
He said: “It will be like a drop-in for people to come in and talk to us.
“There will be posters up around the town and if people call the main office in Haslingden they will be directed to us in Darwen.”
Mr O’Reilly, 40, spent five years in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment but was discharged with PTSD after a tour of Bosnia in 1996.
He said: “I didn’t know there was help out there and I had a really bad time.
“We want to help out people in that same position.
“Darwen is full of veterans and we have a lot of young soldiers and this is a service that is really needed.”
To help with initial start-up costs, Darwen Town Council has agreed to donate £500 to the charity.
Town Council deputy chairman Coun Trevor Maxfield, who is also armed forces champion at Blackburn with Darwen Council, proposed the donation at Tuesday’s town council meeting.