Norfolk heroes charity hopes to expand
A charity which offers support to serving troops and veterans is looking to expand and open a new centre in Hunstanton by the end of year.
The Bridge for Heroes only opened its first dedicated town centre facility in King's Lynn in May but volunteers have already been swamped by people in need of their support.
Charity founder Mike Taylor told the EDP last night that so far more than 100 people have visited the centre for support and advice.
Mr Taylor, who served in the Gulf, Northern Ireland and Bosnia, said: 'When the centre in King's Lynn opened, I thought if we only helped one person a month that would be great.
'But we have had far more interest than we could have ever possibly anticipated and I've been amazed by the amount of people coming in.
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'This has meant we have had to train more volunteers who can interact and talk to those people coming in for support and advice.
'It also means that we are looking to open another centre in Hunstanton as soon as possible and at the very latest by the end of the year.'
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As well as a place to seek support, the Lynn centre, in South Clough Lane, also operates as a charity shop and boasts a small museum of British military history.
It is hoped that the vision for helping soldiers, veterans and their families in Norfolk could be replicated across the rest of the country.
Mr Taylor added the charity wants to open a base in Lynn soon which will take end-of-line stock from national chain stores and sell them in the charity's centres to raise funds.
In addition, the charity wants to open a hotel in Hunstanton by 2014 to give serving and former troops and their families a free holiday.
Mr Taylor continued: 'We are looking at taking some of the families we have already helped away on a respite break.
'It would also be good to set up a trip where we take 10 veterans with carers over to somewhere like Germany and do a tour of the battlefields.
'We could incorporate a respite break on this tour and it will give us a good chance to assess them.'
Mr Taylor added the charity wants to compile a book of short stories from serving troops and veterans as a way of raising funds for these trips.
The Lynn centre is open from 10am until 3pm from Monday to Saturday and for more information visit www.thebridgeforheroes.org.