£30,000 to go out in grants

Julian Mineur

Julian Mineur

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AN Armed Forces fundraising group has revealed where it is to spend £30,000 gathered for veterans’ groups.

Good causes ranging from a mini-bus appeal to a commemorative service for D-Day veterans are set for a cash boost.

The Fylde Ex-Service Liaison Committee is handing out grants to a number of organisations which have applied for funding.

The committee came under fire last year when questions were raised about why no money had been distributed from a £30,000 cash pot raised from the Supporting Our Brave shop on Bank Hey Street.

A number of donations are currently being made while some cash is also being set aside to support events as part of Blackpool’s Armed Forces Week in June.

Grants agreed so far are £1,000 to 177 Airport Squadron for a trip to India to help with work on local water supplies.

£500 is to go to the Blesma home in South Shore, which supports veteran amputees in the resort, for its mini-bus appeal

A £400 grant has been put towards taking up to 40 local former servicemen to the National Arboretum for a service.

A donation of £245 to the Fylde coast branch of the Royal Air Forces Association so a band can attend the organisation’s annual church service.

Committee bosses have also put up £200 to enable local D-Day veterans to attend a commemorative service.

Meanwhile, £250 has been donated to the Sea Cadets so they can improve facilities at their base in Bispham and £160 to the Fellowship of Services.

Jacqui Longden, manager at the Blesma home, on Lytham Road, said: “I’m extremely grateful and it will go to a good cause.

“We’re trying to raise sufficient funds for a mini-bus to provide transport for residents of the home to and from hospital appointments

“It will also be used for the most recently wounded, to bring them back from Headley Court Military Hospital in Surrey to their homes across the North West and Lancashire area.”

Meanwhile, welfare workers in Blackpool have welcomed a BBC Panorama show for highlighting the plight of veterans.

The programme – Forgotten Heroes – saw Colonel Tim Collins report on the struggles of some former members of the British military as they face a return to civilian life. Some were forced to sleep rough.

Supporting Our Brave unit manager, Ray Graham, who has 30 years military experience, said: “I watched the programme and thought here we are in Blackpool delivering just what is needed.

Project manager Julian Mineur added: “We’re undertaking research work with national homeless charities regarding veterans and soon launching a project to identify senior veterans in the Fylde coast who may be socially excluded, vulnerable or just lonely.”