A Lynn-based charity which provides life-saving support to servicemen and women and their families has been saved by a £103,000 government grant.
Bridge for Heroes was set up by veteran Mike Taylor in 2010, taking up residence in South Clough Lane in 2011.
The charity has supported hundreds of veterans suffering with mental health problems and post traumatic stress disorder, but was faced with closure due to a lack of funding.
After surviving hand-to-mouth for many months, the news of the grant is a dream come true for Mr Taylor.
He said: “It’s unbelievable. It’s a lifeline. This is a safe place, a secure and friendly environment which keeps people alive until we can get them the right help.
“When I got the phone call I felt complete relief. We were fundraising every day to survive every day. This gives us two years of stability.”
The cash will come from a special fund established to distribute the money paid in fines by banks involved in the Libor scandal to good causes.
Mr Taylor served in the army for 17 years before setting up the charity.
He said: “I wanted to do something to do with post traumatic stress disorder and troops, both serving and retired. I knew there was a need but I didn’t realise the need was this big.”
In its first year Bridge for Heroes provided 1,200 support sessions and currently helps people aged from 18 to 92.
Serving or retired service personnel can be referred to the charity or can drop in to its ccontact centre on Fridays and Saturdays from 10am to 4pm. A helpline also provides support to those in need.
Thanks to the funding boost the centre will be able to open over Christmas, a particularly difficult time of the year for many in the forces.
Mr Taylor is also hoping to use some of the funding to provide overnight accommodation for some of the people who visit the centre for support. He would also like to increase the number of support and counselling sessions from 350 a month to 600 a month.
He said: “I’m over the moon. It’s like a dream. It’s all the people you see and you know it’s helping, past, present and those that are yet to come in.
“I would like to thank the MOD’s Libor fund. The difference it will make is direct and immediate.”
Bridge for Heroes will be open on Christmas Eve, December 27, 28 and 31. Anyone needing can drop in or contact the team on 01553 760230.