Hull Veterans' Support Centre in survival scramble
A LIFELINE for veterans may soon be forced to close despite only opening in the summer.
Hull Veterans' Support Centre claims smaller charities are struggling to survive as larger organisations attract the bulk of public donations.
Four former servicemen eager to help fellow veterans settle back into life in Civvy Street opened a small unit at the Louis Pearlman Centre, off Hessle Road, in July.
But David Bragg, director and trustee of the centre, says tapping into funding pots and raising cash from the public is proving almost impossible.
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The centre, which has helped traumatised soldiers seek treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, faces imminent closure.
Falklands veteran Mr Bragg, who served 22 years in the RAF, said: "Large national organisations, such as the Royal British Legion and Help For Heroes, get the lion's share of the public's benevolence due to their ability to grab the limelight for their fundraising activities nationally.
"It is leaving smaller, local veterans' support organisations scrambling to survive."
Mr Bragg acknowledged the "fantastic job" of larger, nationwide charities but claimed little cash goes towards helping servicemen and women once they leave the Forces.
He said: "Very little of the funding they receive filters down to focused local veterans' support projects and, in the case of Help For Heroes, they only support current Armed Forces personnel or those who have served since 2001.
"There is a need for focused local support for all Armed Forces veterans from all eras.
"Hull Veterans' Support Centre was set up to provide that support in Hull and East Yorkshire."
Mr Bragg, 62, of west Hull, said the centre is struggling to keep its head above the water.
He said: "Funding has, so far, come from the pockets of the volunteer veterans involved in the project and supplemented by a small pot of donations from supporters.
"Unfortunately, this pot is about to dry up unless a funding lifeline can be found.
"None of us are especially rich – we can't continue dipping into our own pockets to keep the centre going."
Mr Bragg said he was disappointed the service had been unsuccessful in gaining funding grants.
Mr Bragg said: "Our problem, when applying for grants, has been the fact that we have been unable to say, with precision, how many veterans there are out there.
"The figure is just not known."
To make a donation, visit www.hullveteranssupportcentre.org.uk