- Jason Johnson 24 Dec 2019, 15:31
The Royal British Legion’s seafront Bennet House in Portrush, Co Antrim has been tipped for imminent closure
But it’s been tipped for imminent closure due to financial pressures.
Veterans and supporters of the house are being urged to gather at noon outside the property on the Saturday after Christmas.
An organiser said the proposed closure would be “nothing short of outrageous and we need to send a very strong message of the Royal British Legion”.
The four-storey centre, with 15 ensuite rooms, has provided solace for soldiers suffering from PTSD and other complications as a result of their service.
The ‘Poppy Break Centre’ has a social area, roof terrace, games room and offers the services of visiting therapists and trips away.
It underwent a £2m refurbishment in 2011 and was said by management at the time to be in good order for the next 20 years.
It is one of four Poppy Break Centres across the UK where qualifying guests and relatives can stay for free for up to two weeks at a time.
Around 20 staff work at the building and are seen as a lifeline for many guests, including elderly veterans.
The RBL, which turns 100 years old in 2021, said as part of making it “fit for the next 100 years” it was proposing to focus on more funding for “externalised organisations who are providing specialist or localised support.”
It said: “We do not make these proposals lightly and we are well aware of the impact they could have on staff and users.”
A statement added: “Consultation around the Legion’s current proposals is expected to last until early 2020.”
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
If you or a Veteran you know is suffering from PTSD, Anxiety, Loneliness or Depression, you are not alone.
The – Minds At War – Crisis Support Helpline Number is open 24/7 and a First Responder is on call at all times.
- 0800 031 4368
You can also ring this same number during normal hours and seek advice, support and guidance.