Black tie ball marks first anniversary of Burnley charity that has proved to be a lifeline for ex veterans

An organisation based in Burnley, that helps to support veterans, has celebrated its first anniversary with a black tie ball that raised £3,000.

In its first year Healthier Heroes has helped 68 homeless veterans and supported 27 still living at its headquarters, Bancroft House in Elizabeth Street, and the organisation's two move on properties. Healthier Heroes as also supported 70 families within the community.

The numerous people who have helped to support Healthier Heroes were guests at the ball, held at Burnley Football Club, and they were thanked by founder Andrew Powell.

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He said: "What a fantastic night we had at the ball.

A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes

"There are so many people we want to thank for the support we have had over the last year. It has been amazing and we have done exactly what we set out to do, and the last year has proved that."

Andrew also paid tribute to his 'fantastic' team of staff and volunteers, adding: "A massive thank you to them as they work so hard."

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As the organisation goes from strength to strength Andrew said that 2022 holds many more exciting opportunities for them.

Earlier this year the project was held up as a model of 'best practice' for reducing homelessness in a special presentation at Downing Street. Healthier Heroes was one of several projects showcased at Number 10.

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A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes

Offering a range of services, including counselling and practical advice to help ex vets learn skills to help them live independently and find a job, the charity has gone from strength to strength with Andy receiving referrals daily from across the county.

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Using the mantra 'Unite as one, inspire each other, believe anything is possible' Healthier Heroes was established in Wigan two years ago but Andrew always hoped he could bring the project to his hometown.

That dream came true and the Burnley based Healthier Heroes has become the flagship for the project across Lancashire.

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The Downing Street honour came hot on the heels of the project winning £40,000 from the National Lottery's community fund. The money allowed Healthier Heroes to employ two outreach workers to help with the ever-increasing number of people in the community who need its help that don’t necessarily need housing.

A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes
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The cash has also allowed the purchase of a minibus, a vital part of the service because it means they can get service users out to pursue hobbies such as fishing and football, and pick also up people in the community who can’t get to appointments.

Housed in a four-storey grade II listed building in Elizabeth Street it was named Bancroft House in honour of Andrew’s friend and fellow veteran, Lance Corporal Jordan Dean Bancroft who died in action in 2010.

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Since its opened, the building has been full to capacity with all rooms being occupied by veterans, further highlighting the importance of the group’s work in the area.

A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes
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A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes
A black tie ball was held to mark the first anniversary of Burnley's Healthier Heroes