VIP opening of flagship project in Burnley that will reach out to ex veterans in need across the county

The home of a flagship project, that will help veterans who may be struggling to get back on their feet, was officially opened in a VIP ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday.

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 7:00 am

The Mayor of Burnley Coun. Wajid Khan performed the honours at Healthier Heroes in Elizabeth Street.

Guests included Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham and the family of Jordan Bancroft, a young soldier who died 10 years ago in Afghanistan.

The renovated building that will house the project has been named Bancroft House in Jordan's honour.

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Pictured at the official opening of Healthier Heroes are Andrew Powell (back left) with his wife Rio who is co founder of Bancroft House and service delivery director and (left to right) Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham, Hyndburn MP Sara Britcliffe and Christian Wakefield who is MP for Bury South. (picture by Helen Cottam)

Andrew Powell, an ex soldier and the driving force behind Healthier Heroes, had two portraits commissioned of Jordan, one to present to his parents, Tony and Sheila, and the second, which was unveiled on Saturday, andwilll take pride of place in Bancroft House.

Jordan, who was born in Burnley and later moved to Earby, joined the Army in September 2001 and, on completion of his training, was posted to 1st Battalion, The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment before its amalgamation on 1 July 2006.

Throughout his time in the Army, he served with distinction on three operational tours and he was deployed twice to Iraq on Op TELIC 2 and 11.

Housed in one of Burnley's most historic buildings that once served as the original town hall, guided tours of the newly renovated premises were held for guests to see the facilities. including a community hub and new kitchens and accommodation.

Andrew show the Mayor of Burnley Coun. Wajid Khan around the kitchen area. (picture by Helen Cottam)

The launch is the fulfillment of a dream for Andrew who began the project in Wigan two years ago.

He always wanted to bring the scheme to his hometown and now the Burnley base will be the flagship for Healthier Heroes that will reach out to ex soldiers across the county to help take them on the journey from rock bottom to getting back on their feet.

The aim is to provide 24 hour support on different levels for ex veterans operating on a two tier system with the first one being complete support for the veterans to help them face their issues and deal with any drug related problems and addictions they may have. They will receive intensive and professional help and counselling.

Then they can move to the second tier where they can live independently within the project, managing their own living space, learn how to cook and budget and also look at finding employment or go into re-training.

Tony and Sheila Bancroft with the portrait of their son, Jordan and Jordan's cousin, Jack and his girlfriend Georgia. (picture by Helen Cottam)

Since Healthier Heroes, a community interest not for profit company, was launched it has helped 200 veterans and their families and Andrew wants to extend that even further to the whole of Lancashire.

Already in the space of a few months, Andrew and his team have been inundated with offers of support from across Lancashire in may different ways as the huge task of refurbishing the building has been underway.

They are already currently working with 23 veterans in Lancashire providing them with different levels of support.

Andrew said: "This is a safe and friendly place for homeless veterans across Lancashire and also a space for the wider armed forces community to come and get help when they need it."

An interior image at Healthier Heroes (picture by Helen Cottam)

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help the work of Healthier Heroes is asked to click HERE.

The ribbon cutting and portrait unveiling ceremony at Healthier Heroes on Saturday (picture by Helen Cottam)
The patriotic Christmas Tree at Healthier Heroes trimmed with Union Jack flags (picture by Helen Cottam)