A CHARITY that helps bereaved families of military personnel has extended its reach into Portsmouth.
The Forces Support Charity was set up by Bill McCance to help the families of those killed while on deployment.
Unlike other causes which hand out financial support, the Forces Support Charity looks to help those who are left behind by doing everyday jobs and building work around the house.
Bill was born in Paulsgrove and lived in Southsea before moving away to Kidderminster in the west Midlands, where he set the charity up.
But his son Billy remained in Portsmouth, and the plan was to always have a branch of the charity based in the city.
The charity has now found a home, on the Trafalgar Wharf estate, which was formerly a Vosper Thorneycroft shipbuilding yard.
Bill said: ‘I started the charity three years ago when a good friend of mine lost her husband in Afghanistan.
‘I had a look for anyone who could offer some kind of practical support in the home.’
‘There were no charities that offered this so I decided to do something about that.’
As part of his work, Bill and his team buy furniture to refurbish then sell it on as ‘shabby chic’ to raise even more money.
The charity recently won a special merit award for social enterprise at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.
The team was also given the opportunity to meet Prime Minister David Cameron and members of the Armed Forces at a reception at Number 10 Downing Street.
‘It was a biggie,’ Bill admits.
‘For us it was a massive achievement to be alongside all the established military charities.
‘The MoD even asked us if we could extend our services and reach out to the sick and injured as well as the bereaved, which we are now looking into.’
They have two teams working to help the bereaved all over the UK but are looking to expand nationwide within the next ten years.
To find out more about the charity and its work, see forcessupport.org.uk