A CHARITY offering support to grieving military families is preparing for its 15th shop opening and has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support from the community.
Inspired to set up charity Forces Support with his 24-year-old son Billy after learning a friend’s husband had died fighting in Afghanistan, Bill McCance, from Portsmouth, has spent the past five years helping bereaved forces families rebuild their lives.
And their charity’s newest store, in High Street, Fareham, is opening on Monday, August 17.
Scores of people from across the community have pitched in to help transform the old fishing tackle store into a charity shop that will stock donated goods such as furniture, electricals and clothing.
The funds raised from the shop will help transform the lives of many military families suffering with the loss of a loved one.
Bill, 49, said: ‘When you see the difference you can make to a family’s life it makes it all worthwhile. You can’t give them their loved one back, but you can give them remembrance’
The charity employs builders and landscapers to renovate the homes and gardens of families, often providing remembrance and play areas for children.
After posting on Facebook about their new opening, volunteers from Tesco gave up their time to paint and decorate the new store, and brought down refreshments to fuel the workers.
And Steve Pilbeam from Eco Southern Limited volunteered and arranged for his supplier AMP Electrical to set up their electrics, saving the charity around £3,000.
Bill said he was pleased with the support from the community.
I felt quite overwhelmed, as it’s very rare for this to happen. It’s quite touching as Portsmouth is my home town.Bill McCance, from Forces Support
Bill, who grew up in Paulsgrove, said: ‘I felt quite overwhelmed, as it’s very rare for this to happen. It’s quite touching as Portsmouth is my home town.’
The charity has signed up for another 21 shops over the next three months and it now employs 50 staff and supports 75 families a year.
There are also 38 families on its waiting list.
If you would like to support the charity firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively search ‘Forces Support Charity’ on Facebook.