Charity set up by Portsmouth soldiers gets a permanent home in Southsea

From left, Dan Arnold, Viv Johnston, Stephen James, and Kerry McCarran-Clarke outside the new community hub for veterans charity All Call Signs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (150619-4)
From left, Dan Arnold, Viv Johnston, Stephen James, and Kerry McCarran-Clarke outside the new community hub for veterans charity All Call Signs. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150619-4)
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A PAIR of soldiers who want to take the fight to PTSD have officially opened a base of operations for their charity.

Dan Arnold and Stephen James of All Call Signs have opened a community rendezvous in Albert Road, Southsea, holding an opening party at the weekend.

The charity, which was set up last year, offers support to armed forces veterans suffering with PTSD – ensuring they get the help they need.

Until now, nearly all of the charity’s work has been done online.

Now, Dan and Stephen hope that their new home in Albert Road will form a key part of this recovery process, creating a familiar environment for veterans to spend time together.

Dan, who was a Lance Corporal from 2PWRR, said: ‘With how much All Call Signs has grown, we decided that we needed a permanent place of residence.

‘For the most part, people in the armed forces don’t want to talk about mental health, but if they come in for a coffee and a catch-up then that conversation comes up naturally.

‘Veterans often say that they miss the military, and this is a place to have a community just like that here in the city.’

The centre, open six days a week, will give the charity a chance to help veterans get back into the world of work, as well as group sessions for people to come and take part in.

‘The plan is to hold groups that will help with therapy,’ said Dan.

‘We’ll have art therapy, counselling and so on, so we can provide support to the veteran community.

‘We really needed to be here in a central location so that everyone can access the charity – that was crucial to us because not everyone is available on the internet, and others would prefer to come and talk face-to-face.’

The charity’s work has been praised by one of its Albert Road neighbours, Labour MP Stephen Morgan.

He said: ‘These two local people are inspirational in what they do for the armed forces community both in Portsmouth but also across our nation. 

‘Their work is just one example of hundreds of organisations who are stepping up and helping those who serve the country in the armed forces.’