FORMER soldiers from the Royal Engineers have generously put their skills to good use for a much-loved charity.
Veterans from the Royal Engineers Solent and District Association spent the weekend at Off The Record, in Fratton, repairing walls, windows and clearing up the garden.
It’s fantastic for the Royal Engineers Association to have stepped in like thisTony Ford
Tony Ford, a director of the young people’s counselling service, mentioned to Jim Millis, from the newly-formed association, that the building needed maintenance, and Mr Millis got a team of 10 together.
He said: ‘Being in the Royal Engineers, we are a group with a lot of different skills – painting and decorating, plumbing, carpentry and brick-laying.
‘We’ve only recently formed the Solent and District Association and felt we really wanted to give something back to the community.’
Dave Kilgannon said: ‘We are the first new Royal Engineers Association branch in 40 years.
‘Our aim is to support each other and if ever one of us falls on hard times we are there for them.
‘It’s nice to be able to give something back to other people too – through our time.
‘Off the Record is a great charity.’
Over the past few years the charity has been under threat because of continued reduction in funding from local authorities.
Last year it looked like both the Fratton and Leigh Park centres would close for good – even though thousands of young people rely on the service.
But the future is looking brighter after a huge community fundraising effort.
Mr Ford said: ‘It’s fantastic for the Royal Engineers Association to have stepped in like this.
‘We rely on people like them to help us because funds are short at the moment and the building needed repairing.
‘This time last year there was talk of us closing but, luckily we are out of the woods now.’