Veterans camp shaping up for grand opening

A NEW centre in a military fort to help veterans traumatised by war is beginning to take shape.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 8:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th August 2018, 8:18 pm

An innovative project led by charity Forgotten Veterans that is looking to provide a stunning retreat for suffering veterans at Fort Cumberland is on course to be ready for its planned opening in November.

Veterans will be able to camp out at the fort to help their recovery after receiving backing from Historic England which runs the site.

The stunning location will have specially trained support staff on hand, the opportunity to share experiences with other like-minded individuals, as well as providing a strong network of support to fend off isolation and loneliness.

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The centre will be made up of transformed casemates '“ fortified structures from which guns used to be fired '“ and will include a safe room, kitchen as well as communal area with pool tables, television, game stations and sofas.

And with a building camp of 70 people spending three days of toil to help get much of the site ready, Gary Weavings, who set up Forgotten Veterans, was delighted with the progress.

He said: '˜We've had great support from those who have been here including charity Building Heroes. It has been an amazing team effort with everyone running around to get things ready at short notice.

'˜The casements have been stripped down and prepared for decoration and the electricity has been done. We've also had the outdoor shower completed along with a new patio for the campfire. It looks great and we couldn't have done it without everyone mucking in.'

Gary said there will be another building camp in September which will be even bigger with plans to throw open their doors as a preview to the official opening in November.

'˜We want as many people as possible to come here and see what is going on. I would love to see cadets, the Royal Engineers and even the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire here as well as members of the public so they can meet the veterans.'

Leader of Portsmouth City Council Gerald Vernon-Jackson, MP Stephen Morgan and Lord Mayor Lee Mason were visited  the site in June when plans were outlined.