Lancashire’s only live-in veteran support centre opens Burnley in memory of soldier who died in Afghanistan

A recently-opened well-being centre for war veterans has expressed shock at being the only one of its kind in the area.

Bancroft House opened its doors on December 7 to military veterans in need – whether that be addiction issues, homelessness, or mental health – offering support through living spaces, food, and well-being support.

They have 22 rooms in total, across two flats – and so far, 13 veterans have taken up living there, the youngest being 21 and the oldest 73. The House accepts all genders but at present, it’s full of males.

And Kelly Liversidge, of Burnley, and fundraising manager for Bancroft House, expressed her surprise of such centres being few and far between.

She said to LancsLive: ““What surprised me was learning that we’re the only one of this type around -there is a similar service centre in Wigan, but that’s it. You would think that there would more support available to people.

The centre was set up by Andrew Powell, an army veteran himself, and named after a Burnley soldier who died during an Afghanistan tour 10 years ago- Lance Corporal Jordan Dean Bancroft.

Lance Corporal Jordan Dean Bancroft
(Image: UK Gov)

Lance Corporal Bancroft was only aged 25 when he died. He joined the Army in September 2001, initially carrying out his Phase 1 training at the Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn, before finishing at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick.

On Saturday 21 August 2010, as part of the ‘hold’ and ‘build’ phase of Operation TOR SHEZADA in Sayedabad, central Helmand in Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Bancroft’s platoon was providing essential outer security in order for a shura to take place between ISAF troops and local village elders.

Sadly, during an exchange of fire with insurgents, Lance Corporal Bancroft was shot and killed in action.

Mr Powell set up the organisation Healthier Heroes to promote wellbeing amongst support former armed forces – and wanted to carry on the service with a centre in Burnley.

And remarkably, the whole set-up has been planned and completed in just six months.

Ms Liversidge said: “Everything we have achieved has been made possible through the wonderful donations we received.”

“But we are always on the lookout for more. The more we get, the more support we can offer.

Bancroft House provides therapy, day-to-day activities, education, supporter meetings, along with rooms and food. There is also an aim to have stuff going for the festive season.

The oldest service user is 73, while the youngest is 21

Ms Liversidge continued: “Because of the coronavirus pandemic we have restrictions but we’re hoping to have something done for Christmas, something like a dinner for everyone and even some presents they can open.”

Even just getting the House off and running has been blessing for those who preside there, who just cannot believe their luck at the support they’ve been given.

Ms Liversidge said: “From where they have came from, they feel so much better; some have even called it a godsend. They just can’t believe that something like this has happened to them. They just want to get on with their lives and earn more achievements, and through us, we hope we can lend them that support.”

You can support Bancroft House via: https://www.gofundme.com/f/healthier-heroes?utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet

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