Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 11:04 UK

Centre to help homeless veterans

A centre to help homeless veterans rebuild their lives is to open on Tyneside, a charity has announced.

The unit, which is due to be completed in Newcastle later this year, is likely to be followed by others in major cities throughout the UK.

The housing charity Norcare said the project would cost about £700,000.

The centre will offer accommodation for five people, as well as a day centre where up to 35 visitors will be able to get employment and financial help.

The unit, which has the support of the Royal British Legion, will focus on ex-services personnel who have fallen on hard times after returning to civilian life following active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'Hard times'

A recent study revealed many were living rough, or were "sofa surfers", staying for short spells in friends' living rooms.

Norcare chief executive Susan Bickerton said: "The public is aware of the ongoing conflicts, but society has forgotten the army of war veterans that have returned from combat, left the forces and fallen on hard times.

"Hundreds if not thousands of war veterans have slipped through the support net and are extremely vulnerable.

"Working with The Royal British Legion, Norcare is piloting a centre that will re-create home life for ex-servicemen and women that have fallen on hard times while they are helped to find homes and employment.

"We need to rebuild their lives and help re-integrate them back into civilian life."

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