A CHARITY shop is bringing new hope to homeless ex-service personnel on Wearside.
Homeless Heroes, in St Thomas Street, Sunderland, aims to raise vital funds to help get former members of the Army, RAF and Royal Navy off the streets and into accommodation and work.
Shop manager Davie Norman said the branch has been flooded with donations since it opened its doors for the first time early last month.
“We’ve had a really good response from the public,” said the 62-year-old. “People have been very generous. They have been bringing in jigsaws, clothes and toys.
“We’ve also arranged to have items picked up from people’s homes if they struggle to get out to drop things off at the shop.”
Since its launch in October, Easington-based Homeless Heroes, which runs a range of support services as well as fund-raising activities, has been inundated with ex-service personnel.
The charity already has shops in Gateshead, Easington and Stockton.
Former troop sergeant Davie, from Chester-le-Street, said: “The problem of service personnel experiencing difficulties after leaving the Armed Forces seems to be getting worse and worse.
“It is definitely something that isn’t going to go away any time soon.
“We seem to be getting more and more people coming to us for help all of the time.”
Davie, who served in the 5th Regiment Royal Artillery for 23 years before leaving after suffering a string of sporting injuries, also has two sons in the Armed Forces.
Tony, 32, is a corporal in the RAF currently serving in Afghanistan while Bobby, 29, is a staff sergeant based in Canada with the Royal Logistics Corps.
“It’s important that we give our Forces’ personnel all the support we can,” added Davie. “A lot find it difficult to adjust back to civilian life.
“It is important that they know that there is someone there to help them.”