A CHARITY says it is not reopening a recovery centre for wounded veterans in order to switch its attention to providing more support online and in the community.

Help for Heroes has announced it will not be resuming its operations at Chavasse VC House Recovery Centre, in Berechurch Road, Colchester, due to financial problems.

The charity says it is expecting its income to drop 30 per cent in 2020, from £27 million to about £19 million, due to coronavirus and is predicting a similar situation in future years. This means it has turned its attention to making savings and 142 staff roles are at risk.

It says the closure of Chavasse VC House is a shift towards community-focused support to protect the long-term future of the charity.

Lis Skeet, services director, said: “Whilst Covid has been an accelerator, we were already recognising our work in the community was increasingly having a positive impact.

“We are concentrated on a community model and do want to build on that so this is where our efforts will be focused.

"Like a lot of charities Covid has shown us how vulnerable more traditional models of support can be.

“We are building up our online support so we feel we are future proofing our services. We want to keep building on what we do as the need is not going away.”

Ms Skeet said Chavasse VC House, which only opened in 2012, will still be available for use by the MoD for serving personnel.

“We have been in conversations with the MoD as we want the investment made in the centre to still be used by wounded, injured and sick service personnel,” she said.

“Our intention is to work with them so they can make optimum use of the centre. Whether we are able to occasionally operate some activities from there will be something we can explore.”

Colchester residents have been huge supporters of Chavasse House over the years, including in 2014 when £110,000 was donated to a Gazette backed campaign to create a new garden at the premises.

Ms Skeet insisted Colchester residents would still have the same level of support on offer, but the changes would help the charity better serve the whole of the region.

She said: “We are really grateful for all the support from the people of Colchester.

"There are 12 team members in Colchester and the majority of those posts are not affected.

"The team will continue to step up doing their work out in the community.

"Services will still be delivered and welfare support is still available.

“We don’t want to create anxiety for veterans and we are building on models we have worked on for a number of years.”