A RECOVERY centre will remain closed to military veterans “for the foreseeable future”, but is open to support injured serving soldiers.

In September, Help for Heroes announced it would not be reopening Chavasse VC House, in Berechurch Road, Colchester, due to the financial strain caused by coronavirus.

Chavasse VC House is where Help for Heroes operated the majority of its recovery services for the east of England, but the charity has switched its focus to online and community-based support.

Although the centre remains closed to veterans, the MoD, based at the neighbouring Merville Barracks, says it is still offering services to wounded, injured and sick personnel from the site “both face-to-face and online in accordance with coronavirus restrictions”.

A spokesman for Help for Heroes said: “Chavasse House remains closed for the foreseeable future, however, working in the community is not new for Help for Heroes and we’re now building on those positive learnings and experiences, favouring this way of working.

“We are still working closely with MoD to ensure all centres continue to provide core recovery activities for wounded, injured or sick service personnel during lockdown and beyond.” 

Help for Heroes had 278 people in the East come forward for support between April and December, 40 of whom were from Essex.

It says all its fellowship, welfare, clinical, grants, recovery college, sports and psychological wellbeing services are continuing, just not from Chavasse House.

The spokesman said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have been adapting to the changing needs of our wounded veterans.

“Covid restrictions mean they generally have a greater need for support closer to home, in their communities and online.

“Help for Heroes has remained responsive to these changing needs, adapting its support to meet vital gaps over the past 13 years. That is partly why we are focusing on increasing delivery of face-to-face support in the community, as well as increasing digital access to the charity’s services.

“Some of these changes have been implemented after we listened to feedback and gained a greater understanding of the needs of veterans and families living in different parts of the UK and how to adapt to get better outcomes for veterans.

“It is not solely down to the pandemic, although that has accelerated the change.”