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Corporal Andy Reid on hand at the opening of a new 23-bed facility for army veterans opens in Manchester

A new facility providing life-changing support for armed forces veterans who are living with addiction and mental health issues has opened in Prestwich, Manchester. 

Leon House will support ex-army service personnel who have suffered from an addiction, such as gambling problems and alcohol dependency, following their time in the forces or mental health issues like PTSD. The 23-bed facility is funded solely by large corporations, with assistance from Step Forward Homes. 

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It will provide a much-needed refuge for individuals who have been admitted to the clinic by providing a crucial lifeline and helping veterans who have struggled to get back on to their feet. The facility is free to use, taking referrals from GPs, army charities and other related professionals. 

The Duke of Westminster was on hand to open the clinic, after being invited to the facility by Corporal Andy Reid MBE - an ambassador for JMW’s armed forces claims and a long-term supporter of Leon House. The Duke of Westminster’s Foundation is currently working to address issues that lead to homelessness and mental health problems. 

Corporal Reid lost both his legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED while serving with the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan in 2009. His injuries were so bad that it was thought he may not survive, however, he astounded people with his recovery and returned home after just two weeks in hospital. 

Andy is involved with several charities, as well as his role with JMW Solicitors, whereby he is hoping to end the ‘man-up’ culture, which continues to dominate the armed forces. With his work, he is hoping to raise awareness around advice and support for service personnel who have suffered as a result of their role. 

The struggle faced by many army veterans is close to his heart, having seen a number of former colleagues struggle to transition to civilian life after their time in the armed forces. Andy was personally able to help one man whom he had served alongside, and whom Andy credits with saving his life in Afghanistan. 

Upon leaving the army to spend more time with his child, 28-year-old Alex was left homeless as a result of PTSD and ultimately attempted to take his own life. Andy reached out to Alex, paying for him to travel up to Manchester and supporting him to rebuild his life. 

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Colonel Reid MBE said: “Leon House will quite literally save lives - there are so many men and women who struggle with mental health issues and related problems including addiction after leaving the armed forces mainly due to the experiences they’ve had and the things they’ve seen. We know that support for veterans is woefully inadequate - and that’s across the board, really, from housing through to mental healthcare - so places like Leon House and organisations like Step Forward Homes play a big part in closing the gap.

He continued: “Leon House will be a lifeline for so many veterans in need of a helping hand. I’m really pleased to be able to support the team here, and I’m grateful to the Duke of Westminster for taking the time to come down today and lend his support.”

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