Hilary Meredith Solicitors fully supports the Manchester Evening News’ major new campaign to raise £1 million for our official charity, Broughton House.
Broughton House is about to be transformed into a £14m care village for veterans of conflicts past and present – to tend to physical as well as mental wounds.
The M.E.N’s Million Pound Salute campaign, launched ahead of Remembrance Sunday, aims to raise £1m to help make that vision become a reality.
There are an estimated 2.6 million veterans currently living in the UK – with 20 per cent of them in the north west. Staggeringly, a quarter of all armed forces personnel are recruited from Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire and Merseyside.
Yet there’s just one other similar home for veterans in the whole of the north, set against masses of provision in the south, despite the far greater recruitment here.
Broughton House deserves to mirror the fame of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the home of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners.
The care village will include a registered nursing and dementia home with communal lounges, dining areas and a library. There will be 64 nursing home bedrooms and 34 independent living apartments.
Crucially, a military support hub will offer key support for soldiers leaving service and their families, smoothing and supporting transitions from military to civilian life by tackling keys issues surrounding alcohol and drug misuse, mental health, homelessness, education and employment.
The transformation will be partially paid for through a £3m grant from Libor funding, a government initiative to redistribute the proceeds of banking fines.
A private donation of £4m has also been pledged. The Broughton House charity is confident of securing another £6m – with the M.E.N’s appeal launched to carry the care home over the line.
The appeal mirrors a plea to the public issued in 1916 – from which Broughton House was born.
As the war with Germany raged in France, hospitals were overflowing with casualties returning from the Western Front. Each day brought more trains packed with sick and wounded soldiers.
William Coates, a Moss Side GP, was responsible for organising medical care across Greater Manchester, and by the summer of 1916, he knew the situation was a crisis.
Coates began an urgent hunt for new accommodation and stumbled across Broughton House, an old tradesman’s mansion.
Money was tight but the then mayor of Manchester and the Earl of Derby joined forces to form a charity, as Coates begged the public for donations.
Enough was raised after appeals in the press to open five homes – with Broughton House the first.
The home has gone about its work ever since – staying true to Coates’ original vision to offer care, treatment and friendship to soldiers, sailors and air force personnel. Long may it continue to do so.