Cafe is proving a hit on the Heanor high street

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A NEWLY opened cafe which provides services for Heanor’s heroes has had a blistering first few months.

Elizabeth Hill, who is founder of the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust, which runs the venue, said Cafe Heroes on Market Street has become a ‘wonderful community project’ since opening its doors in November.

The part cafe, part drop-in for ex-service personnel needing help and advice is the first of its kind in the UK.

Elizabeth said: “The community have really got behind it. We have so many volunteers now it is wonderful.

“We are getting two service personnel in a day, but we are also getting in other members of the community that are just dropping by for help and support.”

The venue opens throughout the day serving hot drinks and snacks, but volunteers also help run support groups for ex-service personnel experiencing post-traumatic stress.

Training sessions to help get the servicemen and women back into work are on offer too.

In February, Gamelea Countryside Training Trust plan to open an upstairs apartment above the cafe as temporary accommodation for the town’s heroes.

A shared three-bedroom flat will be available to former serving veterans as a halfway home for a 16-week period, during which time the tenants will receive further help in finding new accommodation, employment training and holistic forms of therapy.

By the end of February the trust plans to open a separate four-bedroom home on Whysall Street behind Heroes cafe for the same purpose.

On Monday, January 16, the public are invited to a meeting at Cafe Heroes for anyone interested in volunteering there or wanting to help out raising funds for the cause.

The charity hopes some monies can be obtained from the Ministry of Defence, which has backed similar projects in the past.

The next fund raising event is on March 31 at Shottle Hall, near Belper, where a masquerade ball is planned. Tickets cost £50 and are available from the cafe.