AN extra £55,000 has been pledged to provide health services for army veterans and service personnel across East Lancashire.

Last year the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group agreed to provide £100,000 towards the work, part of the area’s efforts to meet the needs of the military covenant.

But now additional funding has been set aside, after the covenant was signed by a number of district councils.

And it has been announced that two support organisations, Burnley-based Salute and Veterans In Communities, will oversee how the cash is invested.

Di Van Ruitenbeek, CCG lay chairman, said: “There are an estimated 24,000 serving or retired military personnel in East Lancashire.

“I believe these two voluntary organisations will work effectively in partnership with local authorities and other organisations to improve their health and wellbeing.”

Just last week the Lancashire Telegraph also reported how Veteran Association UK, another Burnley-based organisation, is in advanced talks to provide ‘halfway’ houses for former servicemen and women.

Aileen Hutchinson, general manager of Salute, said that the organsation was looking forward to working with the CCG and Veterans in Communities so ‘key health issues’ of ex-forces personnel could be recognised and treated.

Dorothy Mitchell, of Veterans in Communities, said: “We appreciate the trust the CCG has placed in us to further develop services to the veteran community in fulfilment of the Armed Forces Community Covenant.

“We have met with Salute to discuss how we can work in partnership and we are drafting an action plan to coordinate our services across East Lancashire.

“The aim is to provide opportunities for veterans and serving military personnel to re-integrate back into their communities, and our goal is to do this by working together with the NHS and voluntary organisations across the North West by providing access to relevant specialist health services.”