AN East Lancashire hub for military veterans has been hailed as "model for other areas across the country" by Labour's shadow defence secretary.

John Healey MP lavished praise on Haslingden's Veterans in Communities Centre after visiting it last week.

It is home to the Veterans in Communities charity which supports ex-forces personnel across East Lancashire.

The centre runs activities for veterans, including arts and craft groups, a choir and walking trips.

Mr Healey visited the centre in Bury Road on Thursday with Rossendale Council leader Councillor Alyson Barnes, meeting staff, touring the centre and talking with veterans.

According to census data, Rossendale have a higher proportion of working age veterans than the average across England and Wales, with 2.3 per cent (1,015 residents) of the population of the borough being working age ex-military personnel.

Mr Healey said: “Labour is deeply proud of our armed forces and veterans for their service in defending and protecting the country.

“Most leave the forces highly-skilled and well-prepared for successful civilian lives but many are also deeply affected by their military service and struggle to cope.

"We must do more to ensure there is support on hand for those who do need help.

“It was a real privilege and inspiration to visit Veterans in Communities. This is a stand-out support service for veterans and a model for other areas across the country.

"British veterans are being failed by this government, and government’s Veterans Strategy is an action plan with too little action that will make any difference to veterans’ lives.”

Chief executive of Veterans In Communities, Amanda Walton, said: “It is important that parliament and local councillors understand the need for services such as ours and witness first-hand what it looks like at ground level for a veteran in need.”