EX-soldiers struggling with the return to civilian life have been helping to spruce up areas of Darwen.

The charity, Veterans In Communities, has set up an outreach base in Darwen to help local ex-servicemen and women after they are discharged from the forces.

Often veterans can leave the Armed Forces suffering from conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, making it difficult to re-integrate into civilian life.

And volunteers have been undertaking work in the community in a bid to brighten up parts of Darwen while also giving them something to focus on.

On Saturday, a team of volunteers worked in Beckett Street.

Charity volunteer John Clark said: “Because of the cuts to funding, the council is trying to get things organised for communities to get involved in helping out. And on Saturday we helped them tart up the area around Beckett Street. There are a few raised beds and we were able to make them look a bit more pleasant for the residents when they open their windows and look outside.”

He said activities like this were extremely helpful to struggling veterans: “It’s about creating awareness for veterans and how they integrate into the community. It helps them as they can come back with various issues such as PTSD. This takes their minds off those issues and gives them somthing to focus on. They are getting stuck in which puts them in a better place.”

Veterans will also be starting projects at the Dingle Lodge near Sunnyhurst Wood and on a patch of land in Waterside, through the council’s Your Call project, in the coming weeks.

The Darwen Veterans In Communities’ outreach office in the town hall, Croft Street, opens from 10.30am to 1.30pm on Tuesdays, and has struck a deal to use the Youth Centre, Knott Street, on the same day.

Blackburn with Darwen Council Armed Forces Champion Coun Trevor Maxfield said: “They have done a great job already in a very short space of time and they are proving a real asset to the community.”