THE TEAM behind a new charity shop that supports the armed forces hopes to make a big difference to the lives of Swindon veterans and bereaved families.

The 18 volunteers and local management at the two-floor Forces Support shop on Regent Street are keen to be part of the community and help raise as money as they can for a charity that is very close to their hearts.

Shop manager Richard Warren said: "We want to be more than just a shop and host activities in the space we have available, like coffee mornings for elderly and lonely residents to give them a place to socialise and chat.

"There are opportunities for everybody here to support a good cause and develop their confidence by working in a retail setting. There is a massive variety of work available, from heavy lifting and stock sorting to knitting dresses for donated dolls.

"We are quite new to Swindon but want to become an important part of the community here.

"I used to work for the charity in Berkshire and they're fantastic people to work for.

Donated stock can be brought in seven days a week or collected from homes within 10 miles of the high street branch.

Apart from gas appliances, the store will sell anything - books, electrical items, bric-a-brac, clothes, furniture - that generous Swindonians donate as long as it's in good condition.

The first Swindon store for Oxord-based Forces Support opened in early April and Richard wants to get the word out about the work they do.

He added: "Many people have been touched by bereavements so we raise funds for support for families who are going through grief.

"We help those who have lost loved ones in the armed forces through war, sometimes it's just with little things like decorating their house or tidying the garden.

"The charity is also involved with memorial garden projects and setting up local play areas."

Forces support launched in 2010 to ensure that the parents, widows and children of families bereaved through a military death can access practical support throughout the UK.