A NEW facility providing life changing support to armed services veterans battling addiction and mental health issues has opened in Prestwich.

Leon House will offer care and support completely free of charge to veterans referred by their GPs, army charities and other related professionals.

As a not-for-profit 23-bed facility Leon House will provide a refuge and a crucial lifeline to help those suffering from disorders such as gambling and alcohol dependency and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The clinic was officially opened by the Duke of Westminster who was invited by Colonel Andy Reid MBE.

A long-term supporter of Leon House, Colonel Reid lost both his legs and his right arm after stepping on an IED whilst serving in the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment in Afghanistan in 2009.

He astounded people with his recovery, spending just two weeks in hospital before returning home.

Col. Reid said: “Leon House will be a lifeline for so many veterans in need of a helping hand. I’m really pleased to be able to support the team here, and I’m grateful to the Duke of Westminster for taking the time to come down and lend his support.”

The plight of armed services veterans is close to Col. Reid's heart having seen colleagues struggle to transition to civilian life and battle mental health challenges as a result of their experiences.

He has been encouraged by his efforts to help one man he served alongside, "Alex", who Col. Reid credits with saving his life in Afghanistan.

After leaving the army to spend more time which his child, 28-year-old Alex found himself struggling to cope with PTSD which led to him becoming homeless and even attempting to take his own life.

However, Col. Reid reached out to Alex and paid for him to travel to Manchester and supported him in getting his life back on track.

Col. Reid said: “Leon House will quite literally save lives - there are so many men and women who struggle with mental health issues and related problems including addiction after leaving the armed forces mainly due to the experiences they’ve had and the things they’ve seen.

"We know that support for veterans is woefully inadequate ­— and that’s across the board, really, from housing through to mental healthcare ­— so places like Leon House and organisations like Step Forward Homes play a big part in closing the gap."