Members of the community came together to celebrate a new community café and support hub in Weymouth for ex-servicemen and women.

The grand opening of The Veterans Hub Community Cafe in Portland Road, Wyke Regis, was held at the weekend.

More than 150 people turned out to show their support for the facility which will provide full-time support, advice and and a friendly space for local veterans.

Hub founder, Andy Price, said he was overwhelmed by the event’s attendance.

“We invited the local community down and wanted to show off what we are doing. We opened the gates at 12pm and they flooded in. It was mind-blowing. I thought maybe 30 people would turn up but it was rammed,” Mr Price said.

Mr Price, an ex-Rifles soldier, established The Veterans Hub last year to try and make mental health care to former troops more accessible.

Until now the hub, which Mr Price runs with co-director Darren Bowden, offered a drop-in session every Thursday and operated an outreach support service – but the event on Sunday marked the hub’s move to a full-time operation.

Mayor of Weymouth and Portland Gill Taylor attended the event along with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for social inclusion, Cllr Jon Orrell.

There were performances from Voice finalist, Lauren Bannon-Hayes and singer-songwriter Danny Adams.

Lauren said she became a supporter of the hub when she met Mr Price and Mr Bowden at an awards ceremony. “They told me about their project – I thought it was fantastic and something that was definitely needed in the community so I offered my services.

“The event was lots of fun. It was packed, the sun was shining, the barbecue was fired up – what more could you ask for?”

The community café and hub will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9am until 5pm.

It serves an array of hot and cold drinks as well as cakes and treats all made on site. Wherever possible, Mr Price tries to serve up products sourced from companies founded by veterans including 50 cal Coffee and Tactical Tea.

Mr Price said the hub aims to provide a safe space for veterans to come as well as provide a place where support groups and services could link up so people in need of help can find everything they need in one place.

“Everyone has different needs,” Mr Price said. “We want to complement the different existing services. There are plenty of support services out there but people don’t know where to access them – that’s where we can help.”