A VETERANS hub has officially opened its doors in Ryde ­— the first of its kind on the Isle of Wight.

Called the Veterans Lounge, and located on Ryde High Street near Minghella Square, the hub is the brainchild of Dale Hillier, who served on HMS Intrepid in the Falklands.

A place for veterans to fraternise and share experiences, the goal is for the hub to become a central contact point for Island-based veterans.

Open five days a week, from Monday to Friday, from 9.15am to 5pm, all Isle of Wight veterans and their families are welcome.

They can head down for a hot drink and a chat, and talk through their problems with other veterans and like-minded individuals.

The hub was born of a fundraiser back in 2020, and Dale is still looking for support from local businesses, and keen to work with other charities.

The aim is to eventually have the hub running seven days a week, so Isle of Wight veterans can get support no matter the day.

There are also plans for a one-to-one office on the second floor, and a recreation room where veterans can bond over a game of darts.

Among those to support the hub was Karen Wilkinson, who raised a staggering £1,400 abseiling.

Dale himself has also invested in a mobile hub ­— a decorated transit van which will be going all around the Island, popping up at various events and locations, and picking up veterans along the way.

Dale funded it all by himself, and is excited to take it on the road.