MILITARY charity Help for Heroes has opened a shop inside a popular department store.

Debenhams, in Basildon's Eastgate Centre, has given the charity space, free of charge, to set up a retail concession.

It is the first Help for Heroes shop of its kind in Britain, although the charity has three stand-alone stores including one at Lakeside, in Thurrock.

More concessions will open in Southampton and Gloucester, in the next fewmonths.

Emma Parry, who co-founded Help for Heroes, said: “It not only allows us to spread awareness about the charity, but it will also bring in more money to support our heroes.

“This is particularly important as our troops withdraw from Afghanistan, as for our wounded, injured and sick service personnel, their battles will continue long after the war ends.”

Debenhams decided to give up part of its first floor, to Help for Heroes after a successful week of fundraising for the charity, in March.

Across the country the department store raised over £200,000, which has gone towards supporting military personnel who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses, while serving the country.

Help for Heroes runs four recovery centres in Britain, including one in Colchester.

Unlike most charity shops, Help for Heroes stores sell new, branded clothes and household items, instead of second-hand goods.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer Help for Heroes concession space within our Basildon store, in what is a real first for Debenhams. Our customers and staff are hugely engaged with this charity so we are confident this will be a successful development of our partnership.”