By SI James Hutton, Bury Detachment, No 1 (Minden) Company
It is often said that the military community is like a very close family. Nothing exemplifies this more than the tireless work done by the Bury Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club. Bury Detachment invited them to one of their twice weekly virtual parade nights to talk about the work they do and to foster links with this fantastic team.
The group has been in existence for several years helping the local armed forces and veteran community by means of social events, regular breakfast clubs as well as coffee mornings. They also act as an information hub to help those who are struggling with the transition from service life into civilian life.
Sadly, a sizeable number of veterans struggle with this transition. Some may have a visible disability, but many more have problems with their mental health or substance dependency. The Club helps with all aspects of this as well as preventing loneliness for many of the older veterans whose families have moved away.
Shirley Simmons, one of the founders explained about how the Club works as a Tri-Service organisation, rather than for just one arm of the services. This leads to lots of good-natured banter and helps to bring many people together as part of the Service Family. She informed the cadets about the breakfast club which meets on a Friday, the coffee mornings held on a Saturday as well as the community garden – a haven of peace and a place for reflection.
Barry and Samantha Phillips were also in attendance. Barry is a veteran from the Royal Green Jackets and his wife is the case worker, helping to signpost members towards work, benefits or other help. Barry helps by cooking upwards of 50 full breakfasts for the Friday events as well as numerous other tasks. Funnily enough, the question of whether he did the washing up was met with embarrassed silence!
The cadets were eager to get involved in as many aspects of the Veteran’s Hub as possible. This will benefit them as part of their Citizenship for their “Star Levels” and for those who are undertaking the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme it is an excellent way to fulfil their volunteering section.
Detachment Commander, SMI. Mike Toner said “This is a great opportunity for cadets, staff and local veterans to meet and chat. The cadets are very eager to be part of this and to help their local ex-service community in any way they can.”
Bury Detachment and all the cadets are looking forward to a long and close relationship in the future with this vital part of the Service Family.