Veteran’s Café in Leyland

18 October 2017 12:00

In an effort to grow stronger ties amongst our blind veterans our regional community teams, working with local councils and businesses, are developing lunch clubs throughout the UK.

Photo of Maria Pikulski and other blind veterans and volunteers at Veteran's Cafe, Leyland 2018

One success story is in Leyland, Lancashire where ex-Service men and women can meet at a Veteran’s Café.

Initially attended by a few blind veterans, interest has steadily grown over the last few months and now around 20 members, partners and carers come along.  Newly joined beneficiaries are also mingling. Fred Simpson, a recipient of the Legion d'Honneur Second World War medal and his family regularly attend too.

The Vice Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Colonel Alan Jolley, Seema Kennedy, MP for South Ribble, the Mayor of South Ribble, Mick Titherington, and other dignitaries have also attended over the past few months.

Photo of two lady blind veterans enjoying themselves at the Veteran's Cafe in Leyland

Julie, Community Support Worker for the region says: “The working relationships we’ve formed with local areas have been very productive. The willingness and support offered from other sighted veterans attending is so inspiring. We now have veterans offering to become volunteers to provide future transport to our vision-impaired ex-Service men and women to make sure our beneficiaries can get out and about more. Their interest shown is now also generating other volunteering opportunities.”

Photo of a group of blind veterans at the Veteran's Cafe Leyland enjoying tea 2018

As the initiative has gone so well our community team is chatting with local council and partner organisations on ways to engage even more veterans. South Ribble Borough Council has also secured funding for the café from BAE Systems and from October the event will be held twice a month, on the first and third Saturdays until May next year.

The power of camaraderie and support that our military family have for one another is just amazing. And it is fantastic our charity has been able to help it to flourish near Preston.