Salford Veterans Community Centre is holding a fundraiser for their new shop in Eccles, which includes a new 1940’s themed cafe.

On 26th June at St Thomas’ Church in Salford, a fundraiser will be held to raise funds for the refurbishment of the new Salford Veterans shop and cafe in Eccles shopping centre.

The day will be filled with activities such as tombolas, face painting and cake stalls. There will also be service vehicles at the event and a singing performance, followed by hot food and a barbeque.

Owen Wilson is one of the directors of the Salford Veterans Network CIC who is running the event alongside directors Claire Street and Carl Blower. When asked about the event he said : “It’s Armed Forces day on the 26th June so it’ll be a 1940’s themed event with everyone dressed in 1940’s uniforms and clothing. As well as all of the activities and stalls, we’ll also have some Armed Forces memorabilia from the second World War on display such as uniforms and pictures.”

The Salford Veterans Network are aiming to create a place where local veterans and the community can use the facilities for whatever they need. Owen said: “We’ve been running a breakfast club up until lockdown every Saturday for the last five years and we wanted to expand that into a daily event, Monday to Friday.

“The Eccles shopping centre management knew that and offered us this shop a year ago.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic and multiple lockdowns delayed the opening and refurbishment of the shop, meaning the community centre has not been in use. However a year later, coming out of the pandemic, Owen and his fellow directors can go ahead with their plans for the Salford Veterans.

Owen said: “The main idea is what we call a drop in centre. That will be ran nine to five by veteran volunteers, who’ll be there on hand to give advice to any veterans who need help on any matters; housing, jobs, finance- that sort of thing.

“There’ll be a cafe open Monday to Friday which everyone will be invited to, not just veterans but the community.

“Upstairs we’re going to have a meeting room, we hope, and then a community kitchen. During lockdown we’ve been taking meals out to vulnerable veterans a couple times a week- these are elderly people living on their own. It’s good for us to be able to have an excuse to meet them on their doorstep, give them a meal and have along chat, seeing how they are and if they need anything.”

Women from around the UK have have contributed to the event by knitting and crocheting poppies for a dress in the window display is support of the Veterans.

Photo credit to Claire Street

The Salford Veterans Network is supported by the following Veteran organisations; The Veterans Food Co, The Veterans Training Academy and Recruitment, Sale Sharks Forces, Curzon Ashton FC Community Foundation, Royal Naval Association, The Fairway Pub – Moston (Military Vehicles), Broughton House and the WW2 / 1940’s Re-enactors.

The event is also being supported by non-veteran organisations such as; Salford good parcels, Greater Manchester Police and verve recruitment.

 Local shops within the Salford precinct, Manchester Arndale  shops, the Lowry shopping centre and Deansgate areas have all donated towards the fundraiser to help support veterans and the new community centre.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm and anyone is welcome.

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