Salford Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club have been supporting veterans through the second lockdown, helping them through a difficult period of loneliness and financial struggle.
The club, along with local businesses and people in the community, are working to provide comfort and joy to vulnerable veterans in the run-up to Christmas.
With Remembrance Day passing whilst a second national lockdown is in play, many veterans who would have marked the occasion by gathering with old friends to honour the lives of those who have passed are feeling the loneliness.
Peter Barlow, a director of the Salford armed forces and veterans breakfast club, discussed how essential the club is for veterans at the moment: “We need to be there for them, to hold them up while the world is crumbling around them.
“They are our brothers and sisters, and we all stand as one.”
The club is striving to ease the lockdown period whilst keeping the veterans safe from the ongoing pandemic, by decreasing the number of people the veterans come into contact with and making sure the people they do come in contact with are familiar faces from the club.
Mr Barlow spoke about the need for contact at this difficult time: “We have many veterans in Salford who live alone, and some have no family.
“With the lockdown in place it has prevented our veterans from socialising or having any form of human contact leaving them isolated, alone, and scared.”
In 2019 the club was able to raise money throughout the year and make Xmas hampers and meals for the veterans to enjoy.
However, due to the challenges Covid-19 has presented, a lot of the fundraising events were impossible to put on this year. Therefore, they are relying on the generosity of businesses and volunteers to offer a helping hand during this trying time.
Stuart Fraser, with the Love of Foods in Salford, will be working with the Breakfast Club to cook 2 meals for approximately 15-20 vulnerable veterans every week until Christmas.
This service will be helpful to veterans who are unable to cook hot meals for themselves daily while providing some much-needed company to ease them through the lonely stretch, as the food will be delivered by members of the breakfast club.
This creates the opportunity for vulnerable veterans to have lasting conversations twice a week, preventing them from feeling so isolated.
“We need to be there for them, to hold them up while the world is crumbling around them. They are our brothers and sisters, and we all stand as one.”
A new vulnerable veteran was added to the Breakfast Clubs list and was visited for the first time last Saturday, Mr Barlow explained: “He became very emotional when we delivered two meals for him and stated he has not had any communication with anyone for almost four weeks.” They were able to spend time with him in line with the government guidelines and give him the friendship he needed.
Paul Mannion, a nurse from the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service, is offering a free phone service to give veterans advice and peace of mind with any health issues they may encounter during this period. Visit the Breakfast Clubs Facebook page for more information.
If you would like to help the breakfast club in their efforts to support veterans during this vulnerable time, you can donate non-perishable foods, personal care products and other items to the group, or you can donate to their online fundraiser at the following link. https://www.facebook.com/donate/991879061290578/2741888116093229/