Breakfast club for veterans to start in Bognor next month

A breakfast club for armed forces veterans is due to start in the Laburnum Centre next month.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 2:24 pm

The breakfast club will run every Tuesday morning from 9 to 11:30 am at the Laburnum Centre. Alongside a nice warm brew, members can look forward to bacon baps, sausage sandwhiches and lively conversation when the meetings start on July 6.

But, for John Hardaker, the former Royal Engineer who helped organise the breakfast club, it’s about more than just a meal.

He said: “It’s not so much for the breakfast, it’s meeting up with a group of like-minded people and about issues or problems you may have. So, you might have someone who’s desperate for a new washing machine and doesn’t know where to go: someone there might be able to help.

From left to right: John Curtis from age UK, John Hardaker, Graham Jones, a veteran of the Royal Signals Corps and Ian Nevillie of the Littlehampton Breakfast Club

“The meal, really, is secondary. We want to get people in to talk. To talk to us and talk to each other in a safe environment.”

The breakfast club is being held in conjunction with a similar club in Littlehampton, which hosts meetings every Wednesday and Saturday. For Ian Neville a member of an organisation called Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Clubs (AFVBC), the Bognor Regis breakfast club is another step towards bringing the south coast’s military community even closer together.

He said: “we were mindful of the fact that there isn’t really a breakfast club in Bognor. We’ve seen that people have tried and it hasn’t really taken off. We’ve got a model that clearly works so, rather than try and start something completely afresh, we decided that what we’d do is essentially make this a subsidiary of what we’ve got.

“We’re setting it up to be standalone but under our governance, so that, if at some point it grows to a point where it can self-govern, it’s easy to break it away and do that.

“We’re just coming in with the experience to get it running and then, moving forward, hopefully, we can assist each other.”

Mr Neville made clear that the breakfast clubs are for more than just veterans, that he wants to offer support to every member of the armed forces family.

He said: “You don’t have to be someone who’s served. You could be someone whose parent passed away whilst in conflict, you could be the widow of a veteran. All of these people are welcome because, as long as they understand the military mindset and they understand that the military is a family, they’ll fit in.”
For more on Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Clubs, click here or get in touch via [email protected]