IN Army&You’s latest edition, we looked at families in transition and what effects this huge change can have on both the serving person and their family. Here, Suzanne Fernando – a veteran of the Royal Military Police – explains why “breakfast clubs” such as the Ayrshire Veteran Breakfast Club are so important…
“Numerous veterans have settled or are settling across Ayrshire after completing service or on discharge, and whilst most of us do not experience serious problems, some do,” explained Suzanne. “One of the main reasons for setting up our Ayrshire Veteran Breakfast Club was to assist our veterans and help them no matter what their age or need – health, welfare, finance or other.”
Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs, which are run by veteran volunteers and also support serving soldiers, are completely free and provide practical, emotional and financial assistance. The more-than 280 clubs worldwide cater for some 27,000 members and maintain an ethos of mutual support based on a similar humour and outlook on life.
With many of the breakfast club’s members having previously felt isolated, depressed and even suicidal after leaving the military, Suzanne said that providing someone to talk to, share a laugh with and confide in makes a huge difference. She added: “The social life we now enjoy is like our Service days with the element of family feeling again.”
Veteran Paul Coffey, who attended dementia awareness and older veterans awareness training courses on behalf of the Saltcoats Armed Forces Breakfast Club, said: “It helped me remember other aspects of military life and the culture, but more importantly I can now offer fellow veterans the support and entitlements available to them and their families.”
To find your nearest veteran breakfast club, visit afvbc.net