22 May 2024

Volunteers honoured for supporting veterans

By Rebecca Hannant

A team of admin assistants at the Withernsea-based Armed Forces Breakfast Club have won an award for their commitment to serving the community.

Since its origins 15 months ago the Armed Forces Breakfast Club has gone from strength to strength supporting veterans and serving members in Withernsea and surrounding areas. The club now has about 45 members attending every two weeks.

Each fortnight the club offers a safe environment and space to chat with like-minded people. The club also provides free tea and coffee, a free raffle and a sandwich for a
£1.50 donation, or free if the person cannot afford it.

The main aim of the club is to help reduce self-isolation and improve the mental health of
the veterans and serving members.

The club has been kept running smoothly by the admin staff who were nominated for a Connecting Communities at the Time2Volunteer Awards.

Darren England, member of the Withernsea AFVBC, said: “The admin team at Withernsea AFVBC were over the moon to find that they had been nominated as part of the Celebration of Volunteering 2022 in Hull, East Yorkshire, North and North East Lincolnshire.”

The team received multiple nominations and was described as a “lifeline” and a “safety net” for those who have suffered trauma.

The nominations also outlined how the group had forged links with other organisations across the community to reduce isolation.

The team were invited to the awards ceremony, held at Hull’s Bonus Arena on October 6, where they were provided with an afternoon tea.

Darren added: “It was an amazing experience for those who could attend and to hear of all the different groups and individuals who do such amazing work, and to do a bit of networking.”

At the event, the team were handed the award from the award sponsor, Mitsubishi Chemical UK.

Sam Watson, who helps run the club at the Meridian Centre, in Withernsea, said: “We are completely bowled over to receive this award. We know that what we do is important, but everyone who was nominated does important work.

“We are proud of the work we do to bring people together and to help ensure that veterans aren’t isolated.

“They have served their country, and we must serve them because we know life can be challenging for people who have been in the services.”

Andy Barber, CEO of HEY Smile Foundation, said: “We had scores of nominations, all of them noteworthy. Many nominees have moving stories to tell of how they have made a difference despite facing adversity.

“Others work gruelling schedules to improve lives or raise money. Volunteers make many organisations tick, and we want them to know how important they are. We know that volunteering is a two-way street, and that volunteering helps volunteers find purpose, fulfilment, and skills. But it is important to acknowledge and thank volunteers who give their time freely to help others. We congratulate all our nominees and our winners, and we’d like to say, keep up the good work!”

Darren added: “It is a humbling experience, only made possible by seeing the enjoyment in the veterans attending the club and listening to the buzz and banter. I would like to thank the admin team for all they do: Marie England, Sam Watson, Bridget Watson, Vicky Bates, Ian Blowes and Darren Johnson. We would also like to thank all those that have supported us over the last 18 months, and for those that have voted for us for this award.”