Breakfast Clubs, Baps and Banter

December 22, 2016

You’ll find a brew, a bacon bap and some banter at the heart of any veteran’s breakfast club.

But there’s more to the experience than a blow-out.

Breakfast Clubs are an excellent example of self-help within the Armed Forces Community. They began as a local initiative in 2007, but quickly developed into a nationwide network.  They provide an opportunity for ex-Servicemen and women to meet up over breakfast and share some stories, and offer each other advice.

One such example is the Veterans Breakfast Club in Galashiels. The club was set up by the Scottish Borders Council with help from the Armed Forces Community Covenant, and as Councillor John Greenwell says, “It’s about bringing people together so they can help each other out.”

Billy Heaney, a veteran with 30 years’ service with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers enjoys the chance to catch up with old comrades. “When you have been on operations or on exercises and lived alongside people – you form a bond that others outside the Services simply do not have.”

There are no common rules, memberships or subscriptions, with each club organised in accordance with local requirements. These gatherings provide an opportunity to share common interests and concerns and to talk through some of the challenges the members face, including health, welfare and housing. They also provide opportunities for broader networking, including social events for families, and professional contacts. There are now around 120 such clubs located across the UK (and overseas) attracting as many as 10,000 participants.

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