At the double for vets cafe after cash boost

South Ribble Borough Council
Veteran's Cafe in Leyland
Phil Burton with Seema Kennedy MP and the letter from Tobias Ellwood MP
South Ribble Borough Council Veteran's Cafe in Leyland Phil Burton with Seema Kennedy MP and the letter from Tobias Ellwood MP

A Leyland cafe offering support and friendship for Armed Forces veterans has been given a cash injection to allow it to continue until next year.

BAE Systems agreed to support the café at the Roccoco Coffee, Chapel Brow, after hearing how successful it has been since its launch in April.

The first event alone attracted 30 people, including 20 veterans as well as their relatives and carers, and numbers have reached almost 60 at some of the monthly meetings.

From October, thanks to BAE Systems’ support, the event will be held twice each month - on the first and the third Saturdays - to meet the increased demand.

The café is the brainchild of former Royal Artillery Lance Bombardier and dad-of-three Phil Burton.

News of its success has reached the minister with responsibility for veterans. In a hand-written letter, Mr Ellwood wrote: “As the minister responsible for defence people and veterans I simply wanted to express my admiration for your efforts in establishing the Veterans Cafe. The nation owes such a debt of gratitude to all veterans and every effort made to recognise this is appreciated.”

Phil said: “It’s amazing that this has now been cemented for another six months - and now twice monthly, which can only benefit the veterans. On average we’re getting 45 to 50 through the door every month.”

South Ribble MP Seema Kennedy said: “I am delighted that the Veterans Cafe is providing support to ex-service personnel from the area, and that this can continue until May.”