MP meets veterans at Richmondshire support groups

Rishi Sunak talks to veterans enjoying breakfast at Colburn Village Hall.

The support given to Armed Services Veterans by two organisations has been described as inspirational by Rishi Sunak.

In Remembrance Week, the MP saw the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club at Colburn and the Veterans Woodcraft workshop in Richmond in action.

The breakfast club provides a hearty full English for up to 40 Veterans and Armed Forces members to combat loneliness and help access appropriate support services. It is one of a nationwide network of breakfast clubs established since the first was created in Hull in 2007.

Peter Fowler, one of the breakfast club’s administrators, said he and his fellow organiser Dave Bray were pleased to welcome Mr Sunak to the club which meets on Friday mornings in Colburn Village Hall.

Mr Fowler said: “Rishi took a keen interest in what we are doing and spoke with members at length.

“He took time to speak to them and the staff of Colburn Community Hub, who provide our excellent breakfasts.

“The visit will raise our profile and help us to reach out to the other 2,400 Veterans in Richmondshire who will be very welcome to join us on a Friday morning.”

At Veterans Woodcraft on the Gallowfields Industrial Estate in Richmond Mr Sunak met the team who deliver woodcraft courses to help people suffering from PTSD, mental health and physical disabilities mainly as result of their military service.

Set up six years ago to help Veterans, it has broadened the help it offers to include families and dependents.

During his visit Mr Sunak spoke to Veterans who use the service and saw the wide range of wood products which are sold to help cover the costs of the project.

He also tried his hand at the lathe, shaving, smoothing and polishing a piece of camel thorn wood to create the barrel for a pen.

Ted Granger, Veterans Woodcraft director, said: “Mr Sunak wasn’t very confident to start with but he produced a very respectable pen barrel which I think demonstrated the therapeutic power of working with wood.”

Mr Sunak said both organisations were doing an amazing job of supporting Veterans.

“These two initiatives are very different but their approach to helping our Veterans is inspirational,” he said. “Both understand the particular health challenges many Veterans face and provide tailored and effective support combined with the comradeship that many ex-Service personnel miss when they leave the Forces.  

More information on the Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club at Colburn can be found at afvbc.net. Veterans Woodcraft can be contacted at veteranswoodcraft.co.uk.