Carlisle United Football Club’s Community Sports Trust are delighted to announce the launch of our Armed Forces and Veterans Club, which will be holdings its first get-together in Foxy’s Restaurant at Brunton Park on Wednesday 6 April.
Providing an opportunity for people of all ages who served in the Forces to get together in a relaxed and informal setting, it is hoped that it will be the first of many meetings of its kind as the club reaches out to former Navy, Army and Air Force personnel.
Community manager John Halpin said: “We’ve wanted to get this going for a while and now, having looked into it, we feel we’re in a good place to set things off.
“There are already so many excellent organisations operating in support of veterans and, indeed, serving personnel, but we feel there can never be too many.
“This will provide a really informal way for people to get together, share stories and hopefully pick up information on where they can get help and assistance, should they be facing any kind of difficulty.
“What you do find with the ex-service community is that they are extremely proud people, and they often won’t even admit there’s a problem, be it with finances, integrating into civilian life, or mental health issues connected to their experiences, and they allow it to get to a point where they’re overwhelmed.
“And, as well as that, many of them find that their experiences don’t resonate with people who can’t relate to the tours they went on, or the job they did, and they simply want to get together and share their stories with others who went through the same things.
“We hope to grow the club to a point where it can help to direct people to the right place, should they need advice of any kind, at the same time as providing a regular get together where veterans can come and enjoy each other’s company.”
United’s media officer Andy Hall, who will be looking after the Veterans Club, said: “We’re hoping that this becomes a good addition to the fantastic services already provided locally for our former service personnel.
“Initially we’ll meet at the beginning of April to gauge interest, to take the first step and to find out from those who attend what they feel they really want and need from this kind of club.
“Sometimes you find that being able to talk about a patrol in Northern Ireland, or an incident in Afghanistan, or a deployment to the Gulf on your ship, is exactly what you need just to ease the pressure valves a little bit.
“That’s what we want to be first and foremost, somewhere to come and enjoy each other’s company and to share the experiences we had.”
“Service folk aren’t the best at reaching out,” he added. “It’s hard to explain, they don’t want recognition or plaudits, or to pretend to be something they aren’t, but they do need to be able to talk about the things that shaped their lives and made them who they are.
“That can sometimes be difficult to do when they’ve left the military community and moved on, so we also want to be able to give pointers as to where the best advice can be found for whatever problems they feel they are facing.
“So many service leavers struggle because of the huge changes that come with integration into a civilian life, often for many years after they’ve left their uniform behind. We want to be somewhere else people can go to get help with that.”
The first CST Armed Forces and Veterans Club get-together is at 8.30am on Wednesday 6 April in Foxy’s Restaurant at Brunton Park.
Tea, coffee, juices and a selection of breakfast rolls will be available, free of charge.
Please register your interest in attending by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to aid with the planning of the event.
The club is affiliated with the AFVBC network and will provide a regular, informal meeting opportunity.