Salford Veterans Community Centre is holding a fundraiser for its new shop in Eccles, which includes a 1940s themed cafe.

The fundraiser on June 26 at St Thomas’ Church in Salford is in aid of the refurbishment of a unit in Eccles shopping centre.

The day will be filled with activities such as tombolas, face painting and cake stalls. There will also be service vehicles at the event and a singing performance, followed by hot food and a barbecue.

Owen Wilson is one of the directors of the Salford Veterans Network CIC who is running the event alongside directors Claire Street and Carl Blower.

He said: “It’s Armed Forces day on the 26th June so it’ll be a 1940s themed event with everyone dressed in 1940s uniforms and clothing. As well as all of the activities and stalls, we’ll also have some Armed Forces memorabilia from the Second World War on display such as uniforms and pictures.”

The Salford Veterans Network aims to create a based for local veterans and the community to use for whatever they need. Owen said: “We’ve been running a breakfast club up until lockdown every Saturday for the last five years and we wanted to expand that into a daily event, Monday to Friday.

“The Eccles shopping centre management knew that and offered us this shop a year ago.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic and multiple lockdowns delayed the opening and refurbishment of the shop, meaning the community centre has not been in use. However a year later, coming out of the pandemic, Owen and his fellow directors can go ahead.

Owen said: “The main idea is what we call a drop-in centre. That will be run nine to five by veteran volunteers, who’ll be there on hand to give advice to any veterans who need help on any matters; housing, jobs, finance- that sort of thing.

“There’ll be a cafe open Monday to Friday which everyone will be invited to, not just veterans but the community.

“Upstairs we’re going to have a meeting room, we hope, and then a community kitchen. During lockdown we’ve been taking meals out to vulnerable veterans a couple times a week – these are elderly people living on their own. It’s good for us to be able to have an excuse to meet them on their doorstep, give them a meal and have a long chat, seeing how they are and if they need anything.”

Supporters from across the UK have contributed to the event by knitting and crocheting poppies for a dress in the window display in support of the veterans.

Photo credit to Claire Street

The Salford Veterans Network is supported by the Veterans Food Co, The Veterans Training Academy and Recruitment, Sale Sharks Forces, Curzon Ashton FC Community Foundation, Royal Naval Association, The Fairway Pub – Moston (Military Vehicles), Broughton House and the WW2 / 1940s Re-enactors.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm and anyone is welcome.

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