Hartlepool Armed Forces and veterans breakfast club hails 'fantastic' new venue as membership grows
A social group for Hartlepool forces personnel and veterans has moved to a new home as its membership continues to grow.
The Hartlepool Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club now meets every Saturday morning at Seaton Carew Sports and Social Club’s Hornby Park after outgrowing its previous venues.
It provides a place where like-minded serving members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and veterans can get together to socialise over a cuppa of full English breakfast.
Set up by veteran Rob Taylor in early 2019, the group has continued to grow in numbers throughout the pandemic to about 160 members currently.
Rob, 45, who served with the Royal Logistics Corps, said: “We were given the opportunity to move to Hornby Park and it was just too good an opportunity to ignore.
"The facilities are absolutely fantastic. We’ve got our own space upstairs, there’s a balcony should anyone want private conversations, and it’s just a more relaxed atmosphere.
"We now have capacity for in excess of 100 people as Covid restrictions allow, and it is just going to take the club forward a lot better.”
The group is part of a network of service personnel and veterans breakfast clubs around the country and also overseas.
Their ethos is one of mutual support and ongoing camaraderie.
Rob, now a driver, said: “I set it up because I fancied a coffee with other like-minded veterans and it has turned into such a fantastic group.
"In lockdown we already had around 140 members whereas now it’s almost 160.
"Whether you are navy, RAF, Army it doesn’t matter what your background is we all sing from the same song sheet.
"It’s great that veterans are reaching out to connect with like-minded people who understand your humour and what you have been through.”
Rob said the group helps to reduce isolation among members and it can also point members in the right direction for help with issues such as mental health, or drugs and alcohol.
The group meets at the venue on Elizabeth Way every Saturday between 9.30am and 11.30am.
However, due to Armed Forces Day this weekend, their next meeting will be Saturday, July 3.
Partners and children are welcome. For more details, visit the Hartlepool Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Club Facebook page.