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Veterans’ Café

886. Phil Burton

Phil Burton, a former Royal Artillery Lance Bombardier, from Lancashire, founded the ‘Veterans' Café’ in April 2016 to help combat social isolation in his local area.

After seeing some of his former colleagues struggle with loneliness when they left the Armed Forces, Phil decided to establish a network where other veterans could share their experiences and access support and services from charities and the NHS. The fortnightly meetings in the café attract over 50 people of all ages, including relatives and carers of the veterans. Seema Kennedy MP, co-chair of the ‘Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness’, has praised Phil’s work, and Phil received his award from Prime Minister Theresa May at a Downing Street reception marking the work of the Jo Cox Commission.

In a personal letter to Phil, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“By founding the ‘Veterans’ Café’, you have demonstrated an inspiring commitment to supporting the men and women who have risked their lives to protect our country. You should be tremendously proud of combatting social isolation by helping hundreds of your fellow veterans and their families to build new friendships and come together as a community.”

Phil said:

“When I first started the venture with the ‘Veterans’ Café‘, I never thought it would grow into something this big. I originally wanted to set this up for the veterans, so they had a place to meet, and talk to like minded people with the same day to day issues. This has now brought the veteran community together, and is allowing veterans of all ages to get the help where needed.

This would never have been possible without the help of South Ribble Council, and the veterans that support the café on a fortnightly basis.”

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness is starting a national conversation about the scale and impact of loneliness in the UK. For more information on the Commission see here, and you can watch Phil being interviewed at the Reception below:

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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