The Royal British Legion will officially open its new Manchester Pop-In Advice and Information Centre on September 2.
Forces and members of the public will be able to ‘pop-in’ for advice and information at the Cross Street Centre on the charity’s support and community services.
One of the key speakers set to attend the event is Vaughan Kent-Payne, the Legion’s Area Manager and veteran of 17 military tours, including Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo, during a 36-year career.
“The local team is dedicated to providing a wide range of flexible support services, from helping a young widow through an inquest to ensuring that an older veteran can stay independent in their own home,” the 55-year-old former Army Lieutenant Colonel said.
“We value the enthusiasm and commitment of our local members, who undertake a wide range of volunteer roles and fundraising activities for the Legion, and I encourage anyone who is interested to get involved.”
In the last year, the Manchester team has provided support to approximately 1,000 members of the Armed Forces community with some of the most common beneficiary needs including assistance with debt, the provision of household goods and housing repairs and maintenance.
Vaughan explained Greater Manchester’s long-standing tradition of providing more men and women to the armed services means relatively more local people are eligible for the organisations support than in other areas of the country.
The Kent-Payne family have their own long-standing tradition of men joining the armed forces –Vaughan joined the Duke of Lancaster regiment in 1977 at the age of 18 – and this played a big part in the decision to take on a role with the Legion.
He explained: “After serving as a soldier for most of my life, I wanted to put something back.
“I remember The Legion had helping my father with mobility problems, when I was younger and so I knew something of the good work that they do.”
Vaughan’s great-grandfather fought in the Great China Wars in 1857, his grandfather fought in the first World War and his father fought in both the first and second World Wars.
His younger son, Russell, will be following in their footsteps soon, having taken up a scholarship to Sandhurst.
The Pop-In Centre is a part of the Legion’s new approach, which aims at making their services and support more accessible.
Eventually there will be 16 Pop-In Centres on high streets in major towns and cities across the UK supported by a network of hundreds of community outreach hubs.
To find out more about the Royal British Legion or show your support for the troops, click here.