Ramsgate’s Royal British Legion Club is preparing to launch a drop-in hub for ex and serving forces personnel with the aim of providing support and/or a cuppa and a chat.
The hub, which will initially be twice a month with hopes of extending that to once a week, is being set up in partnership with the Kent Arts and Wellbeing organisation to offer the sessions where people can catch up with others and get some support for dealings with agencies such as the DWP. There will also be a dedicated computer for people to use and a range of activities will, be offered.
Ramsgate RBL member Richard Morgan, who is helping to organise the sessions, said: “We will be offering the drop in for ex and serving personnel to come and have a cuppa and a chat with like-minded people. We will also help them access directly some of the services they may want such as DWP or Operation Courage (an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.)
“We have just finished the agreement stage and will be advertising it.
“There are quite a few ex-servicemen and women in Thanet who are doing ok but might need just a little more help.”
The hope is to have the hub, which will take place every other Wednesday, up and running before Christmas.
The club, in Cliff Street, is also calling on people to join up. It is open to all, not just former or serving forces personnel, but needs more members to ensure its survival.
Member Clive Ottaway said: “Over the many years, the RBL Club has had to change with the times. We are no longer a club just for ex Service men and women but a club for the community of Ramsgate, accepting members from all walks of life.
“We have much that many have yet to find out, like our newly refurbished function room upstairs, our snooker room and the main club, with weekly entertainment. Our weekend lunches and Sunday roasts are also very popular.
“People’s first impression of when they use the club is generally ‘wow, I didn’t even know you were here.’ We are here and want people to come along and see what they have been missing.”
The Royal British Legion has been supporting service men and women, ex-serving personnel and their families, since 1921. The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921, bringing together four national organisations of ex-servicemen that had established themselves after the First World War.
Membership of the Ramsgate RBL club since 1926 has numbered in its thousands, in past times the queue to get a seat in the club stretched down Cliff Street and into Queen Street. After the Second World War membership swelled again with ex Service personnel joining the RBL. Many youngsters would have experienced their parents or grandparents taking them to the club for a cheeky shandy or three.
The club is now hoping to encourage more people from the community to come and use it. This Saturday (September 24) from 8.30pm, the club is hosting a soul, reggae and Motown disco.