Big-hearted staff at a coffee shop in Wrexham are going into action to help homeless ex-soldiers, sailors and air crew.
The team at Starbucks at Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre have chosen Homes for Veterans as their chosen charity this year.
The organisation has just opened a 12-bed facility in the town to provide accommodation for veterans who are struggling to find a safe and comfortable home.
Starbucks manager Claire Edwards says staff are right behind the charity and are determined to raise as much money as they can to support “a very worthy cause”.
Claire said: “We saw that Homes for Veterans was about to open a new home in Wrexham and after researching the charity’s aims we got in touch through social media and offered our support.
“As a team we are now looking at how we can best support the charity through our fundraising.
“We would like to have a fun day in the summer but we are also thinking about other ways we can raise funds.
“We are having a collection tin at the till point and around the cafe as well as displaying pamphlets and material giving information about the charity in the cafe.”
She added: “It’s a fantastic charity and one we really want to support. The fact they have opened a new home in Wrexham is important and anything we can do to help we will.”
Homes for Veteran’s Senior Community Fundraiser for North Wales Andy Green is delighted Claire got in touch and he’s thrilled Starbucks staff have agreed to help by supporting the charity this year.
He said: “We are here to support veterans who served in the UK Armed Forces. One in every 10 homeless people tend to be veterans and in need of help and support.
“Many veterans, on being discharged from the Army, Air Force or Navy have medical issues whether it’s post-traumatic stress disorder or physical issues.
“We work to integrate these men and women into society, help find them employment but above all, provide them, with a warm and safe place to live.”
He added: “We have built our new home on Bryn Estyn Road along with First Choice Housing. We already have four veterans living there and that will increase in the coming weeks.
“One of the rooms has also been designed for a veteran with mobility issues too. We are trying to cater for veterans whatever their personal issues.
“One of the biggest problems we face is getting veterans to accept, or even ask for, help. Many are quite simply too proud and tend not to declare themselves as homeless.”
Andy says Homes for Veterans is part of a Christian charity called Alabare which was founded in 1991.
He said: “The charity works with vulnerable and marginalised people across communities. We support people and enable them to live an enjoyable and independent life.
“As well as supporting veterans we support homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless, young people, adults with learning disabilities and people suffering from mental health issues.
“The charity’s vision is for a society where everyone has the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.”
Paul Mayers, who is the manager of the new Homes for Veterans Bryn Estyn Road property, says it’s also important the charity raises awareness of the issues facing veterans.
He said: “We also need to increase the charity’s profile in North Wales so people know what we do and how they can help.
“We also have homes in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno as well as Wrexham and we are also hoping to build further homes in Flint and Glan Conwy this year too.
“There are also plans to work alongside First Choice Housing again and build more homes for veterans at Gwersylt too.
“The support from the staff of Starbucks is amazing and really fantastic. We were delighted when Claire got in touch to offer their support, it means a great deal to the veterans we are trying to support.”
Eagles Meadow manager, Kevin Critchley said: “I know the staff of Starbucks here at Eagles Meadow put a great deal of effort into raising funds for charity.
“In fact it never ceases to amaze me just what staff of retail outlets here at Eagles Meadow will do and the lengths they will go to in raising funds for a number of charities and good causes.
“Homes for Veterans is an excellent charity and is supporting veterans right here in Wrexham as well as across the whole of North Wales. I will certainly be supporting the fundraising efforts of the staff from Starbucks.”
For more information about Homes for Veterans please visit www.alabare.co.uk and for more information about Eagles Meadow including opening times please visit www.eagles-meadow.co.uk