Brighton Mayor visits 'awe-inspiring' Bognor Regis café designed to support armed forces veterans

Charlie Charlie 1 opened in December last year.Charlie Charlie 1 opened in December last year.
Charlie Charlie 1 opened in December last year.
A system used by a Bognor Regis charity to support armed forces veterans could be replicated in Brighton, following a visit by the Mayor.

Charlie Charlie 1 opened on High Street, Bognor Regis last year as a cafe with a twist: as well as serving hot drinks, warm food and plenty of pastries, the site also functions as a therapeutic hub for veterans in Bognor Regis and beyond, giving armed forces members looking for a sense of community easy access to other veterans, and a range of therapeutic services.

It serves as a physical front for a range of services already offered by Crimsham Farm, which runs agricultural workshops and veteran support services from its centre on Lower Bognor Road.

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The format is such a hit that parties all over the country are starting to take notice, looking to deploy the model in a bid to better serve the armed forces community at large. One such party is Brighton Mayor, Jacqueline O’Quinn, who described her visit to Charlie Charlie 1 in late April as ‘awe-inspiring’.

“I met some impressive people who were very dedicated to the work they were doing and had made extraordinary progress in providing a Safe Place for veterans and the support they needed,” she said.

Her comments were echoed by Armed Forces Champion for Brighton and Hove Amanda Grimshaw, who said both she and Mayor O’Quinn are eager to work with veterans communities back in Brighton. Describing her visit, she said: “It was a wonderful, heart-warming experience that I hope we can replicate in the near future in Brighton & Hove.”

Matt Cole, a former member of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, who works at Crimsham Farm and the Charlie Charlie 1 both, said: “They seemed absolutely blown away by Charlie Charlie 1, and they were talking about what they could do to reproduce the model, and how we could help them set up in the Brighton area.

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"It’s incredible. It’s really exciting. There’s this big movement coming up for veterans across the South East, whereby we’re starting to shout and speak up about what we need and people are starting to notice.”

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