The Brunswick Youth and Community Centre in Bootle was formed in 1947 – two years after the end of the second world war – by a group of prisoners of war held in the German camp of “Oflag 79” in Braunschweig.
There was talk of a new social order, an end to the poverty, bad health and hunger which had blighted the years leading to the war.
With these memories still strong the soldiers in the camp decided to act and start a fundraising campaign to offer young people new hope.
The “Brunny”, as it is locally known, provides support and community groups for children and young people in Bootle and South Sefton under the age of 25, as well as other groups in the community.
Its famous members include former Liverpool and England footballer Jamie Carragher, who runs the Jamie Carragher Sports & Learning Academy at the centre.
We were instrumental in organising the event alongside staff from The Brunny, local charity Sefton OPERA and the 156 Regiment RLC.
Over 200 guests attended the celebration, including Centre members, local business leaders, Jamie Carragher, the Mayors of Sefton and Liverpool and MP Peter Dowd.
Veteran Bob King, who was a prisoner of war at Oflag 79, also spoke of his experiences at the event.
Traditional wartime food such as scouse and corned beef hash was supplied by Baytree Catering and served in a wartime-esque field kitchen set up by the 156 Regiment, who also stationed an army truck outside.
St James Brownies performed wartime songs that they were taught by Sefton OPERA during intergenerational work carried out by the charity.
The Sovini Group has supported the Forces Community for a number of years, including taking part in the BBC DIY SOS Veterans Special, offering employment opportunities to ex-service personnel and refurbishing the Veterans in Sefton’s office.
The Group has also achieved the Armed Forces Silver Covenant in recognition for their support of the Forces Community.
Ian Fazakerley, Group Executive Director and Armed Forces Champion at One Vision Housing, said: “We have a strong relationship with the Brunswick, and were more than happy to support them in celebrating 70 years of success.
“The Brunswick does a fantastic job in the local community, and it’s a pleasure to work alongside a centre founded by those that have sacrificed so much to serve our country.”
Keith Lloyd, Centre Manager at the Brunswick, said: “We’re extremely grateful to One Vision Housing, Sefton OPERA and the 156 Regiment for their support – not only for this celebration but throughout the year.
“We pride ourselves on the opportunities we offer to the local community, and could not do that without the help of these businesses.”