A community café for war veterans in Dudley has been given a new lease of life thanks to a generous donation from online electricals retailer, AO.com.

The café based within the John Willie Sams Centre in Dudley is run by Forward Assist and Salute Her, two charities that support veterans across the country who are experiencing complex issues due to their experiences in the military. Many of the service users have experienced sexual violence at the hands of other military personnel whilst serving for their country.

The cafe is open daily for veterans and members of the local community to socialise, learn new skills and receive specialised therapies to help them deal with a variety of issues, from PTSD to loneliness. Members of the local community who are living in fuel/food poverty can also receive a food parcel free of charge from the café, and there is a pay-it-forward scheme where customers can pay upfront for a coffee/cake for someone who may not have the means to buy their own.

Online electricals retailer AO.com has donated a brand-new fridge-freezer, under counter freezer and an air fryer to the café to replace some of their existing appliances which were well over 15 years old and falling into disrepair. The retailer also took away the old appliances and recycled them at the AO Recycling Centre in Telford.

A suite of brand-new top of the range laptops, desktop computers and noise cancelling headphones were also donated to the charity so that it can continue its operations for many years to come, providing specialised services to those who need them most.

Paula Edwards, CEO of Salute Her, said: ““We are so grateful to AO for their very generous donation. It’s not only going to make a huge difference to our café and serving our veteran and local community, but the new office equipment is also going to enable us to continue providing in-demand therapy to our existing and new service users.”

Founder and CEO of AO, John Roberts said: “It is our absolute pleasure to be able to support Forward Assist and Salute Her in the vital work that they do providing services to those who have served for our country.”