Veterans in Wales now have a new social hub with a unique ‘farmily feel’ where they can receive specialist help and support.
Since opening its doors in 2017, Woody’s Lodge had been based in Sully at HMS Cambria. However, the Royal Naval unit will move to a new Cardiff Bay-based building in 2019 as part of a major project being delivered by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales.
During the summer, Woody’s Lodge was rehomed at a new premises on the edge of Barry and within the Amelia Trust Farm. They will continue to work with veterans dealing with challenges linked to physical and mental health, social welfare, finances and housing from the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan.
“We aim to give veterans and their families, a safe, social space, where they can start to re-engage, in an often seen, confusing civilian community. Woody’s sites, both north and south provides an holistic way of working with individuals and families, by simply having a brew and a bit of banter to art classes, sports or simply enjoying green spaces,” said David Trotman, Chief Executive of Woody’s Lodge. .
“We believe that the ethos and aspirations of the Amelia Trust Farm mirrors our own and is the perfect setting to continue growing Woody’s Lodge. In our first sixteen months, over 3,200 veterans visited Woody’s Lodge – this now includes those who have served as reservists and in the emergency services. We look forward to welcoming many more at our new home.
“I should finally add the charity’s thanks to RFCA for Wales and the Royal Navy in Wales for giving us the opportunity to start our work at HMS Cambria and providing the advice and support going forward.”
The inspiration for Woody’s Lodge comes from Paul ‘Woody’ Woodland – a Royal Marine and member of the Elite Special Boat Service, who lost his life during a training exercise in 2012.
Paul, who was born and bred in Penarth, dreamt of building a log cabin for his family to live in once he completed his service in the Armed Forces, which included a tour of Afghanistan. After two years of planning and with support from the Royal Navy and RFCA for Wales, Woody’s Lodge became a reality in February 2017.
Woody’s Lodge also has a presence in North Wales. A hub was recently opened at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay and regularly welcomes veterans from the surrounding areas.
20 charitable and statutory agencies use Woody’s Lodge as a base to work, including; The Royal British Legion, NHS, Department for Work & Pensions, Recovery Cymru, NEXUS, Barnardos and SSAFA. They also partner with Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales to obtain Armed Forces Covenant Funding.
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