It was his dream… and now it’s ours

In 2012, Royal Marine and member of the Elite Special Boat Service, Paul “Woody” Woodland lost his life in a training exercise, before he was due to return for a second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Woody was born, bred and schooled in Penarth, South Wales, and had always wanted to be a Royal Marine. Once he completed his Armed Forces career, his dream had been to build a log cabin where he would be able to live with his family, peacefully and in safety.

It was Woody’s dream and now it’s ours.

Woody’s Lodge is a social hub, which guides veterans to the help & support they need to re-engage with their families and communities. Our vision is to create an inviting meeting space for those who have served within the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, where they can receive expert support & advice as well as the chance to connect with new and old friends & family.

Woody’s dream of owning a log cabin after his service became the inspiration for Woody’s Lodge. Which became a reality after two years of planning, with the support of the Royal Navy in Wales and Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations. In Autumn of 2016, as a group of ex-services volunteers, we were allowed access into moth-balled residential housing at Royal Navy Wales’ HMS Cambria. After 3 months of refurbishment, the first Woody’s Lodge opened. It was set within quiet green spaces where it had calming viewsof the Bristol Channel and offered a safe, peaceful and familiar surrounding for veterans and their families.

Woody’s Lodge was based at RN HMS Cambria from when we first opened our doors in February 2017 until August 2018, we are forever grateful for the help and support of those at RN HMS Cambria.

Woody’s Lodge is a communications and social hub for veterans. In our first six months, we received well over 1,200 visits from veterans of all ages from the Vale and Cardiff areas. Woody’s Lodge also acts as a base from which 20 charitable and statutory agencies work including: The Royal British Legion, NHS, Dept. of Works & Pensions, Recovery Cymru, NEXUS, Barnardos and SSAFA.

In the summer of 2018, we moved into new premises set within the Amelia Trust Farm, which is just off of Five Mile Lane on the edge of Barry and in the heart of the Vale of Glamorgan. 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 order to reach those who’ve served in the Armed Forces and Emergency Services more conveniently, we have also opened a Woody’s Lodge in North Wales based at Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay.

With partners Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales, here at Woody’s Lodge, we have been successful in obtaining Armed Forces Covenant Funding in support of the work we do with veterans of 60 years and over, who are dealing with the challenges they face, in particular those linked with physical and mental health, social welfare, finances and housing.

Here at Woody’s Lodge, we commemorate Paul Woodland, his life, and his call to duty and service, by naming this Armed Forces Charity after him; as well as the experiences of C/SGT Brian ‘Snoopy’ McCoy and Richie Bevan of the Welsh Guards, both of which, gave their all.

For more information,  if you would like to visit us at Woody’s Lodge or get involved in anyway, then please call 01446 781792 (South Wales) or 01492 533954 (North Wales). You can also email us: support@woodyslodge.org