Families

When a veteran comes home from active service, it can be difficult to adjust back to home life. This isn’t only the case for the veteran themselves, but also their friends and family. Sometimes it can be a case of the whole family having to readjust to a new home dynamic and that can be difficult. Often families aren’t used to being together again and it takes some understanding and compromise to find your flow in the home again. This can be more challenging if perhaps a veteran is struggling with physical or mental health issues, that aren’t always straight forward and needs extra support. This comes with its own difficulties as often veterans are used to being independent and considered ‘strong’.

Woody’s Lodge is an inviting meeting space where veterans of the Armed Forces and Emergency Services, as well as their loved ones, can receive expert advice and guidance on a range of topics from housing & benefits to socialising with like-minded peers.

If you’re a friend or family of a veteran and are looking for some help and support or perhaps the chance to socialise with others who’ve had a similar experience to yourself, Woody’s Lodge is here to help. From Family Day’s to just ensuring that the loved ones and families of our veterans are feeling supported through a good cup of tea and a biscuit, Woody’s Lodge is here with you every step of the way.

Karen & Nigel’s story

Karen and her husband, Nigel, visit us here at Woody’s Lodge regularly. Read below to find out more about their story.

My husband, Nigel, had always been the big strong man, the provider and the person everyone turned to for support and help. When he retired from the Police force after a full career as a Traffic Police Officer and Fire Arms Officer our future looked rosy. He was well respected and even looked up to so finding a new job came easily.

However, our lives were changed forever when in 2012, Nigel was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis and has since slowly been losing the ability to move. Our daughter, Tabitha, was 10 years old and has grown up since then understanding that her strong dad needs help. It took a year for us to come to terms with the diagnosis although I sometimes wonder if we will ever completely accept how our lives have changed. Nigel continued to work until he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015.

After a particularly bad year but successfully battling the cancer with radiotherapy we became aware that our lives had shrunk, and we were no longer going out on a regular basis. Coping with a disability when you have always been strong, fit and able is a hard pill to swallow. In January 2017 I realised that we were becoming prisoners in our own home. I had bit by bit given up everything I loved doing and had become Nigel’s full-time carer, trapped with him. Social services couldn’t offer any help other than an expensive 1-day session every week with elderly and more severely disabled people. They did however point us in the direction of a new charity that was being set up to offer a social meeting place and support for veterans and the emergency services: Woody’s Lodge.

Woody’s Lodge has become the focal point of Nigel’s week, a place he can go to where he doesn’t feel like the disabled person; where his position as a Police Officer still counts for something. His disability is catered for but doesn’t change how people speak to him and it is not seen as a weakness. Apart from medical appointments Woody’s is the only place Nigel leaves the house for most weeks. For me it is a place where I feel that I am not on my own; a place where I can ask for help without consequences or forms to fill in before I qualify for help. Initially I didn’t intend to stay, I intended to have a day to myself but the support and welcome we have both received has given me a focus again that helps us both deal with the difficulties we have. For our daughter it is a team of people that she can turn to if I get ill which is a huge relief for me. Woody’s Lodge has become a life line for our family.

If you have had a similar experience to Nigel and Karen, or have your own story, come and find support and friendship at Woody’s Lodge.

Woody’s Lodge South Wales

Amelia Trust Farm
5 Mile Lane
Barry
CF62 3AS
Tel: 01446 781792

MON-THU 10-3PM

Woody’s Lodge North Wales

Eirias Park
Abergele Road
Colwyn Bay
LL29 8BN
Tel: 01492 533954

MON-FRI 10-3PM

You can also email us: support@woodyslodge.org.