As veterans, reservists and emergency service leavers, we’re pretty used to thinking on our feet and dealing with situations that are quickly developing. However, 2020 truly has been a year like no other and there’s no doubt that, dare we say it, we’re living in unprecedented times.
With Christmas and the New Year fast approaching, here at Woody’s Lodge, we wanted to take some time to take stock of this year. Whilst it’s been challenging, we’ve also had some really positive moments and as well as some really exciting developments that continues to allow us to build Woody’s Lodge bigger and bigger so that we can support even more veterans, emergency service leavers and their families.
Armed Forces Covenant Funding
Back at the start of 2020, we were absolutely delighted to find out that we have been awarded two major Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust grants: Positive Pathways and Removing Barriers to Family Life. Both of which will enable to significantly develop our work across Wales over the next two years. Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund grants and how we’ll use them here.
Funding from the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity in partnership with Greenwich Hospital
We were also thrilled to have been granted funding from the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity in partnership with Greenwich Hospital. This funding allows us to actively engage with the Royal Navy & Royal Marines veterans community in South East Wales, as well as enabling greater access to our signposting and support facilities. Find out more about our RNRMC & Greenwich Hospital funding here.
This funding has allowed us to create roles such as our RNRMC Project Officer, Mark, who has already been making a huge difference. During the first lockdown, Mark and Keith, our Activities Officer, visited Colin and Lorna to give them a brand-new tablet provided by the funding from the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity. This tablet will allow them to stay connected, even when physically isolated because of lockdown!
The opening of Woody’s Lodge West Wales at Penlan Fam
Thanks to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and a very generous donation of Penlan Farm, an 11-acre farm in West Wales from Mr and Mrs C & P Murphy of Biddenham, we have been able to open a third Woody’s Lodge Hub in West Wales!
At our West Wales Hub, we have a daily drop-in centre for veterans, emergency service leavers and their families living within the Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire areas, bringing additional support to Veterans and Families living within this area. We will also work in partnership with RFCA Cymru and MPTC Wales to develop closer relationships between the cadet community and veterans. Woody’s also wants to extend these facilities at all our rural hubs to provide activities and support for the Military Service Children Community, working with SSCE Cymru.
We have huge plans for the future in West Wales to provide more socialising, signposting and support to the veteran and emergency service leavers community in West Wales, find out more about Penlan Farm and our plans here.
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£518,230.60 in benefits & pensions claimed!
Despite this year offering so many challenges, especially thanks to social distancing measures, we are pleased that we have been able to continue to support our veterans, emergency service leavers and their families to receive the help and benefits that they are entitled to. In fact, since 2018, we have helped our beneficiaries claim and receive £518,230.60 in benefits and pension claims that they are entitled to.
Throughout the rollercoaster of this year, Judy and our team have continued to advocate for our beneficiaries to ensure that they are supported, and we’re absolutely thrilled that we were able to help our beneficiaries claim such a huge amount of money, that they are entitled to! Could Woody’s Lodge help you?
Woody’s Trustee, Ian Price, awarded Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal!
We were delighted for Ian, one of our Trustees, to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List this year! He was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal. Read all about it here.
Working with Need to Feed
We’re so pleased that we’ve joined forces with a local community project in South Wales, The Need to Feed. This project is based in St Athan and is run by Vicky Lang and a small team of volunteers. Vicky and her team work tirelessly collecting food donations from around 14 shops across Cardiff and the Vale. This food is then distributed to those individuals and families who may be struggling in our current environment for whatever reason, be it; self-isolating, geographically isolated, unable to get transport to go shopping or simply struggling due to furlough and the restrictions that have been once again put in place. Since starting The Need to Feed, Vicky and her volunteers have supported those in need across Cardiff and the Vale community, including a local farm and even a tortoise Sanctuary.
Working with Vicky and The Need to Feed has enabled Woody’s Lodge to offer food parcels to our veterans and emergency services who are in need during the pandemic. Find out more about The Need to Feed here.
Nigel’s ‘Walk a Mile’ Challenge
Some of you might remember, back in May, we held a ‘100 miles in May’ Challenge to raise money for Woody’s Lodge. Nigel had a full career as a Traffic Motorcyclist and Firearms Officer. Nigel and his wife, Karen’s lives were completely changed forever when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis in 2012 and ever since, he has slowly been losing the ability to move. However, Nigel was determined to get involved with his own fundraising challenge and walked a mile in May, raising over £10,000 for Woody’s Lodge in the process! Find out more about his amazing challenge or donate to Nigel’s Virgin Money Giving page here.
We know this year has been difficult for so many and we want you to know that Woody’s Lodge is still here for you. All three of our Hubs are open, with COVID-19 restrictions in place and strict health & safety measures, but if you’re not yet able to visit us in person, we’re still holding twice weekly Zoom calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11am and we’d love for you to get involved. Join the call using this link and enter the details below to enter the call:
Meeting ID: 693 474 4238
Ending the year with Wales in Tier 4 lockdown isn’t quite how we expected this festive season to be, but from everyone here at Woody’s Lodge, we’d like to wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Woody’s Lodge is a communications and social hub for veterans of the armed forces and emergency services, along with their families. We provide safe spaces for armed service veterans, recent leavers, reservists and those who served in the emergency services to socialise and access a wide range of health and social services.