Social Enterprise Projects Begin In Earnest

Social Enterprise Projects begin in earnest

We are excited that our social enterprise projects Boots on the Ground and Field Kitchen have begun again in earnest following the lifting of restrictions in Wales.

Both projects, Boots on the Ground and Field Kitchen are designed to support the mental health of the Veterans within Alabaré Homes for Veterans, or others connected with Alabaré within local communities. Servicemen and women can struggle with several conditions that put them at an increased risk of homelessness such as depression, PTSD, ill health, unemployment, family or relationship breakdown when leaving the services which mean they may struggle to adapt to civilian life.

The Boots on the Ground Project engages Veterans with a range of outdoor-based activities in the natural environment across England and North and South Wales. This enables veterans to take part in activities that are personally meaningful while receiving support for their mental health and wellbeing needs. With wellbeing in mind, we have a range of options from gentle walks in nature and Vet‘s Breakfasts, to bush-craft sessions and food growing.

Field Kitchen, however, is focused on sharing and developing knowledge and skills so that Veterans have greater job opportunities available to them. With two vehicles and more planned, the team is building up a loyal following with their vintage horsebox wood-fired pizza catering outlet which visits local destinations on a routinely, daily basis. This initiative allows the Veterans to develop their work experience based around customer care, hospitality and catering while improving employment prospects and facilitating a positive involvement within their local communities. Both projects are supported by full-time staff experienced in these fields. 

Each project allows Veterans to have more choice and control over their own personal recovery journeys. 

Lee Duggan Positive Pathways Programme Manager comments on the Boots on the Ground project's more recent achievements.  

“The work done in the Alabaré homes during lockdown really did sow seeds, enabling valuable engagement in a variety of projects now available across the region. One resident, in particular, has surprised everyone, including himself with just how involved he has become. As a quiet individual initially reluctant to leave his room, he has now embraced the weekly routine of cooking sausages and drinking tea around the fire pit with his housemates.

 

Supported by Keep Wales Tidy we have created a wildlife garden which everyone has a role in to maintain and monitor as new creatures move in. We have dug and built beds ready to home a selection of vegetables and herbs which are currently growing and taking stock on every windowsill of the house. The gentleman mentioned above is now encouraging others to join wellbeing walks with Transport For Wales or social forestry with Coed Lleol and litter picks with Keep Wales Tidy…as well, of course, growing the finest pepper plants Awel Mor has seen to date. Most importantly participants are enthused with everyone noticing changes in mood, resilience, and motivation. As a result I am very excited to keep getting more boots on the ground and moving forwards”.

 

Boots on the Ground Cymru will be officially launched on Tuesday, 18th May, 12 pm-2 pm at Conwy Morfa beach and we look forward to several project partners attending, although this is not a public event, those interested are most welcome to attend. 

Both projects have been enabled through several partnership grants to include the Covenant Armed Forces Covenant, ABF Soldiers Charity, Gwynt Y Mor, Rhyl Flat, WCVA and Conwy Council. We are grateful to all of those that have helped establish these vital projects and we look forward to bringing you updates soon. 

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