£34,000 grants to help armed forces veterans across Essex

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Combat2Coffee, a support organisation for Armed Forces veterans who may be struggling with life outside of the services, is on the road and ready to help thanks to a grant of £34,000 from Essex Freemasons

The money, donated via the Essex Freemasons Community Fund, has allowed the Combat2Coffee charity to purchase and equip a new van which has been literally turned into a mobile coffee shop.

It will be used in every part of the county to help train ex-veterans in business skills, provide a social network for servicemen suffering from a wide range of mental health issues – and for those that really warm to the coffee theme, the chance to learn how to be Baristas.

Coffee has been the key for Colchester based Nigel Seaman, a former member of the Royal Anglian Regiment. After being diagnosed with PTSD, linked to his army service in which resulted in him losing a foot, he decided to use coffee as a vehicle to help others.

'We are here to offer training and development for veterans who may be under a rehabilitation order or are looking for a little extra support,' said Nigel. 'We work with former members of the Armed Forces and their families to train them in new skills and assist those who need it with help to find work placements or outreach support where possible.'

'The van, which would not have been possible without the help of local Freemasons, will enable us to reach every part of Essex and help many more former veterans. The grant has made a real difference to our work'

After serving with the Army for 12 years and being medically retired from his subsequent career as a prison officer, Nigel began suffering from depression, anxiety and flashbacks from an incident experienced during his time on operations with the armed forces.

He was referred to Combat Stress and after completing a 6-week trauma course, Nigel was further referred to Help 4 Heroes for ongoing support in the community. Since then, the Help 4 Heroes organisation along with Combat Stress have been the backbone of his recovery and their support and encouragement have been the inspiration for the creation of Combat2Coffee.

Colin Felton, Provincial Charity Steward for Essex Freemasons, commented: 'Freemasons in Essex have signed the Armed Forces Covenant to help and support our servicemen and women, many of whom suffer terrible mental health issues. This is a good example of the kind of support we want provide and represents our determination to be there for our veterans.'

'Nigel is doing incredible and inspirational work in the community and I am delighted that we have been able to help this charity expand it critical work across Essex.'

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