MILITARY veterans, volunteers and staff turned out to meet Gavin Williamson CBE MP Secretary of State for Defence and MP Alun Cairns Secretary of State for Wales at a Penarth charity.

Woody’s Lodge works to 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. It is also supported by the charity Age Cymru.

On the day, MP Gavin Williamson and MP Alun Cairns spent time chatting with people at Woody's Lodge and learnt about the services it provides.

The charity was set up nearly two years ago in February 2017 and is named after Penarth raised Royal Marine and member of the Special Boat Service, Paul “Woody” Woodland, who died while in service with the Royal Navy in 2012.

A key element of the Woody’s Lodge approach is to offer veterans the opportunity to be themselves and interact with people who have had similar experiences.

The lodge was previously located at HMS Cambria in Sully but has now moved to the Amelia Trust Farm in Barry. It also has another base in Erias Park, Colwyn Bay and has recently opened two satellite offices in Rhyl and Wrexham.

Woody’s Lodge CEO Dr David Trotman said: “We were not only surprised but also delighted at welcoming Gavin Williamson, Sec. State for Defence and Alun Cairns, Sec. State for Wales to Woody’s Lodge.

All at Woody’s were pleased to hear that both ministers were supportive of our work at Woody’s and understood the issues being faced by Armed Forces veterans their families but also for those that have served and are serving with the Emergency Services.

“It was a proud day for us all.”

Woody’s Lodge is also a partner in Project 360° along with Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales. The partnership enables the Lodge to work alongside the partners to improve support services for older veterans across Wales.