Veteran’s charity helps former soldier sleeping rough rebuild his life
A charity supporting homeless veterans in North Wales has teamed up with a Denbighshire company to help a former soldier rebuild his life after his family lost their farm and he ended up sleeping in the street.
Alabaré, who runs three houses in Conwy, launched Field Kitchen – a wood-fired pizzeria in a converted horse box, to raise funds and retrain some of its customers.
The business is backed by the UK’s largest self-service container storage company, Denbigh-based Lock Stock, which has 22 storage lots across North Wales and the Borders, and aims to helping more than 30 ex-military personnel find housing and employment each year.
Former Royal Signals Regiment soldier Will Harper – alias – spent months sleeping on the streets with his loyal dog, Harry, after the family farm he helped fund had to be sold for repay his debts.
He said: ‘I got out of the army to try and save the farm and started a welding business there but unfortunately they had run up debts and we lost the farm and I ended up homeless, sleeping rough in the pickup truck.
“I spent six months living like this. I would try to find a really quiet place in the woods as they close all the public restrooms at 5pm which means there is nowhere to go – it was just lucky to have a vehicle.
“Fortunately, I was put in contact with Alabaré and they were able to help me. Having a stable place to live and now they put me in touch with Cais who helps homeless people find a job.
“I grew up on a farm and I’m able to do most things. I ran a steel fabrication business for a while, but when we lost the farm things started to go downhill.
“It’s a horrible and very lonely situation, but I feel like I’m getting back on track now.
“Alabaré provided me with a roof over my head, a bed, and cleaning and cooking facilities – things everyone takes for granted – but just having someone to talk to and activities to do makes such a difference.”
Lock Stock North West Wales venues manager Tony Jones said: “Alabaré does a fantastic job with veterans who may find it difficult to adapt to civilian street life or find circumstances stacked against them. like David.
“It’s a great idea to run a mobile pizzeria with a good wood-fired oven and they also produce great pizzas.
“Things can be tough for charities in these tough times, so this is a great way to raise money and maybe give some of their clients the chance to retrain as well.”
The charity is keen to hear from more places that they would like them to visit and they can be contacted at https://www.facebook.com/AlabaréFieldKitchen/ or at http://www.alabare .co.uk/home/country-kitchen/alabaré-social-enterprises