WOODY’S Lodge has opened its new West Wales drop-in-centre at Penlan Farm, Llandysul which will support veterans and emergency service personnel and their families.

The staff and volunteers at the charity were joined by more than 60 people representing both local and county councils, police and ambulance services, other veteran charities from across England and Wales, community charities and members of the local community to celebrate the new facility and learn first-hand about the services and opportunities available.

“This is a great facility run by a dedicated team in a beautiful location,” said Inspector Owen Williams, from Dyfed-Powys Police. “It is pleasing and reassuring to have seen first-hand the support being provided to veterans, reservists, emergency service personnel, and their families.”

The Penlan Farm hub will hold a daily drop-in, Monday to Friday, for veterans and emergency service personnel and their families living within the Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire areas.

One aim of the local drop-in centre is to provide the space for friendships and community for many veterans living within isolated rural communities throughout West Wales.

“I was delighted to come to Penlan Farm to the launch of Woody’s Lodge for Mid and West Wales. The work that has been carried out here has been absolutely and utterly outstanding,” said Cllr Paul Hinge, Armed Forces Champion for Ceredigion County Council.

“It (Woody’s Lodge) has now got a chance to move forward so we can look after our veterans, their families and the emergency services and their families for the area that it is serving.”

The grand opening event provided an opportunity for the many veterans’ charities and community charities working in the area to meet and exchange information and ideas as well as show off the work they do.

Alabare, a charity that supports vulnerable, homeless, and marginalised people, provided fresh pizza and drinks from their mobile kitchen.

Wintergreen UK, a non-profit organisation which supports veterans, their families, and members of the public to overcome mental health challenges, officially opened its sensory garden, which is located at Penlan Farm, during the event.

“Penlan Farm isn’t solely a Woody’s Lodge project,” said Graham Jones, CEO for Woody’s Lodge.

“It is an armed forces and emergency services project, and we invite everyone to join us in developing it and using the facilities available here, because we know that there is something here that everyone can benefit from.”

The 11-acre Penlan Farm was donated to Woody’s Lodge by the owners of ‘Dunster House Limited’ and is one part of the Woody’s Lodge, Green Green Grass of Home Project, which aims to develop outdoor activity programs to improve family relationships and mental and physical health.

The multi-year project is initially being funded through two major Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust grants: ‘Positive Pathways’ and ‘Removing Barriers to Family Life’.

Woody's Lodge was formed in February 2017 in memory of Royal Marine Paul 'Woody' Woodland. Paul served in Iraq and Afghanistan and was killed on October 3, 2012 in a training accident while serving with the Special Boat Service.

Woody’s Lodge is a social hub, which guides veterans to the help and support they need to re-engage with their families and communities.

For more information about Woody’s Lodge or opportunities and activities at Penlan Farm, visit www.woodyslodge.org or on Facebook (@woodyslodge) and Twitter (@woodys_Lodge). Alternatively, you can email support@woodyslodge.org