Riverside ECHG – a provider of social housing nationwide – and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) worked together to create The Beacon. The Beacon is a specialist housing and training facility for veterans who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and struggling to adjust to life back in Civvy Street. It is situated on the edge of Catterick Garrison.
As part of its training and therapy offer, it decided to invest in a training bakery.
Riverside’s Area Manager, Trevor Morris, an ex-Serviceman himself, explains: “When people leave the Armed Forces they often find that while they have lots of very useful team and project management skills, they need to develop trades that will find them jobs in civilian life. We have helped support over 10,400 Veterans since September 2000 and we consulted with a lot of our ex-Servicemen and women about what trades would interest them and active trades such as a bakery and landscaping came out very high.”
Cause UK, which provides fundraising, TV journalism, marketing, PR and event management for the Third Sector and businesses with a conscience, were tasked with generating funds to set up the artisan bakery, kitchen and coffee point.
The bakery would provide veterans with vocational training and accredited qualifications.
Working with Greg Wright, the deputy business editor on the Yorkshire Post, a full-page feature was pulled together announcing the fundraising efforts. ‘Chance of a fresh start for veterans who have suffered for their country’ became an award-winning piece for Greg and collateral for potential funders.
Cause joined forces with celebrity chef Marco Pierre White to support the project aimed at reintegrating ex-servicemen back into society – a cause close to his heart. Marco regularly flew to Afghanistan to cook for the troops, particularly at Christmas. Marco launched the project in Leeds.
After generating a successful media campaign across regional media led by The Yorkshire Post Cause UK negotiated with Harewood House to also partner as a high profile setting for a photo-shoot with Marco and veterans.
Just six months after the media campaign was launched, the bakery was built and the launch was set for 16 February 2012.
What Marco said
“In the past I’ve done projects working with troubled youths who turn their lives around. The veterans deserve this opportunity. I have nothing but respect for the soldiers who have served on the front line. So let’s break bread and salute these great people.”