In 2012, Royal Marine and member of the Elite Special Boat Service, Paul 'Woody' Woodland lost his life in a training exercise. He was due to return for a second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
Woody was born, bred and schooled in Penarth, South Wales. He had always wanted to be a Royal Marine.
Once he completed his Armed Forces career, his dream had been to build a log cabin where he would be able to live with his family, peacefully and in safety.
Woody’s Lodge commemorate Paul Woodland, his life, and his call to duty and service by naming this Armed Forces Charity after him.
Paul 'Woody' Woodland's dream of owning a log cabin after his service became the inspiration for Woody’s Lodge. With the support of the Royal Navy in Wales and Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations Woody's dream became a reality.
After two years of planning, in Autumn 2016, a group of ex-services volunteers were allowed access of this lodge at Royal Navy Wales’ HMS Cambria.
After 3 months of refurbishment, the first Woody’s Lodge opened. It was set within a quiet green space with a calming view of the Bristol Channel. It offered safe and peaceful surroundings for veterans and their families.
In the summer of 2018, Woody's moved into new premises set within the Amelia Trust Farm.
The 160 acre farm in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales was created as a living memorial to Bob Huggard's mother, Amelia. The Trust's vision was to use the Farm as a ‘rural lung’ for a variety of people but especially those who are disadvantaged and vulnerable in attempt to foster self-help, build confidence and enhance employment.
The ethos and aspirations of both Woodys Lodge and the Amelia Trust Farm mirror each other.
It is the perfect setting to continue growing Woody’s Lodge.
Woody's Lodge is a communication and social hub for veterans, emergency services, reservists and their families. In their first six months, Woody's at South Wales' base received well over 1,200 visits from veterans of all ages from the Vale and Cardiff areas. Woody's Lodge acts as a base from which 20 charitable and statutory agencies work, including The Royal British Legion, NHS, Department of Work and Pensions, Recovery Cymru, NEXIS, Barnardos and Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA).
In 2017, with partners Age Cymru and Age Alliance Wales, Woody's were successful in obtaining Armed Forces Covenant Funding to support the work they do with veterans of 60 years and over who are dealing with the challenges they face, in particular those linked with physical and mental health, social welfare, finances and housing.
In order to reach more conveniently those Welsh veterans, and their families, who live further afield from South Wales, Woodys have been expanding opening more Lodges.
Fferm Ty Gwalia / Gwalia Farm
Gwalia lies in the scenic Northern Wales county of Denbighshire. It is ideal for nature lovers and those who relish outdoor activities. It spans 11 acres and provides private housing for veterans.
This hidden gem is a place to connect with family and friends while having fun, getting active, discovering new hobbies and fostering new connections.
From here veterans can enjoy camping, angling, cycling, archery, hiking, photography, art, gardening, metal detecting, equine therapy and so much more!
Fferm Amelia / Amelia Trust Farm
Amelia Trust Farm is a countryside sanctuary that sits in the South Wales county of the Vale of Glamorgan. It stretches a colossal 160 acres and accommodates farm animals, wildlife and exceptional nature spots.
Woody’s Lodge has called the farm home since 2018. They are in the heart of untouched nature, where you can discover the hidden gems of the great outdoors.
Penlan Farm in West Wales is home to some of Woody's biggest projects.
There is something for every veteran here, from leisure and recreational activities to training and networking. It holds incredible potential with plans to build holiday cottages and training facilities.
The farm benefits from two grants that will have a phenomenal impact on its growth and development.
In the Rhyl drop in centre they have had a number of competitions. Over a number of weeks each veteran has taken their turn to make a food item to share with the group. The veterans all share the item during the drop in session and vote each week.
At the end of the competition the votes are added up and the winning chef receives a very special handmade award.
The picture shows the winning cake - which was as delicious as it looked!
The Rhyl drop-in 'competitions' have featured curries, cakes and pies.
This is the winning pie. It was a delicious Christmas Pie.
The winner had this amazing handmade trophy.
The group have had a lot of fun and laughter throughout.
The Rhyl Woody's organize lovely social events and get togethers, such as a Bowling evening (shown in photo).
On the following pages we've included some quotes and written content from Woody's veterans. We have chosen not correct spelling or grammar in these slides as we wanted the veterans' thoughts to be heard exactly as they expressed them.
Book of You would like to thank all the veterans at both the Denbighshire and Conwy sites for sharing their thoughts, stories and feelings with us during the sessions, also to Wendy Scott and Graham Jones for their help in telling the story of Woody's Lodge and of course to Paul 'Woody' Woodland, without whom this amazing and much-needed service wouldn't exist.