He was at Harewood House, near Leeds, to highlight plans to build a veteran’s artisan bakery which will offer training at Catterick Garrison and the opportunity for veterans to learn a new skill and gain qualifications.
The chef, who grew-up in Leeds, said: “I’ve flown to Iraq and Afghanistan to cook for the troops on Christmas Day, and it’s always a privilege. I strongly believe we all have a duty to support our soldiers and that duty of care shouldn’t stop on their return home.”
The bakery will be built at The Beacon at Catterick, in North Yorkshire, a centre run by housing association, Riverside, which helps ex-service personnel suffering with combat stress or at risk of homelessness. The bakery will provide vocational training and accredited qualifications.
Riverside’s MoD area manager, Trevor Morris, an ex-serviceman himself, said: “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 consulted with a lot of veterans about what trades would interest them and active trades such as a bakery and landscaping came out very high.”
It is estimated at least 8,500 of the 17,000 service personnel who leave the Armed Forces every year will develop mental health problems.
Yesterday Harewood opened its doors to help promote the drive to raise £110,000. Cash for the project has already come from a number of sources including from the Hesco Bastion Fund, set up by the late Jimi Heselden, managed by the Leeds Community Foundation.
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