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Combat2Coffee at Roberts Diner, Larkhill Garrison

Sodexo extends its support of veterans with new partnership

Sodexo Government has joined forces with Combat2Coffee, a community interest not-for-profit company (CIC) committed to supporting veterans and ex-uniformed personnel.

Founded by Royal Anglian veteran Nigel Seaman, Combat2Coffee uses coffee as a vehicle of conversation to support the wellbeing and mental health of ex-service personnel and their families.

The vision of Combat2Coffee is to provide:

  • mental health and signposting support through a dedicated and experienced outreach team and community hubs
  • employability skills through barista and roasting training

From its roastery in Ipswich, Suffolk, the Combat2Coffee team of staff and volunteers, many of which are veterans, ex-uniformed or prison leavers, produce the unique Combat2Coffee blend using fairtrade and sustainable premium coffee beans sourced by Seaman from two family farms in Brazil. Every cup of coffee it sells directly funds its mission to support all those in need through its extensive outreach projects across East Anglia.

As a purpose-led business Sodexo is committed to doing all it can to support SMEs and VCSEs and has been running its supplier inclusion programme for almost 10 years. The programme has been designed to break down barriers which historically may have put off SMEs from pitching for supply contracts with large organisations like Sodexo.

Combat2Coffee participated in the programme and with a shared commitment to supporting the whole armed forces community including veterans was the perfect partner for Sodexo’s Government business. The first step in the new partnership is the introduction of Combat2Coffee at Larkhill Garrison, part of Project Allenby Connaught.

Seaman said: “Our mission at Combat2Coffee is to create a supportive community for veterans and their families, ensuring all those affected by mental ill health are heard, understood and supported. Partnering with Sodexo enables us to extend our reach and impact, bringing our unique coffee blend and the warmth of our community to the service personnel, veterans and their families living, working and visiting Larkhill Garrison.”

Mark Baker, Chief Operating Officer Defence, Sodexo UK & Ireland, added: “Our collaboration with Combat2Coffee highlights our commitment to enriching the lives of military veterans and their families through meaningful opportunities and providing much needed health and wellbeing support for those who may be finding it hard to adjust to civilian life. We are excited about the partnership and look forward to working with Nigel and his team to expand Combat2Coffee’s reach further.”

Sodexo has partnered with the Armed Forces for over 30 years. With 4,700 colleagues serving 75,000 customers at 35 military bases, Sodexo understands how important the lived experience is for all those living and working at those sites whether military personnel or all ranks and the civilians supporting them.

Sodexo was also an early signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant an initiative which commends employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and encourages others to follow their lead, and has been a Gold award holder in the Employer Recognition Award scheme since 2017.

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