Members of The 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards turned heads as they dropped into a Llandudno cafe for a brew – bringing four ex-Afghanistan ‘Jackal’ armoured vehicles rumbling through the streets!
The Welsh Cavalry met members of Change Step at Troop Café on the Mostyn Broadway coachpark as part of a week-long exercise through the border counties and along the North Wales coast.
Change Step director Geraint Jones said the veterans’ charity had been pleased to welcome members of the Welsh Cavalry to Llandudno.
“We’re delighted that they got in touch with us and were delighted to help them warm up with a hard-earned brew,” he said.
“We were particularly pleased to introduce them to the work of Change Step and to explain the peer-to-peer support, camaraderie and comradeship we offer as part of a wraparound service for former armed forces personnel and their families.
“This visit shows how closely we collaborate with and work alongside our partners, including the armed forces, as part of the Armed Forces Covenant.”
Commanders hope the latest stage of the unit’s trip will help raise its profile in a key recruiting ground, while testing communications and the performance of their armoured vehicles on the roads.
Captain Alex Dumont said the trip was also a valuable opportunity for the Norfolk-based battalion to reconnect with Wales after returning to the UK from their previous garrison in Germany.
“It has been great to meet some the people who are supporting us, and it has given us a great chance to put some faces to some names,” he said.
“It’s also an opportunity for a lot of the guys to come back to their homeland.
“There’s been a bit of a change in pace since we moved back to the UK from Germany, but now we are back we can really start to engage and heighten our profile.”
While primarily designed for use off-road, the six-and-a-half tonne Jackals can reach up to 80mph on paved surfaces.
Stops on the battalion’s trip through North Wales and the border counties have included training with the Clwyd and Gwynedd Army Cadet force in Queensferry, Blind Veterans UK in Llandudno and Caernarfon Castle.
About Change Step
Change Step is a peer mentoring and advice service for military veterans and their families, offering wraparound support, comradeship and camaraderie for ex-forces personnel with a range of psychosocial problems.
The service is delivered by veterans for veterans, and provide peer support, training opportunities and signposting to relevant health and welfare services.
Change Step works collaboratively with dozens of statutory bodies and other relevant organisations to ensure an accessible and comprehensive service. The programme is led by CAIS, and delivered throughout Wales by members of the DACW network.
About Troop Cafe
Military-themed Troop Café is part of the award-winning CAIS Social Enterprises. The not-for-profit business sells affordable, quality light bites, cakes and drinks to the public – and provides a variety of catering and hospitality training, work experience and support to local military veterans and volunteers.
The venue was launched last year, with the concept inspired by the successful Milwaukee Troop Café in the USA. It hosts military events and groups, regular meetings and drop-ins with Change Step peer mentors, volunteers and service users.