Next Upcoming Event ⇢ October 27th 2022

SOA 2022 Gala Dinner Celebration & Awards Night

                                                                                                                 Sponsored by Cisco

About this Award…

An award to honour an individual or group of individuals linked with the Armed Forces Community who have started and are still running a business, charity or social enterprise that has made a significant positive impact on the lives of people within the Armed Forces Community. This impact should be evidenced within the last three years; since January 1st 2018.

The judges will be looking for evidence of:

  • An engaging story behind the inception of the entity, the identified need, quantified demand for the service and a new and innovative approach to delivering it.
  • What challenges (both operational and personal) have been faced and how they have been overcome.
  • The evolving viable commercial model to maximise continuity of excellent service to the community.
  • Lessons and skills are taken from military service that have been translated to deliver benefit for the wider armed forces community; something that makes this nomination special.

It is anticipated that the established organisation will have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and made appropriate pledges.

This award is suitable for a person, group or team.

                                            Meet our 2021 Winner!

Nigel Seaman – Combat2Coffee

Training veterans suffering from mental health issues or leaving custodial sentences to work as baristas, then helping them to find employment in the growing coffee shop sector

Business Community Impact Award

Combat2Coffee was founded in 2018 by former soldier Nigel Seaman as a Community Interest Company. Nigel was recovering from depression and PTSD, and wanted to help other veterans suffering from mental health issues, so he trains them as baristas, then helps them to find employment in the growing coffee shop sector.

Initially, Nigel converted a caravan and horse-box into mobile coffee shops helped by a team of veterans from all three services. These were taken to events to generate the revenue required to cover their operating expenses. Importantly,  they also became places where veterans could meet for companionship.

After seeing Nigel on TV, the Governor of HM Prison Hollesley Bay invited him to create the “Lansbury” coffee shop within the prison. Residents working on the project included veterans coming to the end of long sentences. The personal skills and self-confidence they have gained will enable them to work for Combat2Coffee on release, with a proper wage and access to peer group mentors. Further facilities have since opened, where veterans can gain valuable work experience.

Nigel Seaman said:

“I’ll probably get emotional… It means a lot – not just to me, but also for the narrative around mental health. I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD from the services. After much deliberation I went to Combat Stress and did the intensive trauma programme. I had a coffee machine in my room and I realised all the other guys came to my room for a decent brew, and through that, started talking about our issues and concerns. Because of my journey, and the journey I know others suffer, this award raises the profile of this even more.  

“Thanks to all the finalists too – they’ve kept me on my toes all week!” 

Previous Winners:

2020 – Turn to Starboard

2019 – Sinah Common Honey

2018 – Sporting Force Ltd