MOVING home frequently, coping with deployments and juggling family life are challenges that military families face finding work. We meet some of the spouses who have found friendly and flexible employment within the food and drink industry…

Lady Bakewell (Lisa Barron)

“If someone had said to me 18 months ago that I would be running my own cake business, I would never have believed them,” explained Lisa. “Lady Bakewell was sparked by a Christmas cake decorating activity during a wives’ get-together. I threw myself into the industry, enrolling in numerous courses, and the business was born.

“I love it because it brings out the artist in me and allows me to be a full-time mum to our two boys. As I work from the comfort of my own home, I don’t have to worry when my husband is away. It gives me great satisfaction.”

The Green Tree Cafe (Emma Mackinnon Pattison)

Emma owns The Green Tree Cafe in Larkhill. Despite having a small budget, she was able to buy the business using a loan from her parents and secure favourable terms and a long repayment plan from the seller. Now it’s a thriving operation and she employs four other military spouses.

Emma runs her business to fit in with service family life: “I open from 8.30am-3pm to work with school hours and we shut for two weeks at Christmas and during the summer holidays to spend time with our families. It gets me out of the house and gives me space from being a spouse and mother.”

Heroes Drinks Company (Chris Gillan)

Chris was discharged after sustaining an injury whilst working alongside the SAS. He couldn’t follow his planned career path into the police, but – with support from military charities – he started spirit-making business, Heroes Vodka.

Today, 20 per cent of profits are donated to service charities, with the rest providing employment and training opportunities for injured veterans and military spouses. Now stocked nationwide at Asda, the vodka has won awards and Chris is looking to secure funding for a new distillery, but his commitment to veterans and their spouses remains at the heart of his business.

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