31 / 01 / 2022

Lovell has reinforced its commitment to the mental health of its staff with the launch of a new initiative to encourage staff on its sites in London and surrounding counties to talk about any problems affecting them.

The partnership housebuilder has joined forces with construction recruitment specialist O’Neill & Brennan and its partner Combat2Coffee, which is run by former armed forces veterans who have all faced their own challenges.

As part of the new initiative, Combat2Coffee barista vans will be visiting Lovell construction sites offering hot drinks, and more importantly the chance for workers to chat.

Nigel Seaman who set up Combat2Coffee says that a cuppa is a great neutral ground for people to talk about anything worrying them

Nigel said: “Our baristas have all faced their own challenges in the armed forces or as part of resettling outside the services and we find their presence and approach really helps others open up. We also know that there are a lot of veterans working on building sites so by Lovell offering this service we can reach these people and help as many employees as possible.”

Nigel set up Combat2Coffee after he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and decided that he wanted to use a mobile coffee service as a vehicle to help others.

Now employing seven people and with two mobile vans serving coffee he says the company also has its own café and coffee is roasted by former veterans currently serving time in prison.

“We are just trying to change the world one sip at a time,” added Nigel. “It is about everyone helping each other.”

Baristas include Matt Reynolds, pictured with Stuart Gibbons, Regional Managing Director for Lovell London. Matt was in the military for 17 years and says he struggled with the transition to civilian life when he left the services. He was in the Royal Military Police but was unable to find a job when he left.

After meeting Nigel and training with Combat2Coffee Matt is now a huge part of the team and involved in community events and says he enjoys working in a safe environment among like-minded people who provide peer support.

“Matt is a great example of someone who is now thriving after being able to talk about his problems and training with us. With people like Matt on board we can reach more people who are suffering,” said Nigel.

“This joint partnership with O’Neill & Brennan and Lovell is a great example of an easy way to spread the message that there is support for people and that starts with a chat over a cup of coffee.”

Stuart Gibbons said that by working with Combat2Coffee Lovell is providing practical and easy access to support for the mental health of staff on site who need to talk.

“We take this subject matter very seriously at Lovell. Combat2Coffee has a great approach to supporting the mental health of veterans and the wider community and as a company we are committed to doing everything we can to support our staff. We see this partnership as a starting point for many who may have felt unable to talk about an issue troubling them in the past.”

He said Combat2Coffee will be visiting Lovell sites across London and Hertfordshire with O’Neill & Brennan this year to meet staff and serve at key launch events.

Sasha Simmonds, O’Neill & Brennan’s Head of Social Value, said: “As part of the mental health outreach we do as a company into prisons, I came across Combat2Coffee while visiting HMP Hollesley Bay. I have always thought there must be something more we can all do. After a chat with Nigel, our partnership was soon under way. I visit all the construction sites with their mobile barista vans and love being able to support in any way I can. These events have aways been warmly welcomed on site and people are always more than happy to engage with myself and Matt.”

Lovell is highlighting the UK initiative Time to Talk Day on Thursday 3 February which is run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The day is about creating supporting communities by having conversations with family, friends and colleagues about mental health.