Ex-forces man sets up business to support military charity
28 Aug 2015
A former military-man who lost everything after leaving the forces has set up a not-for-profit business aimed at supporting ex-services personnel and their families.
Neil Jones served in numerous tours across 12 years of service and exited the forces in 2006; struggling with civilian life up until he got back on his feet last year. At his lowest ebb, Mr Jones ended up homeless as he went through a series of personal struggles before military charity SSAFA intervened and supported Mr Jones in getting himself back on to his feet.
SSAFA has been providing support to the forces and their families since 1885, through both World Wars and to the present day. They help over 50,000 people a year, the equivalent of one every 15 minutes. For the serving community they have committees on 71 military establishments worldwide and for the veteran community they have 92 branches with 7,000 volunteer helping in every town and village across the land.
Mr Jones, from Bridgend, has set up Rags Textiles; a business that will support SSAFA and provide working opportunities to former military personnel. The business is setting up a UK network oftextile banks that will collect and sell clothing with all profits going towards SSAFA and other activities for helping those service men and women leaving the forces and entering civilian life.
“SSAFA helped me more than I could ever imagine. They helped me one day at a time and ever since I’ve been determined to give something back.” said Mr Jones. SSAFA support countless military families who have either lost family members or struggled with their reintroduction into civilian life, and with the new business we are committed to ensuring this support continues.”
“The incentive scheme underpins our core mission as a business.” continued Jones. “Ultimately, we want to raise as much as possible for SSAFA, but we want to do it in a sustainable and beneficial manner. This means offering employment to ex-military personnel and their families throughout local communities; all whilst promoting renewable and environmentally efficient schemes.”
Speaking from the business’ base in Bridgend, Mr Jones stressed how important it was to create a network of clothing banks across the UK: “Whilst our initial aim is to establish ourselves in South Wales, we have medium-term plans to expand to England via the M4 corridor, and then long-term ambitions to be truly national across the UK.”
Rages Textiles is looking for locations across Wales and the South West of England to station textile banks. if you would like to donate clothing , textiles or offer any other form of support please see the existing location on the website.
SSAFA Head of Regional Fundraising in the South Jim Morrison said “We are proud to have Neil as an ambassador, his courage and tenacity is a model for us all. The project raises money from your old clothes to help veterans; it provides jobs for ex servicemen and helps the environment. What more could you want? Neil has come up with a brilliant idea and we are thankful to him.”