As charity partners with RBLI, we take you through Jeff’s story of how working at Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company has helped him to improve his life.

Last week, Seat Unique had the pleasure of visiting our charity partner at RBLI in Aylesford, Kent. During our visit, we toured the veteran village and Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company where we were able to talk to veterans who live and work there.

Visiting RBLI and seeing the work that they do to help veterans transition back into civilian life was an eye-opening and inspiring experience. We got the privilege of speaking with metal-worker and veteran Jeff about his experience with RBLI and his role in Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.

Keep reading to find out more about our trip and Jeff’s story.

What is ‘Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company’?

Seat Unique staff touring the RBLI merchandise section of the factory
Image: Seat Unique staff having a tour of the Britain's Bravest Manufacturing Company 

Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company is run by RBLI (Royal British Legion Industries) to provide employment to veterans and disabled people.

At the factory there are many job roles for the veterans including metal work, sign making, and silk printing. The products they make range from road signs to RBLI merchandise. Some employees work full-time while others are on part-time or shorter hours.

For many, working at Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company fulfils part of their personal mission to rebuild life after exiting the armed forces.

Meaningful employment is often a goal for veterans who are trying to develop skills such as communication, and also provides experience that can be utilised for long-run employment opportunities.

Jeff’s Story

We had the pleasure of speaking with Jeff about the impact of the support of RBLI and employment upon his life after leaving the armed forces.

Jeff has lived in the veteran village for twenty years and has more recently become involved as an employee at Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.

While struggling with his mental health, Jeff told us that he “knew that the way forward was helping myself, and part of that helping myself was meaningful employment. To get a why, why get up?”

Molly Saxby (Content Marketing Exec at Seat Unique) interviewing Jeff
Image: Molly Saxby (Content Marketing Exec at Seat Unique) interviewing Jeff

At the factory, Jeff began working in the vinyl area on part-time hours. After hearing of an available position in metal work, he took the step to go through the application process and was successful.

In his sheet metal role, Jeff will “cut, rivet, put channels on,” and do “anything to do with metal to prepare it before vinyl is applied to it.”

He told us how beneficial employment at the factory has been. When asked if the role had helped him, Jeff told us: “Definitely. It really has. There’s days when it's really challenging” but “without a doubt it's definitely been good. It’s really about helping yourself.”

Jeff expressed how the uniqueness of employment at Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company helps veterans like him to stay in employment: “What’s good here is there’s plenty of support. If I go through down days there is support here where maybe an everyday employer wouldn’t be able to give me that.”

Work in the factory also helps veterans to rebuild skills; for Jeff, the community and the everyday conversation with people has transformed and continues to strengthen his communication skills.

“Prior to working here I spent a lot of time at home and I wasn’t really communicating”, but now working in the factory, “the day-to-day communicating with people and the little bit of pressure as well definitely helps”.

Molly Saxby (Content Marketing Exec at Seat Unique) with Jeff in front of Britain's Bravest Manufacturing Company sign
Image: Molly Saxby (Content Marketing Exec at Seat Unique) with Jeff

The impact of employment through RBLI also produces longer term goals for veterans. Jeff believes that “working here helps my home life and if I can get those communication skills here, I can use them at other places.” Now, Jeff’s goals are “centred around confidence, self-worth and well being.”

We would like to give thanks to Jeff for taking the time to speak with us about his experience.

How can I donate to RBLI?

Raising money to support RBLI is essential to providing employment and living opportunities for veterans. Jeff’s story demonstrates how important such opportunities can be and how they can dramatically change lives for the better.

There are many ways to support and donate to RBLI, ranging from participation in events such as the Falklands 40 Challenge to buying from the charity’s online shop.

To find out more about how you can donate to RBLI through the Welsh Rugby Union Supporter Exchange Platform on Seat Unique, check out our blog now.