A network of veteran-owned businesses is gaining support in Cumbria.
Already a familiar sight in the United States, the phenomenon is growing here in the UK and is being supported by leading Carlisle solicitor Nick Kennon.
He spotted “veteran owned” stickers during his travels in the US and started looking into how many there were locally, introducing the ethos into his professional life.
“The north-west of England produces quite a lot of the infantry soldiers of the United Kingdom,” he said. “We are a patriotic bunch in this part of the country.
“There’s a lot of respect for the military here. People can be assured they’re being looked after by people with those values, and businesses can say we’re putting our experience to use even after military service.”
Now senior director with Wragg Mark-Bell Solicitors in Carlisle, Nick has nearly 20 years’ service with the Army Reserve in the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and has deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Cyprus.
Anyone who visits Nick in his office will see a reminder of his days overseas with the Army. His battered mini fridge kept him company in Afghanistan and Iraq and is still in active service dispensing cold drinks in Carlisle.
In November he rejoins 4 Lancs as commanding officer with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Turning 47 this year, he sees himself serving until his mid-50s at least.
He said: “What I’ve taken from the Army Reserve into the firm is teamwork. No-one can manage to stand alone, we’ve all got to be on the same page going in the same direction. What I don’t like is anyone who doesn’t give 100 per cent effort because in my professional world we are here to support and represent our clients and what they have every right to expect is that there is somebody here who won’t just take the easy choice.
“If there is some unpleasant news to give them we have the moral courage to say to them there are some problems but here’s what we’re doing about it and here’s how we can assist you going forward. It’s always thinking that next step.”
Other veteran-owned businesses in Carlisle listed on the Veteran Owned website include Guard-a-Force and Grill Monkeys.
Meanwhile Nick Kennon is putting his firm’s money where his principles are. Wragg Mark-Bell offer a 20 per cent discount to serving military personnel, veterans, NHS and blue light staff.