Nigel Seaman – Founder and CEO
After serving with the army for 12 years and being medically retired from his subsequent career as a prison officer, Nigel began suffering from depression, anxiety and flashbacks from an incident experienced during his time on operations with the armed forces.
A private counsellor referred Nigel to the Combat Stress organisation and with support and intervention from them, he was formally diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nigel was accepted onto a six-week trauma related course which has assisted in his ongoing recovery from this debilitating mental health condition.
Nigel had taken his coffee machine with him on this residential course, and noticed what a draw this was to other veterans and serving personnel. He realised that people felt comfortable talking about difficult things and enjoyed being part of the community over a cup of coffee. He noticed that coffee and conversation could help other veterans like him to talk about, receive advice and support and most importantly find hope from others who have been there.
The Combat2Coffee project and subsequent CIC was set up in 2018 and Nigel’s vision has grown with a dedicated team, providing outreach to veterans and their families through mobile coffee vans that travel far and wide, dedicated outreach workers funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust Fund and cafes in Ipswich. The team provide dedicated barista training and café facilities in several prisons and together with volunteer roasters (veterans’ from the armed forces and blue light services), roast the most amazing Brazilian coffee. Nigel’s commitment to veterans has garnered local and national interest and Nigel and both he and the project have received the following accolades as a result:
Stars of Suffolk Awards – Armed Services Person of the Year 2019
Suffolk Business Awards – Winner of Changing Lives Special Recognition Award 2021
Suffolk Business Awards – Finalist of Business of the Year category 2021
Soldiering on Awards – 2021 Award Winner
Points of Light Award – 2022 In recognition of exceptional service training veterans and offenders in barista skills issued by Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Armed Forces Covenant – Employer recognition scheme Silver Award
The High Sheriff of Suffolk Certificate of Gratitude and Recognition – 2023
Founder – Nigel
Prison Education Team