CELEBRITY chef Rosemary Shrager yesterday launched a bakery designed to help vulnerable ex-servicemen and women.

The Veterans’ Artisan Bakery in Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, is designed to teach employment skills and give an insight into running a business.

The specialist training bakery has been set up at Riverside English Churches Housing Group’s new housing and training centre for veterans, The Beacon, in conjunction with the Clervaux Trust.

It will help ex-soldiers who have suffered from post-traumatic stress, or are at risk of homelessness, by giving them vital skills while using bread-making as a form of therapy.

Head baker Kevin Irvine, a recent exserviceman, is well qualified to both train his raw recruits and to relate to them.

Rick McCordall, commercial manager of the Clervaux Trust, said: “Kevin has just returned from his last trip to Helmand, in Afghanistan, as chef to 9,000 troops.

“He completed his military career after 22 years in service.

“He was perfect for the job because of his skills as a baker and his experience in training junior chefs.”

The Clervaux Trust is a Darlingtonbased charity that helps disadvantaged young people by giving them practical experience.

Mr McCordall said: “Baking bread has proved to be a very therapeutic and enjoyable activity and provides a real sense of achievement.

“The Veterans’ Artisan Bakery is working towards becoming a viable social enterprise selling high-quality breads and food across the Catterick and Richmond areas.”

Ms Shrager, television’s Ladette to Lady presenter and cookery school tutor, is backing the venture.

She said: “I am passionate when it comes to teaching about food.

“So, it is such an honour to launch an initiative in an environment where artisan baking may not be the first thing people think of when they think of the military.

“It shows how something as simple but valuable as baking can transform people’s lives. Our ex-servicemen and women who are struggling with mental and physical disadvantages as a result of serving their country deserve this opportunity.”