Sodexo ambassador and former rugby star Matt Dawson was among those at Bulford Garrison and Perham Down to celebrate the launch of Pay As You Dine (PAYD) across the first tranche of what will be a total of 62 restaurants and many more messes in military garrisons across Salisbury Plain and in Aldershot over 2014-2015.

PAYD brings a significant change to the way non-operational catering is delivered to more than 18,700 soldiers based at military units across Project Allenby/Connaught, the MOD’s largest PFI contract, where they will pay for each meal as they choose it, rather than through a monthly salary deduction. It is a tried and tested Ministry of Defence system that has been in place for over ten years in other garrisons.

PAYD will go live in Tidworth in July, Aldershot in November and finally, Larkhill and Warminster in March 2015. During his visit to Kiwi, Swinton and Ward Barracks, Matt Dawson spent time chatting to service personnel about maintaining a balanced lifestyle and also supported lunch service from behind the hotplate, signing rugby shirts, rugby balls and recipe cards.

The rugby team from Wellington Academy, the local school where a high percentage of the pupils are from military families, also attended the event and got the chance to meet the 2003 Rugby World Cup winner and were given a signed mini rugby ball each to take home.

Colonel James Denny MBE, Garrison Commander, said: “The introduction of PAYD has been carefully planned and very successfully introduced. The diner facilities, food quality, presentation and value for money are first class. Food is a key to the morale of the Army; not just the eating of it, but the social interaction that we get by eating together and it is great to see that the introduction of PAYD has reinforced this. I would like to thank the senior management team of Aspire, Sodexo, and members of the Garrison Management Team for successfully introducing a complicated and challenging programme”.

Mark Seastron, Divisional Director for Sodexo Defence, said: “In partnership with Aspire Defence, we are introducing an innovative and flexible PAYD food offer with an up to date, high street feel across Project Allenby/Connaught to meet the changing demands of our military customers throughout their day. We are delighted that service families, friends, contractors and civil servants are now also welcome to dine in Sodexo’s PAYD restaurants and we look forward to introducing PAYD in the remaining Allenby/Connaught garrisons over the coming year”.

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