FESTIVAL lover Amy Smith hopes her big new van and a passion for vegan food will offer a road to adventure and a whole new career.

Amy, from Moredon in Swindon, has created the Veeg Shack – a mobile catering van offering plant-based foods – and she launched her new business at the recent Swindon Vegan and Yoga Fest serving up hotdogs and kebabs to enthusiastic festival-goers.

“I’ve been a full-on vegan since January,” she said. “I gave up milk and eggs before that, and cheese at the start of the year. Cheese was the hardest – I felt like I was that guy in Trainspotting coming off heroin!”

It was concern for animal welfare that prompted Amy to make the changes.

“It’s such a horrible sound, the cows calling when their calves are taken away from their mothers. I went on a farm visit last year.” She says it was a key moment and part of the reason she cut out dairy from her diet.

Amy, 32, also has a full-time job in project management at Nationwide, where she has worked on and off for 12 years, and continuously for the last five. At the moment, the Veeg Shack is a side project, but she dreams of the day she can work for herself.

“I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t won their own business,” she said. “They’ve all got small businesses locally. They work hard but they are very happy, so I just want to get to that point where I can work for myself and can make a difference in the world.”

The Veeg Shack sells vegan street food, and on the menu are vegan hotdogs – or notdogs as she calls them – as well as three varieties of kebab: pulled pork, spiced kebab meat and sweet chili chicken. These are all, of course, meat-free and made of plant-based meat substitutes. Amy also makes her own vegan potato salad and coleslaw. The hotdogs are made using Taifun tofu sausages, and the kebabs use soya-based meat replacements.

“I go to a lot of festivals and sometimes feel like I’m starving. If they have any vegan food, it’s usually chips or falafels in wholemeal bread, and sometimes you just want some proper festival food!” she said.

She plans to take the van around festivals next year, and already has a weekly gig lined up, selling food at a local football club. Amy bought the van – formerly used to sell Pimms – in June and with the help of her partner Adam Lane, as well as friends and members of her family, converted and redecorated it with food-grade stainless steel and a whole new look for its next incarnation as the home of the Veeg Shack.

“My boyfriend is a carpenter, and although he’s not a vegan, he’s my right-hand man,” she said. “He’s been a great support – he’s got all the faith in me, at the times when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel.”

Amy has been busy acquiring the necessary certification and inspections and getting all set for her new role as proprietor of the Veeg Shack.

“It’s surprising how hard it is to get it all up,” Amy said. “My sister and best friend have been amazing – I could not have done it without them.”

Amy, who loves festivals like Boomtown, Download and Rebellion is already getting enquiries from potential customers keen to book the Veeg Shack. You can find out more on Amy’s Facebook page @TheVeegShack.