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The very latest news and comment from Cobseo

The very latest news and comment from Cobseo



27th September 2011


Veterans Minister Supports Poppy Charity’s Work To Help Injured Veterans Mend Their Lives

The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans has visited a charity helping to get wounded, injured and sick veterans into work.

The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP today (21 September 2011) visited The Poppy Factory in Richmond-upon-Thames which has launched a five-year campaign to help 500 wounded, sick and injured ex-Service men and women from the British Armed Forces into meaningful employment.

Silk poppies made and boxed at the Poppy Factory in Richmond-upon-Thames  [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

The campaign builds on work done over the past few years by The Poppy Factory, which has been piloting supported employment and has successfully managed to place more than 70 veterans of all ages in jobs around the UK.

Launched in June, the campaign needs to raise £4 million over the next five years.

Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, Andrew Robathan, in the Poppy Factory warehouse with the charity's Chief Executive, Melanie Waters  [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

The Rt Hon Andrew Robathan MP said:

“The Poppy Factory campaign is tremendous, and I was delighted to be able to visit and meet the people behind it – as well as some of our injured personnel. The Government is always keen to support schemes such as this, which further enhance the lives of our servicemen, ex-servicemen, and their families. Charities like the Poppy Factory are at the heart of the Prime Minister‟s „Big Society‟ and align perfectly with the Armed Forces Covenant, which will soon be enshrined in law.”

Poppy Factory worker Trevor Thomas, aged 65, packing wreaths  [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Melanie Waters, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said:

“We want to help ex-Service men and women regain their self-respect and confidence in order to earn a living, so that they can feel a valuable member of society again. This enables them to support themselves and their families and enjoy the next phase of their lives. Having valiantly served their country, we think they deserve it.”

Focusing on boosting employment prospects, The Poppy Factory finds and carefully matches employers with clients and part-funds their clients‟ first year‟s salary, in a number of cases, to allow for a period of flexibility, enhancing training and development into their new role. Continued guidance is given to both the employer and employee to ensure the veteran‟s smooth transition.

Thousands of plastic poppy stems ready to be delivered to 'home' workers  [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Melanie Waters said:

“Ex-Service men and women have a fantastic work ethic, are disciplined, trustworthy and used to performing within a team. Many have qualifications that are invaluable for companies today. There are a number of employers all over Britain, who could offer these men and women a life-changing job.”

“We have spent the last four years learning about clients‟ individual issues, their differing conditions, their range of skills and their expectations. We have developed relationships with companies and like-minded charities, but there is so much more scope for other businesses to open their doors to a new employee, who may require a little more consideration in the beginning, but will reward that support with long term commitment. So far, we have used our own funds and will continue to do so.

Wooden tokens of remembrance crafted at the Poppy Factory. Left to right: Muslim crescent, Christian cross, Jewish star, 'No Faith' token and the newest one, far right, is the Sikh Khanda  [Picture: Richard Watt, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]


Since 1922, The Poppy Factory (originally called the Disabled Society) has been employing wounded, sick and injured ex-Service personnel in its factory where it makes poppies, crosses and wreaths for The Royal British Legion.

Major George Howson MC, who served on the Western Front, set up „The Disabled Society‟ in 1922 in the Old Kent Road with the sole purpose of providing work for severely wounded veterans from WW1. In 1925, The Poppy Factory moved to Richmond, Surrey and continues to make poppies, remembrance crosses, sprays and wreaths for The Royal British Legion‟s annual Appeal and Remembrance Day (including wreaths for HM The Queen and other members of the Royal family), and is responsible for planting and hosting The Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

To read the MOD version of the news piece, please click on the following link: 

For more information about The Poppy Factory, visit their website: 


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