We were delighted to welcome Deputy Lords Leader and Minister of State for Defence, Earl Howe, to The Poppy Factory this morning to talk about what the future holds for our veterans.
The Minister met Poppy Factory staff, learned how to make wreaths and poppies, and about how The Poppy Factory helps hundreds of disabled veterans around the country back into work.
Howe and the MoD are keen to push the importance of the Armed Forces Covenant to employers and the Minister was impressed by The Poppy Factory’s work as one of the organisations leading the charge; It is the only charity to have achieved the MoD’s Employer Recognition Silver Award for it’s work advocating the employment of wounded, injured and sick veterans.
Defence Minister, Earl Howe, said: “From helping veterans across the country overcome adversity and get back into work, to empowering those who have inspired me here in Richmond today to contribute to such an honourable cause, the magnificent work of the Poppy Factory is a credit to the Armed Forces Covenant and I’m thrilled to see Deirdre Mills is driving for even more success.”
Earl Howe is introduced to Stephen from the Production Team by General Manager, Bill Kay
Earl Howe also spoke with several veterans on his visit, including Gregg Howell, who served in the British Army before being medically discharged in 1988. Gregg said, “I was in a dark place, living on the streets and battling PTSD. Now I have a job, a purpose, and I am training to help others who might find themselves in the same situation.”
“I am forever grateful to The Poppy Factory for helping me get back on my feet again.”
A Growing Need
Deirdre Mills, The Poppy Factory’s new Chief Executive, summarised the situation;
“There is a growing need to support our wounded, injured and sick veterans and registrations for our service are increasing substantially. Our support is really making a difference, whether it be providing career advice or meeting the more complex needs of some of the hardest-to-help individuals in society. There is also a growing number of disabled veterans who are being referred to us by other organisations; this is both testament to the quality of our work and indicative of the growing number of military charities that are now working together to produce the best results.
“We are working hard to accommodate and champion the needs of disabled people and a Gold Award will really help us demonstrate this to our donors and the public – we need to secure over £2m in sustainable funding each year to provide our life-changing service.”
Gregg talks through the wreath-making process with the Minister
Deirdre Mills, The Poppy Factory’s new CEO, shows Earl Howe a large Cavalry Wreath