VPPP Partner Spotlight: The Poppy Factory

An introduction to The Poppy Factory, one of VOS’s partners within the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme

Veterans Outreach Support is proud to be the grant holder for the South-East region Portfolio of the Veterans’ Places, Pathways and People programme, working with our partners to provide activities, services and support to local veterans. To showcase the excellent support and mental health resources for veterans that these organisations offer, we’re giving you a deeper insight into what they do and shining a spotlight on the hardworking people who run them. Today we’re going to introduce you to The Poppy Factory.

A person with tattoos on their arm, who is sitting at a desk which has Remembrance wreaths made of plastic poppy flowers on it. | VOS

What is The Poppy Factory?

The Poppy Factory is a charity that offers employment support to any individual who has served for at least one day in the Armed Forces or Reserves, and who considers themselves to have any kind of physical or mental health condition. The charity supports veterans on their journey into employment, helping them overcome any barriers along the way and empowering them to plan their own future by getting into employment that reflects their individual aspirations, skills and circumstances. This support and the meaningful employment it leads to can be life-changing for veterans.

A brief look at the history of The Poppy Factory

The Poppy Factory was founded in 1922 by Major George Howson MC, a British Army officer who was awarded the Military Cross in 1917. His vision was to provide employment for veterans who had been injured during the First World War. Having received £2,000 from the British Legion, George Howson opened a factory where poppies would be made by disabled war veterans. The first factory was in two rooms at Mitchell’s Collar Factory near Old Kent Road, south London, and then in 1925 it moved to the old Lansdown Brewery site on Petersham Road, Richmond.

By 1931, the factory was making nearly 30 million poppies a year and 58 new flats had been built to house a community of 320 people living on the Richmond estate. A new factory building was started in 1932 and completed in 1933. Today, the production team is still based in this same building, making Remembrance wreaths for The Royal British Legion and the Royal Family all year round. 

 

2022 marks the centenary of The Poppy Factory and 100 years after it was founded, the charity is continuing to support veterans with a wide range of health conditions on their journey into employment. Throughout the year they have been bringing together their community to celebrate the contributions of all those who have played a role in the history of the charity.

 

Over the course of her lifetime, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visited The Poppy Factory four times. The first time was as Princess in 1946, and the further three times were as Queen in 1962, 1992 and 2012. On her visit in November 2012 for the Factory’s 90th anniversary, Her Majesty spent time with the production team and heard about the techniques still used to create Royal Remembrance wreaths.

The Poppy Factory centenary logo. It is a white background with the words 100 Poppy Factory in red. The zeros of the 100 are shaped like poppy flowers. | VOS
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II visiting The Poppy Factory. She is wearing a lilac coat and had, and is speaking with an employee who is showing her a Remembrance wreath. | VOS

What does The Poppy Factory do?

The Poppy Factory has employment consultants who are based regionally throughout England and Wales, and who offer regular one-to-one contact with veterans. The employment support these consultants offer includes advice on finding job opportunities based on each veteran’s skills and goals; writing CVs and job application forms; preparing for interviews; support with training and qualifications; working with veterans and their employers to overcome health and social barriers; continued contact with veterans after moving into employment; and joint working with partner organisations to ensure veterans have consistent support.

While physical health conditions are often seen as a somewhat more “obvious” barrier in terms of employment, The Poppy Factory recognises that mental health conditions can be just as much of a barrier. They have found that four out of five of the veterans they work with report having a mental health condition, so their employment team is ready to offer one-to-one support no matter the situation. 

The Poppy Factory also works in partnership with the NHS, providing employment support to ex-Forces patients who are being treated for mental and physical health conditions. Through pilot projects backed by NHS England, health professionals can refer veterans to The Poppy Factory’s employment consultants for ongoing support.

Two people sitting next to each other at a table, with a laptop open on the table. The people are looking at each other and smiling. | VOS

Here’s what some Portsmouth-based veterans have to say about the employment support they’ve received from The Poppy Factory:

“Katy, my adviser, sat me down and asked me what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted something local and not too stressful. She was a rock. It’s about someone taking your side and pointing you in the right direction. With Katy’s support I was able to get a job as a veterans wellbeing adviser, The job is a 10 minute walk from my home, I’m doing something that’s close to my heart and I’m not in debt any more.”

Steve, Royal Navy veteran, Portsmouth

 

“Being unemployed affected my confidence. I’d see jobs and think I wasn’t good enough to apply. The minute I met my Employment Consultant, Lisa, that all changed. Lisa gave me wings. She encouraged me to apply for jobs that I was interested in. She helped me prepare, we’d talk through everything, and I knew she was only a phone call away if I needed support.”

Darren, Royal Navy veteran, Portsmouth

Plus, watch this video looking at Darren’s story, and how support from The Poppy Factory and the NHS has led him to a new job teaching at The Royal Naval Leadership Academy near Portsmouth:

(Written by Saskia Egeland-Jensen)

 

Veterans Outreach Support is proud to work in partnership with The Poppy Factory to provide employment support to veterans, serving members of the British Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy and their families.

VOS is here to support veterans from the UK Armed Forces service, the Merchant Navy, and their partners. If you know a veteran (from any time of service), please pass our details along. If you’re a veteran or partner and are thinking about getting in touch, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 02392 731 767, visit one of our drop-ins, or email admin@vosuk.org.

NEXT – Read about another of our VPPP partners, Walking With The Wounded

Get in touch your way

VETERANS FOUNDATION LOTTERY LOGO

The Veterans' Foundation Lottery

The Veterans’ Foundation work with hundreds of charitable organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to provide a better life for our armed forces family who are in need.

They help partner organisations  deliver life-changing projects through a grant award scheme.

Through supporter donations, fundraising events and their popular Veterans’ Lottery, the Veterans’ Foundation are able to positively change lives.

CHARITIES TRUST LOGO

Charities Trust

Charities Trust is a leading donations management organisation committed to growing charitable giving since 1987.

They offer a wide range of services to help their clients raise millions of pounds for good causes, easily, safely and tax effectively.

PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY LOTTERY LOGO

Portsmouth Community Lottery

Portsmouth Community Lottery is a weekly lottery that directly supports causes benefitting the Portsmouth community. Lotteries are a fun, effective way for causes to raise much-needed funds and community awareness.

60% of your ticket price goes to good causes (over DOUBLE the National Lottery contribution), AND the money raised goes to good local community causes.

Proceeds fuel a general good cause fund run by HIVE Portsmouth to provide vital support to wide ranging community organisations.

PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY LOTTERY LOGO

Portsmouth Community Lottery

Portsmouth Community Lottery is a weekly lottery that directly supports good causes which benefit the Portsmouth community.

Lotteries are a fun, effective way for causes to raise much-needed funds in these difficult times. By getting more people on board, they don’t just raise funds, they also raise awareness.

When you play the Portsmouth Community Lottery you know that 60% of your ticket price goes to good causes (more than DOUBLE what the National Lottery gives) AND the money raised is going to good causes that benefit your local community.

Proceeds generated from this page go into a general good cause fund, administered by HIVE Portsmouth, which will be spent on providing vital support to a wide range of local community organisations.

Portsmouth Community Lottery is a weekly lottery that directly supports good causes which benefit the Portsmouth community.

Lotteries are a fun, effective way for causes to raise much-needed funds in difficult times. By getting more people on board, they don’t just raise funds, they also raise awareness.

60% of your ticket price goes to good causes (more than DOUBLE what the National Lottery gives) AND the money raised go to good causes that benefit your local community.

Proceeds generated from this page go into a general good cause fund, administered by HIVE Portsmouth, which will be spent on providing vital support to a wide range of local community organisations.

PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY LOTTERY LOGO

Portsmouth Community Lottery

Portsmouth Community Lottery is a weekly lottery that directly supports good causes which benefit the Portsmouth community.

Lotteries are a fun, effective way for causes to raise much-needed funds in difficult times. By getting more people on board, they don’t just raise funds, they also raise awareness.

60% of your ticket price goes to good causes (more than DOUBLE what the National Lottery gives) that benefit your local community.

Proceeds generated from this page go into a general good cause fund, administered by HIVE Portsmouth, which will be spent on providing vital support to a wide range of local community organisations.

PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY LOTTERY LOGO

Portsmouth Community Lottery

Portsmouth Community Lottery is a fun and effective way for your good cause to raise funds.

It was founded by Portsmouth City Council in 2016. In May 2021, the management of the lottery was transferred to HIVE Portsmouth.

HIVE work with and for the voluntary and community sector. The Portsmouth Community Lottery enables people to support the causes they care most about, helping good causes to connect with their supporters.

60% of your ticket price goes to good causes (over DOUBLE what the National Lottery’s contribution) – the money raised goes to good causes benefitting your local community.

The Veterans' Foundation Lottery

The Veterans’ Foundation is one of the country’s fastest-growing military charities. They proudly work with hundreds of smaller charities and charitable organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that share their passion: to provide a better life for our armed forces family who are in need (their beneficiaries).
They help their partner organisations by supporting them to deliver life-changing projects through our grant award scheme.
Through supporter donations, fundraising events and their popular Veterans’ Lottery, the Veterans’ Foundation are able to face and overcome challenges, changing lives changing for the better.
Joining the Veterans’ Lottery changes the lives of British heroes in need. Our armed forces stand together to thank you. Click below to start helping British veterans today

The Veterans' Foundation Lottery

The Veterans’ Foundation is one of the country’s fastest-growing military charities. They proudly work with hundreds of smaller charities and charitable organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that share their passion: to provide a better life for our armed forces family who are in need (their beneficiaries).
They help their partner organisations by supporting them to deliver life-changing projects through our grant award scheme.
Through supporter donations, fundraising events and their popular Veterans’ Lottery, the Veterans’ Foundation are able to face and overcome challenges, changing lives changing for the better.
Joining the Veterans’ Lottery changes the lives of British heroes in need. Our armed forces stand together to thank you. Click below to start helping British veterans today