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Veterans create matchstick poppies to mark Remembrance Day

Veterans create matchstick poppies to mark Remembrance Day

NEWS

09 Nov, 2021

A group of veterans have come together to create more than 100 poppies made from matchsticks, which will be laid at the gravestones of war heroes as a way of paying their respects to the fallen …

The veterans are all based at HMP Holme House in Stockton, which operates a Veterans Activity Hub, run by justice services provider Ingeus in partnership with Project Nova (a unique programme led by RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity and Walking With The Wounded), where ex-military prisoners undertake innovative activities to build inclusion and aid their rehabilitation. The Activity Hubs provide a safe space for offenders to receive support for reintegration into society and to develop a wealth of professional skills that will help them secure ongoing employment.

As well as creating the matchstick poppies, the ex-Servicemen have also worked together to transform an area of lawn at Holme House to create a remembrance area, consisting of a poppy made of red gravel, plus a vegetable garden that will be used to supply local food banks.

The matchstick poppies will be passed to members of community-based CFO Activity Hubs and will be laid, largely by veterans, on Commonwealth War Graves across Durham, Darlington and Middlesbrough.

Says Chris O’Connor, head of delivery at Ingeus’s justice division: ‘The CFO Veterans Hub is a community within a community at HMP Holme House. We’re committed to supporting the veterans and participants on probation working with our Community CFO Activity Hubs to strengthen the positive steps being taken towards their rehabilitation.’

Colin Back, Project Nova’s national manager, adds: ‘Remembrance continues to unite people of all backgrounds and generations, coming together to commemorate the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community. For most veterans, the transition to civilian life is usually successful. Sadly, for some, it can be less smooth and can lead some veterans into offending. Project Nova coordinators really understand the experiences of ex-Service men and women, both during and after their military careers. It is this empathy that gives veterans the strength they need to make changes to their lives and access support through health and specialist services. The activity the veterans have undertaken to pay their respects in a meaningful way is a great example of this. We are delighted that, through the poppy making at Holme House, and the research into and visiting of war graves by those using our Community CFO Activity Hubs, people are able to feel connected with the fallen. It also offers the opportunity to give something back in a practical way, to ensure these veterans will never be forgotten.’

Click here for further information on the work of Ingeus’s CFO Activity Hubs.

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