£1 million funding for ground-breaking projects

Jude Smart

Poppyscotland has been awarded grants of almost £1 million following an announcement today (Wednesday 23 November) by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP.

Two separate projects will receive funding: a mobile education and community resource called the Moving Poppy (£730,000) and a brand new welfare centre in Ayrshire (£250,000). The funding has been made available from LIBOR banking fines via the Armed Forces Covenant Fund.

The Moving Poppy – a mobile education resource which will either be a poppy bus or truck – will tour schools and hard-to-reach communities across Scotland from 2018. The Moving Poppy aims to extend the reach of the oversubscribed visits programme at Edinburgh’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory and Poppyscotland’s well-regarded Learning programme, Sowing the Poppy Seed.  It is expected that an additional 9,000 school children and a total of 50,000 people across Scotland will be able to interact with the Moving Poppy project each year.

A second successful application resulted in an award of £250,000 for a new Poppyscotland welfare centre. South West Scotland is home to an estimated 175,000 members of the Armed Forces community, approximately a third of the total in Scotland. However a recent Poppyscotland study highlighted disjointed support for those who have served, those still serving and their families living in the area.

The LIBOR funding will enable Poppyscotland to establish a new welfare centre in Kilmarnock, enhancing the existing strands of support to provide a more holistic offering.  Poppyscotland Ayrshire is expected to open its doors in 2017 and will offer a one-stop-shop for the Armed Forces community in Lanarkshire, Dumfries and Galloway as well as those living in Ayrshire.

Poppyscotland Chief Executive Mark Bibbey said:

“This is an historic and exciting day for Poppyscotland.  These two ambitious projects are at the heart of our development plans for the next five years.

“Poppyscotland Ayrshire will provide a vastly improved level of support for the Armed Forces community in South West Scotland.  A key element of this is bringing together existing services and Poppyscotland’s own expertise into one central hub.  Having recently opened a similar welfare centre in Inverness, we know that the model works.  It has made a life-changing difference to hundreds of members of the Armed Forces community in the North of Scotland since opening in 2014 and we look forward to replicating that success at our Kilmarnock hub from 2017.”

Speaking on the award for the Moving Poppy project, Mark Bibbey continued:

“As we move towards the end of several years of important centenaries, it is vital that we ensure Remembrance continues to be recognised. We are currently oversubscribed with school visits to the Lady Haig Poppy Factory, where 5 million poppies are handmade by disabled ex-servicemen and women each year.

“The Moving Poppy will help us reach many more people, including an additional 9,000 school children each year.  It will also bring our Learning programme to remote areas of the country and help us to promote our welfare services, volunteering opportunities and fundraising in these communities.”

The award of £730,000 for the Moving Poppy will go towards purchasing and operating the Moving Poppy vehicle over five years.  The £250,000 will cover the initial set up costs and the first three years of operating the Poppyscotland Ayrshire centre.