27th March 2018 Laura Hayward

Funding announced to create unique mobile poppy truck in WW1 centenary year

Inspired by Lt-Col John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’, the poppy is the nation’s symbol of remembrance, compassion, and a shared desire for a peaceful future. Today (Monday 26 March, 2018), The National Lottery has awarded Poppyscotland a grant of £731,200 to take the story of the poppy on the road in the first purpose-built ‘Moving Poppy’ truck.

The 18 tonne vehicle with expandable pods will be both an exhibition focusing on the heritage of the poppy and a learning space with a capacity for 35 people. The exhibition will include artefacts from Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory collection, interactive exhibits including a poppy-making machine, and oral histories covering personal stories of military life since 1939.

The Moving Poppy will travel the length and breadth of Scotland visiting schools and diverse communities. Not only will it interpret the heritage of the poppy but will host activities for groups to explore and share a contemporary understanding of remembrance, the nature of conflict and the poppy’s role in modern Scottish society as a symbol of unity and hope. There will also be opportunities to meet and talk to veterans. Activities will include:

• Schools education programme
• Evening activities for youth and community groups
• Reminiscence workshops
• Poppy and wreath making
• Attendance at large public events

Six new permanent posts will be created as part of the project as well as training for 150 heritage volunteers and 80 veteran ambassadors. The Moving Poppy will tour over 200 days of the year and is expected to attract 50,000 visitors annually.

Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said:

“While everyone knows the poppy as a symbol of remembrance, this little flower represents so much more in today’s society. The ‘Moving Poppy’ is a unique and exciting idea which will expand on the work of Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, allowing diverse groups, including rurally-remote and multi-faith communities, to explore all that it stands for. Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the Moving Poppy is a timely legacy in this First World War centenary year.”

Poppyscotland Chief Executive, Mark Bibbey, said: “This is a fantastic result for Poppyscotland, and for the thousands of people across Scotland that we’ll be able to reach as a result of securing this funding. The Moving Poppy is an innovative and ambitious project that will provide visitors with a contemporary understanding of remembrance and explore the poppy’s role in modern Scottish society as a symbol of unity and hope. It will enable us to reach a much broader geographic audience and an even more diverse range of visitors, building on what we already have here at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh.

It is particularly fitting to be launching The Moving Poppy in 2018 as a lasting legacy 100 years after the end of the First World War. It will ensure that the sacrifices made during that conflict, and those since, together with the vital, life-changing services provided by Poppyscotland today are understood and recognised for generations to come.”

In November 2016 Poppyscotland announced it has received a grant of £730,000 for the Moving Poppy from HM Treasury, funded by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds.  A further £20,000 has also be awarded to the Moving Poppy by the Celtic FC Foundation.  The combined total of £1,481,200 means that Poppyscotland has secure the majority of the £1,877,500 projected 4-year budget for the project.  Fundraising efforts will continue to secure the remaining funds over the coming months.