Wait. That was a year?
For Models for Heroes the year has sailed by. We have been extremely busy with new sessions starting, keeping existing sessions topped up, welcoming amazing new volunteers and meeting some of the most generous people. We are running a successful referral service for models “on prescription”. We have met some very poorly folks with life altering injuries and devastating mental scars who, in spite of their wounds have created the most stunning scale models and dioramas.
Diorama made at Trafford Veterans
We’re now providing approximately 300 veterans a month with modelling supplies, advice and guidance. We are introducing people to the hobby for the first time, and welcoming back those returning to a childhood hobby.
We have received some heart-warming feedback - two model clubs have had to find new larger premises because of the influx of modellers returning to the hobby following a modelling session at veterans charity, and beneficiaries at Help for Heroes, Chavasse House voted our model building sessions as their most popular activity!
Model building at Chavasse House
80+ superstar volunteers have now signed up to run modelling sessions all across the UK, including UK territories. Without the sterling work of our volunteers we would not be able to operate. As well as giving modelling advice, many go above and beyond the call of duty - taking kit donations and ferrying them back to HQ, or manning three modelling sessions in a day! We are now members of the NCVO who offer free best practice advice and training to small volunteer organisations online.
M4H proudly provide our volunteers with Mental Health First Aid training from MHFAEngland. Every six months, 16 of our volunteers are guests at RAF Benson for 2 days. The emotionally testing course is calmly and professionally delivered by the amazing Sgt. Sasha White.
The last course left our volunteers with the skills which will benefit their work as volunteers, and potentially have a wider impact upon friends, family and colleagues. The course equips volunteers with the confidence to approach and listen to someone considering taking their own life, and to recognise and react appropriately to signs of depression, panic attacks and anxiety. Most importantly it gives our volunteers awareness of possible mental health difficulties that our beneficiaries may present and how to signpost to appropriate help.
Volunteers attending Mental Health First Aid training
Help for Heroes hosted a thank you day for our benefactors, committee and volunteers. We were serenaded by Mark Elliott, one of the founders of Help for Heroes, and given a thoroughly humbling tour of the grounds, facilities and projects funded. Then back to the house for an afternoon tea and a Q&A session.
Volunteers attending a thank-you day at Help For Heroes, Tedworth House
Modelling all around the UK
There are 36 modelling sessions in locations across the UK. Forward Assist’s group continue to grow and produce some fantastic projects including recreating their mobile coffee Land Rover. Trafford Veterans wide-ranging craft evenings are growing all the time and their dioramas are turning heads. Chavasse House took part in Creative Force and had our modellers’ work on display.
Model building session at Help For Heroes, Chavasse House
It was the 1st birthday of the modelling session in Belfast’s Royal Naval Association in October. There was a great turnout, even a M4H cake. We want to thank everyone over in Northern Ireland for working hard for the beneficiaries at the sessions to make them what they are now. Malcolm visited Belfast for the Northern Ireland Modelling Associations model show and meet some of the volunteers there. Everyone was super nice so they were.
Celebrating the 1st year of modelling sessions in Belfast
It should go without saying, but we were proud as punch to be invited to the Royal Hospital in Chelsea and to set up monthly sessions with the Chelsea Pensioners. On the first session the eager veterans got to making planes, tanks and ships and were happy to show our two experienced modeller volunteers how to do things. Our volunteers enjoyed a four course lunch in the main hall and a tour of the grounds. The Chelsea Pensioners vowed to return to each session to finish their new projects.
Models For Heroes first visit to the Royal Hospital Chelsea
In Easter 2018 we trialled therapeutic modelling in the acute mental health ward of Parkland’s Hospital, which has 6 MoD beds. This has now expanded to sessions at three NHS trusts across the UK. We are delighted to be able to support these beneficiaries with an activity they look forward to and enjoy in what is an uncertain time and environment on their path to recovery. This is a credit to the collaborative and open approach of NHS staff and volunteers to our cause.
This year we are delighted to welcome three new trustees, who will bring their varied work expertise and life experiences to the table.
Keith Hawkins is a Steam Boiler Inspector, and became involved after hearing a presentation on Models For Heroes at Romsey Modellers club. Since then Keith has been a champion of Models For Heroes, which has included arranging ‘Donate and Create’ sessions at the Hollycombe Steam Fair, assisting new sessions at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and acting as Chief Rivet Counter.
Nick Mowbray is a Clinical Education Manager, and joined Models For Heroes as a volunteer at NHS Southern Health MOD Acute Mental Health Ward, Basingstoke. Nick is involved in a range of Models For Heroes activities which includes organising an Remote Control event for 2019 and building M4H the fastest spinning Tombola!
Colin Patterson is part of the joint force med group and was deployed to Camp Bastion, Afghanistan in 2008-10. He has been involved with Models For Heroes since our earliest days, wanting to give something back. He has run several successful fundraising events, leads a monthly modelling club, and has promoted the work of Models For Heroes through radio and TV interviews.
M4H were invited to many shows this year. Stoke on Trent, Thames Con, Bugle Call and Farnborough to name a few. Each gave us space, time and support to talk to the public, fundraise and accept donations of kits. The big one this year of course was Scale Modelworld in Telford.
The Models For Heroes stand at Scale Modelworld
We were given a fantastic table spot again in the entrance foyer by IPMS (UK), many traders and clubs allowed us to have fundraising tins on their
tables and with the help of “THE RIVET COUNTER CHALLENGE” we raised £1,033.32. Prizes were sponsored by Rubicon UK, Eduard and CBL Hobbies. The winner had guessed just 5 rivets off!
Our treasurer verifying the rivet count!
At the Wargamers of Reading Association’s show. M4H were the charity for the two days running a raffle with kind donations from companies in the months prior and from traders on the day. We raised £977.32 over the weekend with the help of the WAR committee, our volunteers and special guest Andy Macdonald-Rice from Combined Forces.
International Scale Modeller have been one of our biggest supporters, organising charity auctions on Youtube as part of their Friday Live show, their Telford airbrush raffle and Paul’s Subaru auction. Thanks to all the team and to Ultimate Modelling Products for their outstanding support and for constantly showering us with supplies!
The stunning Subaru auctioned by Paul Bretland
Veteran and trustee Malcolm Linton-Auteis is doing the London to South Coast Off Road Race. He is doing it for three reasons, to lose the ‘Dad bod’, raise money for the British Heart Foundation and to raise money for M4H. Malc has been training for 6 months and despite early injuries has received an encouraging reception with corporate sponsorship and many donations. Cross Malc’s fundraising page with silver, and follow his training progress @merlin9807.
The full first year accounts of Models For Heroes and accompanying trustees’ report will shortly be filed with companies house for those who would like to peruse a full breakdown of our incomings and outgoings.
We were very proud to have the Defence Relationship Management of the MoD assist M4H in writing and organising the signing of the covenant. It includes pledges of support of our military through our charitable aims and employment flexibility, goods and services sought and support for Armed Forces Day. The covenant was hosted by the Army Aviation Centre in Middle Wallop, signed by the committee and co-signed by Lt Col. Andy Birkett.
Trustees sign the Military Covenant
We are now listed on the Veteran’s Gateway, a government funded website for housing, employment, support and signposting to local services for the armed forces and their dependants. This together with our referral service has proven to be a great resource for veterans who have been in contact with us.
One of our modelling sessions was filmed by BBC South Today reporter Ben Moore at Tedworth House. Ben wanted to capture the stories behind the models and how model making could help. Thanks to Karl and Pete’s honesty and patience during filming - the short film came out beautifully. It’s a real tribute to a simple hobby that can truly improve lives. Obviously, since the report was released it has opened up a lot of doors, contacts and offers of kit donations. The Post Office even delivered a pallet of parcels! If you haven’t seen the report, it's on the press section of our website.
We hit 2,000 likes this year on Facebook and at last count had 666 followers on Twitter! We have an instagram account now thanks to Tom Wilkins. Tom approached us after hearing an interview on the Adeptus Terra podcast. Tom also raised a fantastic £400 this year from a Warhammer 40k tournament in Cyprus.
Here at M4H HQ we are continually amazed by the support we receive from all of you. We truly are making a difference to many people’s lives. The veterans that we help, either by easing their mind for a few hours, or by giving them a positive activity to look forward to is all thanks to your donations, support, encouragement and belief in what we are doing.
It is a privilege to have your support, especially as we prepare for a busy 2019! Merry Christmas, and a merrier new year to all.