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MP Rayner meets inspirational veterans at the Poppy Factory

Ashton and Failsworth MP Angela Rayner met inspirational veterans when she visited a factory that helps former servicemen and women adapt to civilian life in Richmond.

The Poppy Factory supports veterans with health conditions on their journey into employment, helping them overcome any barriers they may face after stepping down from active service.

Four out of five of the veterans who access the services on offer at the Poppy Factory are suffering from a mental health condition. Last year, 270 veterans were able to start new jobs that reflect their aspirations, skills and circumstances thanks to the dedicated, one on one support they were given.

Ms Rayner joined Shadow Defence Secretary, John Healey, to meet the factory’s leadership team who told her about their mission to help boost the confidence, financial security, health and wellbeing of former Armed Forces members.

When the MP stood in for Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, at Prime Minister’s Questions last month, she called on the government to increase funding for veteran’s mental health support services in light of a huge increase in calls to helplines.

She said: “The team at the factory told me that many veterans struggle to adapt to the civilian world after leaving the Armed Forces and experience complex barriers to work. Many have mental and physical health conditions and need support to help them find secure work so they can be financially secure.

“The Poppy Factory work closely with other charities and services supporting the ex-Forces community and have veterans referred to them from organisations such as The Royal British Legion, Jobcentre Plus and NHS services." 

MP Rayner went on: “It was an incredible honour to tour the factory and meet veterans who were working on wreaths ahead of Remembrance Sunday. I talked to them about my brother’s time in the Armed Forces and they presented me with a special wreath to lay in my constituency on Sunday. They told me how proud they are to make wreaths that are laid by politicians and Royals at Remembrance services across the country.

“On Remembrance Sunday, our country comes together to remember the servicemen and women who have served our country. We remember all those who lost their lives serving our country during both World Wars and in conflicts since.

“We honour the service personnel – from all over the Commonwealth – who laid down their lives to protect the freedoms that we all enjoy today and we pay tribute to all those veterans who have served our country and the brave men and women who serve our country today with distinction.

“I am proud to come from a military family and Labour is proud of our Armed Forces. They are the bravest and the very best of our country. They put their own lives at risk to keep us safe.

“Throughout this Covid pandemic our service men and women have stood side by side with our key workers. Remembrance Sunday serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by so many of our armed forces.”

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