After 100 years, we look back on how RBL has worked together with The Poppy Factory to support wounded, injured and sick veterans back into employment.
After the first Poppy Appeal in 1921, when Anna Guerin funded the manufacture of a million poppies in France, the British Legion wanted to begin manufacturing poppies exclusively in Britain for a smaller outlay.
Moving to Richmond
By 1926 the factory had outgrown its premises and moved to Richmond. The factory’s location, close to the River Thames and Richmond Park, was carefully chosen to help injured soldiers’ recovery and rehabilitation after the war.
Flats were built next to the factory to provide homes for employees and their families, and there was also once a pub and cinema to provide relaxation for workers.
The size of the Poppy Factory workforce grew year on year and by the outbreak of the Second World War it stood at 365.
In the decades that followed, the Poppy Factory continued to work with us to build a supportive environment for veterans with physical and mental health conditions.
Together, we were able to develop a strong understanding of the complex challenges that many of these veterans face.
As a result, alongside poppy and wreathmaking, the Poppy Factory has been able to extend its employment support service and now works with veterans across all of England and Wales.
Now however it is The Poppy Factory’s wider employment support service, which makes up 90 per cent of its work.
Each year The Poppy Factory helps hundreds of veterans with a mental or physical health condition to return to the workplace and to thrive within it, wherever they are based.
For information about The Poppy Factory’s new visitor experience, or to find out more about employment support, visit www.poppyfactory.org.
100 years of supporting the Armed Forces community
In our centenary year, we are firmly focused on our future. By building on a century of work we’ll make sure we are a charity fit for the next 100.
The youngest Poppy Appeal collectors
Toby Castle, 17, has been collecting for the Poppy Appeal since he was just three weeks old. Along with his younger sister Jemima, 15, each year the siblings help their James, who is a Poppy Appeal Organiser in Hartfield, East Sussex, collect for our annual appeal