The defence minister for people and veterans Tobias Ellwood showed his support for the leading employment charity for disabled veterans in Richmond today (September 7).

Supporting veterans with health conditions or impairments since 1922, The Poppy Factory works with businesses across the country to provide opportunities and ongoing employment support for hundreds of disabled veterans, of all ages and from all Services.

The factory employs about 30 disabled veterans to produce the poppies and wreaths for the Royal Family and The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.

Your Local Guardian: The charity has been making the poppies since 1922

Mr Ellwood, who served himself and reached the rank of captain in the Royal Green Jackets, said it was a “real pleasure” to visit the Factory.

He said: “It recognises the lack of opportunities for ex-personnel who have huge transferable skills.

“It allows them to find bespoke work and the charity has a huge success record- 70 per cent of veterans keep their jobs beyond 12 months.”

The minister said it was “very pleasing” to hear of the charity’s success.

He added: “We have 2.5 million armed forces veterans, many of whom successfully integrate into society but some do not.

“It can be very disheartening reintegrating- simply a struggle.

“Many veterans can feel exposed and alone.

“And it is particularly traumatic after an injury.”

The Government has programmes in place to help disabled veterans such as the Armed Forces Covenant, which provides support to members of the armed forces community in areas of education, housing, careers, access to healthcare, financial assistance and discounted services.

Along with this the recently launched Veterans Gateway Programme provides a single portal connecting veterans to a huge network of organisations.

It is the first point of contact for veterans seeking support.

But Mr Ellwood said there is a reliance on charities such as The Poppy Factory to provide extra support.

He said: “We all owe our veterans a huge debt of gratitude.

“We put them in harm’s way, in dangerous situations and in times of crisis they step forward and provide the support we need.

“We need to recognise the sacrifice they have made and look after them.”

The Poppy Factory CEO, Deirdre Mills, said: “We were delighted to welcome the minister to The Poppy Factory to showcase the vital work we are doing to support veterans with health conditions back into employment.

“The Poppy Factory will continue to ensure that veterans’ skills and experiences are recognised by employers, whilst also supporting businesses with the experience of employing people with a disability.

“The minister also met our dedicated productions staff who are busy producing the poppies and wreaths for the Royal Family and The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal.”

To support The Poppy Factory go here.