Morecambe Bay war veterans rebuilding their lives thanks to model-making activity

Ex-Armed Forces heroes are being invited to sessions where they can not only relax while crafting ships, tanks, aircraft and other models, but make new friendships too.

Thursday, 30th December 2021, 3:45 pm

Models for Heroes is a not-for-profit organisation that offers drop-in sessions for veterans and serving members of the armed services and blue-light services. The meetings, held every third Friday in Lancaster, are an opportunity for people of any skill level, whatever their previous experience (or lack of it), to make scale models from kits supported by experienced model makers, and to socialise with other veterans.

Models for Heroes volunteer, Simon Phillipson (63), says the activity works by concentrating the mind on one small, detailed task, which allows people to focus and then relax. He explained: "Model making is an enjoyable and absorbing activity that can be therapeutic, promoting focus, motor skills and building confidence. The sessions can bring people together to socialise with positive mental health benefits.

"We started the meetings in Lancaster in February 2020, but they had to stop due to the outbreak of Covid-19. We relaunched the sessions in August 2021, which are not only proving popular, but helping ex-servicemen and women rebuild their lives and meet new friends.

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Joe is pictured building a model Seafire

"The first time I volunteered I helped a veteran who had served in Iraq and Afghanistan to build a model Land Rover. When he finished he said that it was the first time he had been able to concentrate on anything for more than fifteen minutes for longer than he could remember. For veterans who may be isolated because of separation or bereavement, the sessions can provide a focal point to meet with people and they can be a motivation to get out of the house. They can also be just a chance for a pleasant time in company."

Simon added: "The drop-in sessions are held at the First Light hub, Sharpe's Cafe on Market Street in Lancaster, from 10-30am to 1-30pm. The next meetings are on January 21st and February 18th.

"We welcome attendees from around the Lancaster, Morecambe and the Carnforth areas (and further afield). M4H provides the models, tools and paint, free of charge and volunteers can provide advice on the techniques and equipment used in model-making. The sessions are informal, free and there's no need to join anything or book a place, you can just turn up on the day!"

Anyone with queries regarding the group can contact Simon by e-mailing [email protected]

The sessions are held in Lancaster
The activity works by concentrating the mind on one small, detailed task, which allows people to focus and then relax.