At least 20,000 wounded, injured or sick veterans are struggling to get back into work after leaving the Armed Forces, according to The Poppy Factory, the UK’s leading employability charity for ex-service men and women with physical and mental health challenges…

The Poppy Factory has reached the milestone of supporting 1,000 veterans with physical or mental health challenges back into meaningful work, following a summer campaign urging people to write or post a good luck message for a veteran on their first day in their new job.

Members of the public have shown their support by including the phrase #1000messages in social media posts and written messages since Armed Forces Week in June, helping The Poppy Factory’s network of Employability Consultants connect with more veterans with health conditions across the country.

Now the charity hopes to reach more wounded, injured and sick veterans around the UK. The Poppy Factory estimates there are at least 20,000 veterans of working age in the UK who have physical and mental health challenges are struggling to get back into work after leaving the Armed Forces.

The Poppy Factory’s Chief Executive Deirdre Mills said: “We cannot thank the public enough for their support in getting behind our wounded, injured and sick veterans. We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude and we are so proud that everyone came together to help. Our focus is on helping each veteran harness their own unique skills and abilities and by so doing move into long term meaningful employment.”

Ex-Forces men and women who have been supported by The Poppy Factory were invited to a special reception hosted by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at Clarence House on September 5th, in celebration of the 1,000 wounded, injured and sick veterans who have been supported by the charity’s Getting You Back to Work programme since 2010.

Speaking about his support from The Poppy Factory, veteran Chris O’Donnell said: “I developed post-traumatic stress disorder following my time in the Royal Navy. The Poppy Factory helped me look for a career that would help me with my mental health. I can’t thank them enough for the help and support they have given me. They opened my eyes up to what I can do and not what I can’t do.”