the programme was how lonely the wives had previously felt and how the choir gave them asense of community.Itwas aplace for them to share their experiences with other women they could relate to, but in apositive joyful way.

“I wanted to re-create that feeling of community for military families at Tile Barn, building on its military history,its adventure activities and camping, and offer aspecial place for them in the heart of the New Forest.”

Enda revealed: “This has been alabour of love for me, and we wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for the generous support from the military and local communities and the staff at Tile Barn. This project offers awelcome respite for our serving armed forces men and women, veterans and their families, to take awell-deserved family break in one of the most beautiful spots in the country.”

Poppy Pods

The solar-powered and accessible Poppy Pods offer free holiday and respite facilities for service personnel, veterans and their families. The village was funded by £250,000 from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme and £50,000 from the Brockenhurst branch of the Royal British Legion. Each Poppy Podisnamed after abattle from Amiens to Ypres, and pine seeds from Gallipoli have been planted nearby.

New Zealand High Commissioner,Sir Lockwood Smith, visited the Poppy Pods in June 2016 when he unveiled astained glass window at St Nicholas’ Church, depicting troops treated withamap of New Zealand.

The following month, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall officially opened the Poppy Pods by unveiling apoppy shaped plaque, in front of many organisations which had made them areality.Representatives from the Royal British Legion, Military Wives Choir and the wider Armed Forces community and its supporters attended too.

Since Spring 2016, the Poppy Pods have so far seen 3,300 bookings from Armed Forces personnel and veterans, with this figure set to grow as more families travel to experience the Pods for themselves.

County Council Leader,Councillor Roy Perry,added: “This project not only has links to the past, but offers an important Spring 2017 Envoy 37

and welcome break for the Armed Forces, many of whom have experienced conflict. We have received wonderful and heartfelt messages from military families who have stayed at the Poppy Pods, who appreciate our gesture of giving something back to the Armed Forces community.The Poppy Pods are an important part of the County Council's legacy in recognising and remembering the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces personnel.”

The Tile Barn experience

Tile Barn has been acamping and outdoor centre since the early 1970s and was set up to provide cost effective outdoor residential experiences to school children in Hampshire. The site can cater for up to 350 young people in fully equipped campsites, up to 80 in the Poppy Pod Village and a37bedded bunkhouse facility for schools and Duke of Edinburgh groups.

Visitors can enjoy taking part in activities including archery; canoeing and kayaking; climbing; high ropes; low ropes; orienteering; shelter building; mountain biking and woodland walks.

Book your stay

If you’re tempted to stay in aPoppy Pod, Tile Barn Outdoor Centre’s website has an information pack, avideo all about the Poppy Pods and you can also make an online booking. 

©MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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