Model making club for veterans with PTSD relaunches with new venue

A model making club for the region's armed forces veterans is reopening in a new venue.

Monday, 1st November 2021, 12:30 pm

The club was set up to help those suffering with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) or stress and is also open to former emergency services staff.

From next month it will meet at the Toll Bar Cottage Cafe meeting room at Broughton, near Preston.

Previously the informal drop-in modelling sessions were held at the RAF Association Wings Centre on Fishergate, Preston with the help of volunteers from the Lancashire branch of the International Plastic Modellers’ Society(IPMS).

Time for the modelling sessions to take off again. Sam Markland is pictured otuside the new venue - Broughton's Toll Bar Cottage cafe and centre. Photo: Neil Cross

Sam Markland from the society, who helped organise the Wings' sessions, said that as the Wings Centre had now closed they had decided to relaunch in a new venue. He said: "We're going to start again on Wednesday December 1 at 10am to 10.30am through until 2 to 2.30pm. We're going to be doing modelling supported by the charity Modelling for Heroes which was originally affiliated to Help for Heroes."

The sessions had been running regularly for more than two years until the pandemic lockdown.

Sam said: "You can come for the full session. You can just turn up and if you just want to chat you can do You can take the model home if you want to continue it at home. If you want to bring your own models you can. But models and equipment are provided. If you've never done anything before you'll be helped. You'll be given the equipment, be shown and get to know people in an environment that is friendly and understanding. It's somewhere where you can have a chat with someone who recognises your problems."

Sam added: "We're the model makers and mentors and some of us have done mental health first aid courses."

Sam Markland pictured with a model plane and pictures inside the Toll Bar Cottage cafe Photo: Neil Cross

Sam, a former family liaison officer with the motorway police, said he had found model making helped him cope better with the traumas of working in the frontline with accident victims and their families. He said: "The model making has been shown to be very therapeutic with PTSD and the like - any sort of stress related problems. It's a known diversion from the feelings of depression/isolation. When you are model making the part of the brain that worries is subordinate to the part of the brain that does fine motor control. It gives you some relief from the overriding feelings of depression and anxiety."

The club previously attracted attendees from across the region and beyond, including from Barrqw, North Wales and Merseyside. Sam is hoping the public will now help spread the word that the club and recommend it to veterans and said: "It's cosy. It's private. Please tell them about it or encourage them or bring them."

He added that in return for the use of the venue they were also hoping members could support the community cafe. The venue has disabled access and a toilet for the disabled and there is a community car park nearby. The intention is for the club to meet on the first Wednesday of each month.

The Toll Bar Cottage at 478 Garstang Road, (near Broughton cross roads), was bought and converted by Broughton Parish Council with the help of grant funding for use as a community centre and cafe. It was officially opened on October 3 by Preston Mayor Coun Javed Iqbal.

Sam Markland pictured admiring the finer details on a prized model Photo: Neil Cross

For details of the sessions or for more information call Sam on 01772 463911 or email him at [email protected]

For more about the modelling club, its founder and its valuable work see here .

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A drop-in session held in January 2020 at the modellers' former venue, the Wings centre on Fishergate, Preston. Founder and organiser Kevin Hartley is pictured back row second from the left. Sam Markland is pictured front row (far left)