With a keen interest in model-making for over 10 years, Corporal Mark Thomson from RAF Boulmer decided to become a registered volunteer for Models for Heroes (M4H) .
He sought approval to run modelling sessions from the Hive Community Centre in Longhoughton.
Hundreds of pounds worth of equipment was kindly donated from local businesses and M4H to ensure that the newly established Northumberland branch had a professional set up.
Everyone who attends has access to models, tools and paints required to build. All models and tools are donated but if someone has a particular interest in a particular model M4H will try its hardest to accommodate.
With the onset of Covid-19, sessions moved online where M4H started to provide two sessions every day throughout lockdown, continuing to provide tutorials, support and advice.
M4H are a national organisation focused on improving mental health for veterans and serving personnel.
Building models provides an escape from life’s issues, provides social interaction and support from like-minded individuals.
After successful completion of their initial training, M4H volunteers can also refer group members for further professional support if required.
Mark said: “Serving personnel and veterans often bear the mental or physical scars of combat and many have lost friends.
"Model-making helps them take time out from daily worries and anxieties. It puts them in touch with like-minded people who enjoy the hobby and offers them a sense of belonging.
"Military banter also helps the recovery process, along with a sense of achievement with a lasting reminder they can keep.”
He recently participated in the Keep Calm Keep Step M4H fundraiser, which helped raise £2,381.
Due to all the hard work and dedication from all the M4H groups, it was one of the winners for this year’s Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver award - recognising the ongoing commitment to the Armed Forces community.
Everyone is welcome at a M4H session.