Models for Heroes - making a difference for Veterans

August 9, 2021

We visited the Belfast arm of Models for Heroes for their first in-person meet up since early 2019. The group’s organiser, Colin Patterson, chatted us through what they do, and explained how scale modelling can help Veterans.

“You can come down, have a go and have a chat – your demons are kept at bay for a wee while,” Colin said.

Models for Heroes provides the club with model kits and art supplies for Veterans to get started, while Colin can lend some expertise and help guide newcomers. “If they’ve never built a kit before, we could mentor them and give them a guiding hand.”

The sessions also aim to raise awareness of the physical and mental benefits of scale modelling. As Colin explained, “You’re working your manual dexterity as well as exercising the grey matter in your brain. There’s also a sense of achievement at the end, you can look at something and say ‘I did that’.”

We chatted to two other Veterans who were at the session, Nigel and Michael. They shared with us what taking part in Models for Heroes means to them.

“It’s been a godsend,” Nigel said. “The wife and kids encourage me to go. They say: ‘that’s your day.’ When you’re sitting down, you’re thinking of nothing else, it clears your head and it does help."

Michael also benefits from the sessions at Models for Heroes. “You feel safe here, it’s an ideal location, and there’s no pressure – it gets out of the weekly humdrum,” Michael told us. “The people who come here, it’s like a school of knowledge, we share information and help each other out. You can be open and free.”

The group meets at the Royal Naval Association Belfast Branch on the last Saturday of every month, from 11am. If you would like to get involved, drop in to one of the sessions, or contact Colin for more information:

The Ely Centre (Fermanagh Modellers EC Group) are also looking for new participants to join their model making course, starting on Tuesday the 14th of September at 11am. If you would like to learn more or get involved, contact: 028 375 52447 or email to register your interest.

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