The Club Room

Be a part of the Model Rail com­mu­nity – get in­volved to­day. E-mail: the­clu­b­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents -

The sec­tion that’s just for you, the Model Rail reader. In­cludes Ex­hi­bi­tion Diary.

If ev­ery reader of Model Rail were to write about why they built their rail­way, the an­swers would prob­a­bly be end­less. But one word would prob­a­bly ap­pear more of­ten than you might ex­pect: ‘es­capism’. We all need to have some es­cape from our busy lives, even if just for a few mo­ments, but just for a minute con­sider those less for­tu­nate. There are many for­mer ser­vice­men and women who con­tinue to suf­fer from the phys­i­cal and men­tal trauma of war. For some, the men­tal scars are al­most im­pos­si­ble to es­cape. Many be­come house­bound through fear of what could be be­yond the front door. Merely go­ing out­side is of­ten fraught with anx­i­ety and fear, and needs to be care­fully planned. Nearly all those who suf­fer agree that be­ing in a safe and ster­ile en­vi­ron­ment along­side other suf­fer­ers is usu­ally the only time they can come close to re­lax­ing. Mod­els for He­roes pro­vides that en­vi­ron­ment and al­lows those who have of­ten given ev­ery­thing they have the abil­ity to re­lax and, for those brief mo­ments, un­bur­den their minds. Barely six months old, the char­ity re­lies on the hugely gen­er­ous pub­lic to do­nate mod­els, equip­ment, paints and ev­ery­thing they need to help and dis­cour­age iso­la­tion. Sev­eral of those who suf­fered in­juries are no longer able to work and money is of­ten not so read­ily avail­able; mod­el­ling of any sort can be an ex­pense they can ill af­ford. They are en­cour­aged to work on what­ever they can from the do­na­tions, as well as the equip­ment bought from mone­tary do­na­tions. Mod­els for He­roes tries to main­tain as wide a range as pos­si­ble, from mil­i­tary mod­els to rail­way lo­co­mo­tives and track – al­though there’s not a lot of the lat­ter, owing to the fi­nan­cial costs. The char­ity has to cater for ev­ery­one, and that some­times means that some ar­eas are sorely lack­ing. You may be won­der­ing how it all works and how you can help. It’s a small char­ity, but Mod­els for He­roes tries to cover as much of the coun­try as pos­si­ble and has re­cently opened a small branch in Northern Ire­land. It pro­vides mod­els and equip­ment plus as­sis­tance at var­i­ous re­cov­ery cen­tres used by Help for He­roes and Com­bat Stress. It has also broad­ened its scope by ven­tur­ing into other ar­eas where and when it can, such as mod­el­ling at se­lected Mind char­ity cen­tres. The mod­el­ling ses­sions can be as short as an hour or last all af­ter­noon, and the com­pleted mod­els can be added to a larger dio­rama/rail­way, or sim­ply taken home. The char­ity does not pro­vide any ma­te­rial to be taken away to work on, as that then negates the ‘ster­ile’ en­vi­ron­ment and en­cour­age­ment to leave the home once more. The char­ity is al­ways happy to ac­cept any­thing to do with mod­el­ling, in­clud­ing vouch­ers for Air­fix Fly­ing Hours. All do­na­tions will be used and noth­ing is ever dis­carded or sold on. So what are the in­jured veter­ans get­ting from this and how does it help, aside from get­ting them out of the house and into a more re­lax­ing en­vi­ron­ment? Well, let’s rewind for a sec­ond and think about that word, ‘es­capism’. Those few hours of build­ing, paint­ing and, in some cases, driv­ing things they have cre­ated help fo­cus the brain. That fo­cus can some­times be ex­tremely tir­ing but also very re­ward­ing, as it usu­ally isn’t un­til the ses­sion is over that the veteran re­alises just how those last few hours were un­com­pli­cated men­tally, and just how re­ward­ing the process has been. That then drives the de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­turn, and so the long-term plan would be to open long-stand­ing clubs; a monthly club has al­ready been set up at the home of Help for He­roes in Wilt­shire. Some of the veter­ans con­tinue with the hobby at home, while some of­fer to re­turn and help oth­ers learn to build, but this can only con­tinue if it’s sup­ported by model and rail­way en­thu­si­asts and the com­mer­cial sec­tor. This project was con­ceived by Mal­colm Childs, who works tire­lessly in his own time to man­age, dis­trib­ute, men­tor and in­struct, all the while work­ing on his own mod­el­ling, and some­how fit­ting in the time to be a fa­ther and a hus­band. Please con­sider help­ing Mod­els for He­roes in what­ever way you can. For more in­for­ma­tion please visit www.mod­els­forheroes.co.uk, where you’ll be able to dis­cover more about how you can help or get in­volved.

Mod­el­ling ther­apy in ac­tion.

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