Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Poppy Pod Project: Camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families- Tile Barn Outdoor Centre-Brockenhurst



CLICK HERE  to find out what facilities they have and available activities

Hampshire County Council is proud to introduce The ‘Poppy Pod’ camping village for Armed Forces personnel and their families at Tile Barn Outdoor Centre in Brockenhurst, New Forest. The project is to become its lasting legacy to our Armed Service personnel to recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.


Twenty wooden pods have already been built as free holiday and respite facilities for service personnel, veterans and their families, thanks to £250,000 from the Armed Forces Community Covenant Grant scheme.  A further £50,000 donation from the Brockenhurst Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) will be used to build a communal hub building for visitors to meet, eat and share experiences with other families.

The 20 solar-powered, accessible pods and hub building will be available at a charge for schools, when bookings begin from spring 2016. However, priority will be given to members of the armed services and their families on weekends and during school holiday periods who can enjoy the facilities for free.  

Tile Barn has been a camping and outdoor centre since the early 1970s and has recently benefitted from a new, fully accessible shower and toilet block, which will support use of the ‘Poppy Pod’ village. The centre was set up to provide cost effective outdoor residential experiences to school children in Hampshire. It can cater for up to 350 young people in fully equipped campsites and a 37 bed bunkhouse facility.

Tile Barn was originally used to treat First World War troops from the Indian Army Corps at tented and galvanised units, nicknamed 'Tin Town' by local people. The site then became the New Zealand General Hospital No.1 where 21,000 casualties were treated.
                                          

The pods have been fitted with a seating area which easily converts into a bed for families to have a versatile space.
The official opening is being planned for May 2016.

Councillor Andrew Joy, the County Council’s Armed Forces champion and Executive Member for Communities, Partnerships and External Affairs, added: “This is wonderful news and I’m sure many Armed Forces personnel, veterans and families will benefit from the much-deserved respite available at the ‘Poppy Pod’ village. There are over 30,000 military personnel based in Hampshire, the largest contingent in the country, and we place enormous value on our long and close relationship with the Forces. These new facilities at Tile Barn will help recognise and remember the sacrifices made and faced by the Armed Forces Community.”

Retired RN Captain Mike Matthews, Chairman of the Brockenhurst Branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “This project not only has links to the past, but will also offer a welcome respite for our serving armed forces men and women, veterans and their families, of all abilities, so they can take a well-deserved break as a family, in one of the most beautiful spots in the country. No.1 New Zealand General Hospital was located on Tile Barn Hill during the First World War and had an impressive rehabilitation record. Over 21,000 wounded evacuees from the Western Front were cared for with only 94 succumbing to their injuries. They are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the adjacent St Nicholas Churchyard. 

“Hampshire County Council’s drive to provide free rehabilitative breaks for service personnel and their families, including those with disabilities, resonates historically and emotionally with the members of my Brockenhurst Branch of the RBL, and we felt it would also have found favour with the two generous ladies who left the Branch handsome legacies in their wills.”