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Latest News update

2020

RBL COUNTY LORD LIEUTENANT YOUTH AWARDS 2020

 

The new date and details for 2020.  With an ever greater importance towards involving the Youth within Membership the County have made the decision to hold a Youth Awards event, to honour the Youth organisations that assist Branches during Poppy Appeal and throughout the year with other events. 

 

The Lord Lieutenant is in full support of this initiative and will personally present the awards at the ceremony.

 

A date and location is as follows:

 

Venue:          The Cadet Centre Waterbeach

 

Date:             21 March 2020

 

Time:             10:30am – 12:30pm

 

 

Strategic Review Q&A

Last updated: 24 January 2020

The Q&As will continue to be updated, with the most recent questions at the end of each section.

If you have a general question about the strategic review that has not yet been answered, you can email strategy@britishlegion.org.uk.

1. Our new strategy

 

Why is this happening now?

The environment in which the Legion operates is changing. The Armed Forces Community is shrinking as the WWII and National Service generations pass. The social, economic and regulatory environment in which the Legion operates has also changed significantly in recent times. All organisations, large and small, must constantly review what they do and how they do it to remain effective and strong. A review of our strategic direction will ensure the Legion Is providing the support needed to those in most need, when they need it, in a relevant and sustainable way.

What has happened so far?

In 2019 we started our strategic review, reviewing what we do – our charitable remit of campaigning, Remembrance and welfare, and reviewing how we work (our operating model).

On 19 November, 2019:

  • Members of the Executive Board communicated with Break Centre and Handy Vans staff via face-to-face briefings
  • Senior leaders from across the organisation briefed all other Legion staff face-to-face at various locations across the UK
  • A briefing was sent via email to all County Chairs and Membership Support Officers to cascade to Membership. Information about the strategic review was also shared to membership via the social media site Yammer.
  • Those who manage volunteers were asked to brief their volunteers on the latest information from this date
  • Key external stakeholders were written to either via email or letter on this date, and over the following days.

The collective consultation with employees at these services finished on the 22 January 2020. On the 23 January, the Board of Trustees considered the proposals again following the consultation process, taking into account feedback received through this process and from other stakeholders, and the decision was made to proceed with closing these services.

This decision was communicated to all affected Break Centres and Handy Vans staff on the same day. The following day, all RBL staff, Membership and key external stakeholders were communicated with.

What is the outcome for Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service? What happens now?

The collective consultation with employees at these services finished on the 22 January 2020. On the 23 January, the Board of Trustees considered the proposals again following the consultation process, taking into account feedback received through this process and from other stakeholders, and the decision was made to proceed with closing these services.

The Break Centres will close on 28 February 2020 and the Handy Vans Service will stop around 31 March 2020.

The decision has been made to stop providing break services across the Legion, however we will temporarily retain Bennet House for use by the Poppy Club, local community and other charities, to help continue supporting beneficiaries in the area. The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when its use will be re-evaluated as part of service provision in Northern Ireland.

What will you do with the money previously used for Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service, since these services are now to close?

We will invest in providing services that will have the biggest impact for our beneficiaries. For example – strengthening the caseworking capacity across the country and overseas, investing in support for Mental Health and ensuring our Care Homes have sufficient funds to operate safely and provide good quality care for our most elderly and vulnerable.

We would refocus these funds to meet the most urgent needs our community is facing right now and would invest in: More face to face contact with our community; Investing in our individual grants programme to ensure we can continue to personalise our support; Invest in and reinvigorate our care model for the elderly; Invest in our collaborative funding work, including grants to external organisations who are providing specialist or localised support.

You say that there are going to be more changes. When can we expect to find out about that?

There are some other areas that need to be reviewed as part of the charitable remit under our operating model. This will include enhancing campaigning, reviewing how we deliver our services etc, more information will be available over the coming months.

Is this exercise just about saving money?

No - these changes were proposed to enable the Legion to respond to the increasingly complex and priority needs of the Armed Forces Community. The Legion needs to focus its resources on providing support to those in the most desperate of circumstances; that is immediate funds for food, clothing and shelter, support in managing and resolving high levels of debt, support with mental health, substance abuse and housing.

What role has Moorhouse Consultancy played in this strategic review?

Moorhouse Consultancy have been commissioned by the Legion to support the development and design of a new operating model. This work entails identifying what functions the organisation needs to operate and how they interact with each other. The strategic intent is to develop our organisation that operates as ‘One Legion’. Moorhouse have not contributed to the Strategic Review decision-making process. The Charitable Remit group was led by a Legion Director supported by a number of colleagues from across the different departments of the Legion and the proposals scrutinised and approved by the Executive Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees. The Legion’s future has been and will continue to be led by the Legion.

What happens if this strategy fails and veterans are left with nothing to support them?

The Legion has been in existence for nearly 100 years and we want to ensure we are here for the next 100 as well, which is why we need to ensure we review our work to keep providing the right services and support to our Armed Forces and their families. We have undertaken a comprehensive review, which included a number of senior leaders from a range of departments, bringing experience and expertise to look in detail at our charitable work that covers Remembrance, Campaigning and Welfare. The Executive Board also appointed Liverpool John Moores University to undertake research into the impact of our Break Centres which has informed these proposals, which we have not undertaken lightly.

We have a diverse set of beneficiaries – geographically spread, a wide age range, and a broad range of needs – and we will of course need to have services that respond to that, from the intensive support of a care home to one-off advice. In terms of our welfare provision, case-working will be at the heart of our approach, joining up both the services that we provide and working in partnership with others, as we do now. Working with staff and service users, we will be redesigning how we deliver our welfare support services in early 2020. We’ll be looking at the full range of welfare pathways – from triage, case-working, advice and information, INGs and specialist services. We want to make the journey simpler for people to interact with us. We also want to invest more in personalised individual support and invest more in other organisations providing specialist services to our community. We want to reinvigorate our care model for the elderly Armed Forces community.

When will the new strategy be available?

We plan to have a new strategic framework to share with staff, members and volunteers in the next few months.

What will be included in the new strategy?

This framework starts with our new vision ‘To bring together the nations, communities and individuals to create better futures for our Armed Forces community and their families’, the next step is looking at why we undertake the work we do, and then looking at how we’ll achieve that work. This will be very broad and applicable across the charity.  We will be sharing more information on this in the next couple of months.

What are the proposed changes to Remembrance?

We of course want to continue our work to ensure Remembrance is understood and available to all and ensure the unique contribution of the armed forces community is never forgotten and passed on to the next generation. The review found that we need to provide more consistent support and delivery locally, regionally and nationally – engaging more with local communities, volunteers and members and reach more diverse communities. Remembrance will soon be taking on resource in order to scope out what support is most required at the local community and regional levels. Once we have discussed widely we will be in a better position to take a planned approach to this body of work and will be keeping you informed of our progress.

Is the strategic review work the reason why we are waiting for the new Royal Charter?

No, the Royal Charter update is an entirely separate process and not connected to the strategic review.  We intend to issue communications about both the new Charter and new Membership Handbook in due course.

What changes are being made to our rehabilitation services? Are we investing in them?

We are working with the Ministry of Defence on their review of recovery. We will then be looking to review our recovery offer once the MoD review is out.

What are we doing for homeless veterans?

We provide casework and grants to individuals addressing the most urgent and basic support including food, clothing and shelter for the homeless. Grants are also supporting housing, financial issues (including debt, benefits and general money issues), mental health and wellbeing and support to veterans and their dependents to stay independent in their own homes. The Armed Forces community is changing, and the type of support needed by our beneficiaries is growing increasingly complex. We think we can do more good for the Armed Forces Community by addressing the more fundamental needs. The strategic review and proposals that are part of this, are not about saving money. The focus is on ensuring the Legion is providing services that have the biggest impact on peoples’ lives, ensuring our services provide value for money and being sustainable in the long-term.

How are we caring for veterans with dementia?

We will continue to offer high quality and safe residential care, nursing care, dementia care, respite and day care via our care homes, Galanos Community Hub and the Admiral Nurse Teams.

Will there be another strategic review in a few years time?

The strategic plan needs to be revisited on a regular basis to ensure that it meets the Legion’s vision.

There are people in authority and responsibility in the organisation who receive large amounts of pay – will they take cuts in order to make savings?

The strategic review is not about saving money. The focus is on ensuring the Legion is providing services that have the biggest impact on peoples’ lives, ensuring our services provide value for money and being sustainable in the long-term.

I have feedback, and/or a question about the strategic review.

Thank you for your feedback and your suggestion, we appreciate everyone’s willingness to contribute and understand that this is important to many people. We read and aim to respond to every message that comes through to us via strategy@britishlegion.org.uk

 

 

2. Our Vision

 

Why do we need a new vision?

We need to be clear about what the Legion is trying to achieve, so we all know what we are working towards and why – whether a member, volunteer or employee. Having a vision helps provide direction for forming strategic priorities and work plans, to ensure we are working in a consistent and joint up way. Over time, as the Legion has grown, we’ve done so in different ways across the charity, which has led to us not always being as joint up as we could be. Having one vision, with a clear strategy will provide focus and help inform what we do, why we do it and how we do it.

Why haven’t veterans or other groups been named in the new vision? 

The vision we are working towards is intended to be a short broad statement that captures the wide scope of work we do and the people we serve, rather than list specific groups. The vision is only a start - in the work that follows, we will be able to be more specific about how we help our communities. 

How was the new vision created?

From many conversations with members, volunteers, staff, people we serve and external partners, we’ve been looking at how best we capture in a brief statement why the Legion exists and what we want to achieve. We then worked with a communications agency who helped probe and question the Executive Board’s thinking to formulate a vision that we are confident conveys what the Legion’s aspirations are.

 

 

 

3. The Legion Operating Model

 

What is an operating model?

We need to articulate how everything we do as teams and individuals delivers the strategy. An operating model covers every aspect of how an organisation is set up to deliver its work. It includes topics such as people, processes and technology and an appropriate structure applied to all levels of the organisation. 

Organisations have new strategies all the time but don’t necessarily need to review how the entire organisation operates – so why do we?

From our strategic review work, we found that overtime as the Legion has grown, departments and the work we deliver have developed in isolation, reacting and undertaking work in response to issues and ideas that have arisen as and when at local levels, rather than having a defined vision and clarity over specifically what the Legion should be doing as a charity overall. So, we are taking the opportunity to look at both what we do as an organisation and also how we operate.

Will you be reviewing membership and volunteers as well?

Yes. The areas of membership and volunteering will be reviewed as part of the operating model work, along with the rest of the organisation. We do not have a timeframe yet for these specific areas as the operating model is still in in the review phase. We hope to have more information on our operating model in the next couple of months.

Why have you bought in external consultants to review our operating model and how much did they cost?

We wanted to appoint external specialists to give an objective and expert view and recommendations on our strategic review work, which includes how the organisation is set up. We need to change what we do and therefore how we do it, to provide the best possible experience for those we serve.  The consultants have undertaken more than 40 interviews across all directorates, undertaken a thorough document review – for example looking at project management, governance, complaints, fundraising.  Moorhouse consultants’ previous clients include the Department for Education, Open University and NHS to name a few. Having worked with large and complex organisations, they bring a wealth of experience and insight that will support us in developing our strategy and operating model to ensure we are fit for the future.

The strategic review is not about saving money. The focus is on ensuring the Legion is providing services that have the biggest impact on peoples’ lives, ensuring our services provide value for money and being sustainable in the long-term.

We are unable to share the cost of Moorhouse as the contractual arrangements between the RBL and Moorhouse are subject to confidentiality provisions, and we cannot disclose commercially sensitive information such as their service fees.

Are there any plans for changes to Legion Clubs?

The areas of membership and volunteering will be reviewed as part of the operating model work, along with the rest of the organisation. We do not have a timeframe yet for these specific areas as the operating model is still in in the review phase. We hope to have more information on our operating model in the next couple of months.

 

 

Are there any plans for changes to Membership?

The areas of membership and volunteering will be reviewed as part of the operating model work, along with the rest of the organisation. We do not have a timeframe yet for these specific areas as the operating model is still in in the review phase. We hope to have more information on our operating model in the next couple of months.

Will there be changes to Branches?

The areas of membership and volunteering will be reviewed as part of the operating model work, along with the rest of the organisation. We do not have a timeframe yet for these specific areas as the operating model is still in in the review phase. We hope to have more information on our operating model in the next couple of months.

Are you closing Pop-In Centres?

There are no current plans to close Pop-In Centres.

Are employment grants ending?

Yes, the Legion has decided to cease Employment Support Grants to individuals.

 

 

4. Handy Vans Service

 

When will the Handy Vans Service stop?

The Handy Vans Service will cease operating on 31 March 2020.

How are we supporting Handy Vans Service staff?

A total of 153 employees were at risk of redundancy under the proposals to close the Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service. We are committed to minimising redundancies and finding suitable alternative employment for affected individuals wherever possible. We are also providing support according to our redundancy policy, including supporting individuals with training and workshops for CV writing, job searching and applications, and entering self-employment or starting your own business.

When will we stop booking in jobs for the Handy Vans Service?

The service will stop accepting requests for support by no later than 31 January 2020, allowing time for jobs to be completed before the closure of the service around 31 March 2020.

What will happen to outstanding HVS work?

The service will come to an end in a phased way. This is being managed by a working group chaired by Gail Walters.

What will happen to the beneficiaries who might have wanted to use the Handy Vans Service?

Work continues across the Legion and specifically within Operations through the area and specialist teams, who will remain beneficiary focused, utilising all of the options available to them internally, such as the social isolation catalogue and more widely with our sector partners and the wider community. Broader information, advice and support can still be accessed via the Legion contact centre on 0808 802 8080.

When visiting a beneficiary in their home, a fitter often identifies additional needs. The HVS workers also provide expert impartial advice to case officers. Will we stop this valuable support?

We acknowledge that our Handy Vans Fitters provide valuable support to identify additional needs during their visits which historically have been referred in to the Area Offices.   Beneficiaries will still receive visits in their homes from Case Officers, Case Workers, Specialist Teams, Admiral Nurses and Branch Community Supporters and as previously indicated the beneficiaries wider needs will continue to be explored through these visits.

What is the plan to find a replacement for the Handy Vans Service?

We will invest in providing services that will have the biggest impact for our beneficiaries. It is a clear strategic aim to strengthen our case-working services, but until we’ve completed the service design for a new support service model, we won’t know what further changes might be proposed or what the detail of this will be. Front line staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and external ‘best practice’ case-working organisations will be involved in workshops to design the new pathways and processes for beneficiaries.

What organisations currently exist that do the same or similar duties/work as the HVS? Will these organisations take over HVS duties/work?

We are currently mapping a range of organisations including local Home Improvement Agencies, Good Neighbour Schemes, Handy Vans Service associated with other charities, local authority approved local traders and suppliers etc. We are currently in the mapping phase and are yet to communicate with any potential suppliers.

5. Break Centres

 

When will the Break Centres close?

All new referrals for breaks were suspended during the consultation period. No guests have been booked after Christmas 2019. The Break Centres will close on 28 February 2020.

The decision has been made to stop providing break services across the Legion, however we will temporarily retain Bennet House for use by the Poppy Club, local community and other charities, to help continue supporting beneficiaries in the area. The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when its use will be re-evaluated as part of service provision in Northern Ireland.

What will happen to the other Break Centre buildings?

RBL owns the freehold for all the properties. Our in-house Commercial team is determining the best option for the buildings and assets (including potential disposal) to ensure that the Trustees receive the best value in accordance with their Charities Act obligations.

How are we supporting Break Centre staff?

A total of 153 employees were at risk of redundancy under the proposals to close the Break Centres and the Handy Van Service. We are committed to minimising redundancies and finding suitable alternative employment for affected individuals wherever possible. We are also providing support according to our redundancy policy, including supporting individuals with training and workshops for CV writing, job searching and applications, and entering self-employment or starting your own business.

Why is the Bennet House building being retained? Why can't the other Break Centre properties be used for similar purposes?

We recognise the unique situation in Northern Ireland, both the historic issues and current challenges, which make it difficult for veterans to find the support they need. In addition, there are significantly lower levels of support from the state in that area.

To meet these challenges, we have established a newly formed Northern Ireland Advisory Committee to continue reviewing how best to meet beneficiary needs in the area and coordinate with the re-convened Northern Ireland Assembly and new Veterans Commissioner.

We will temporarily retain Bennet House for use by the Poppy Club, local community and other charities, to help continue supporting beneficiaries in the area. The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when its use will be re-evaluated as part of service provision in Northern Ireland.

How will the Bennet House building be used? How long will this be for?

The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when its use will be re-evaluated as part of service provision in Northern Ireland. This will be informed by existing research and a new report on veterans’ needs that is due to be published in June by Queen’s University, Belfast.

What are you doing to review service provision in Northern Ireland?

We recognise the unique situation in Northern Ireland, both the historic issues and current challenges, which make it difficult for veterans to find the support they need. In addition, there are significantly lower levels of support from the state in that area.

To meet these challenges, we have established a newly formed Northern Ireland Advisory Committee to continue reviewing how best to meet beneficiary needs in the area and coordinate with the re-convened Northern Ireland Assembly and new Veterans Commissioner.

Most of the Break Centres run well-established Poppy Clubs – what will happen to them?

We are talking to all Poppy Clubs as part of this process to explore alternative arrangements for continuing with a Club, if that is what members would like to do.

In recent years, investment has been made within the Break Centres with refurbishments taking place. Couldn’t that money have been better used to keep this service running?

At the time that refurbishments were being made, the Legion had no plans to close Break Centres. The amount of money spent on refurbishments is also significantly lower than the £4.8m annual running costs of the centres.

Would the Legion consider selling properties to an investor who may wish to continue delivering a breaks service?

 We have engaged Fairhurst Estates Limited (FEL) to undertake a feasibility study.  They have gone to market and identified the properties will provide the highest return if marketed as vacant properties.  It is possible an investor may wish to run a hotel service, however as we do not have a paying customer base, it would not be deemed as continuing to deliver the same break services.

How will individual assets such as artwork, TVs and furniture be disposed of?

The project team will work with the Commercial Department, in consultation with key stakeholders, to determine the most appropriate way to dispose of assets. We are aware that some items have been donated over the years, and care needs to be taken to ensure that all assets are considered and appropriate plans are put in place. These plans will be developed as the project progresses.

The research showed that breaks have a positive impact for the people who attend them – how is this a justification for closing Break Centres?

In 2017 Liverpool John Moore’s University was commissioned to research the welfare impact of our Breaks. We acknowledge that our Break Centres provide valuable, positive experiences for the people we support and their families. Whilst the research showed a positive impact of a break for the people we support, the impact was generally shown to be short-term, with little long-term improvements shown. The Legion will continue to seek appropriate ways of addressing mental health and well-being needs of our beneficiaries through our network of other RBL services, and through partnership working across the sector.

Break Centres do more than just provide a holiday – they are important centres for providing comradeship, positive experiences for the people we support and their families. Was this taken into consideration?

The primary purpose of the Break Centres was to offer free seaside holidays to our beneficiaries, to offer a chance to get away for a short time. They did not provide rehabilitation services, they did not provide treatment for conditions and they did not provide mental health services, instead focusing on allowing families and guests to have fun.

We acknowledge that our Break Centres provided valuable, positive experiences for the people we support and their families. We do not make these proposals lightly, and we are well aware of the impact they could have on staff who have made hugely valuable contributions to the charity’s work, as well as our beneficiaries. Throughout our history we have responded to the changes in the Armed Forces community and the landscape we operate within. These current proposals form part of a wider programme of work as we create our new strategy to ensure the charity is having the greatest impact, making the most of our resources, and evolving in line with changes around us. Discussing these proposals is a necessary step for the Legion in order to adapt and help the Armed Forces community tackle their toughest challenges today.

Is this a way of selling off prime real estate land for profit?

This is a culmination of work we have been doing over the past 18 months and it is about creating a strategy and structure which will support RBL to grow and develop into the future, so we can reach more beneficiaries and be there for the Armed Forces community. The focus is on ensuring the Legion is providing services that have the biggest impact on peoples’ lives, ensuring our services provide value for money and being sustainable in the long-term.

What will you do with the literature which highlights ‘seaside breaks’?

This is under review by the project team.

Will we still source a break for a beneficiary who has been identified as needing one?

As we work through this process, we will want to ensure our beneficiaries continue to receive the best possible support. Other service charities do not offer a breaks service such as that currently provided by the Legion. Where individual beneficiaries may be eligible, Legion Area teams will be able to assist beneficiaries in accessing services within the sector. We will direct people to other services that do exist such as SSAFA - the Armed Forces charity, offers holidays for a week to families who have a parent or child with a need or disability. Applications are open to all in the Armed Forces community. The RAF Benevolent Fund Welfare Breaks programme offers holidays and respite care for both RAF Serving personnel and veterans. Some breaks are exclusive to those with disabilities. Visit the RAF website for more information.

If the decision to proceed with closing the Break Centres was not made until late January 2020, why were no more bookings taken after those booked in for Christmas?

There is historically a ‘shut down’ period for January and February for the Breaks Centres, so no bookings for this period were taken. While we were in a consultation phase with our staff, all new referrals were suspended as it would not have been appropriate to take referrals while we were consulting on a proposal to change service provision.

What support will be available in areas with Break Centres once they are closed? Break Centres often acted as a go-to place for those who needed help.

Support to the local communities that currently use the Break Centres is being reviewed and an agreed way forward is being established following dialogue with local beneficiaries and the stakeholders (staff, committees, volunteers) in the coming months. Broader information, advice and support can still be accessed via the Legion contact centre on 0808 802 8080.

If the property is sold, where will the money go? Will it stay in the local area?

Money from the sale of any RBL property will not be ringfenced for the local area, but will be used to support the ongoing work of the charity.

Why are we continuing to do work on the Break Centre buildings if they will no longer be used?

Essential maintenance had to be undertaken to ensure the buildings remained safe for our guests and staff. Essential maintenance has to continue thereafter to ensure the building remains in a good state of repair.

 

Do you have any plans to liaise with other charities? Is there a possibility for the Break Centres to become a joint venture or community interest company?

We are ceasing to operate the buildings and therefore a Legion-led joint venture will not be pursued. We already liaise widely with other charities and organisations, and these are being fully engaged with.

Our branch donated money to one of the Break Centres. Are we entitled to have that money returned?

The Branch is entitled to have its donation returned. The Branch may wish to have their donation returned, or to put it towards one of the RBL’s care homes, who for example are in the process of fundraising for new minibuses. If Branches wish to discuss further, they can get in touch via the usual channels, or via strategy@britishlegion.org.uk

Who do the affected beneficiaries contact?

Complaints should be made to the contact centre, these will be dealt with via the ops complaint route.  Feedback should be emailed to Strategy@britishlegion.org.uk

6. Service Provision Decisions

 

When will the Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service close?

The Break Centres will close on 28 February 2020. The Handy Vans Service will cease operating on 31 March 2020.

The decision has been made to stop providing break services across the Legion, however we will temporarily retain Bennet House for use by the Poppy Club, local community and other charities, to help continue supporting beneficiaries in the area. The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when its use will be re-evaluated as part of service provision in Northern Ireland.

What alternatives to closure were proposed and considered? Why were these alternatives not deemed to be suitable?

The Board of Trustees provided input and challenge as the proposals were developed and approved. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall strategic direction, governance and management of the Legion. Members are well-represented on the Board of Trustees, with over half of the Board of Trustees made up of members elected by the Legion Branches.

The Board of Trustees considered the proposals again following the end of the consultation process, taking into account feedback received through this process and from multiple other stakeholders.

The problems our community face are growing in complexity and we need to respond to these pressures from those most in need in our community. This means some difficult choices and tough decisions in order to make the most impact for our Armed Forces community and their families. The decision was therefore to proceed with closing the Break Centres and Handy Vans Service in order to refocus these funds and: invest in more face to face contact with our community; invest in our individual grants programme to ensure we can continue to personalise our support; invest in and reinvigorate our care model for the elderly; and invest in our collaborative funding work, including grants to external organisations who are providing specialist or localised support.

 

 

What are you doing to review service provision in Northern Ireland?

We recognise the unique situation in Northern Ireland, both the historic issues and current challenges, which make it difficult for veterans to find the support they need. In addition, there are significantly lower levels of support from the state in that area.

To meet these challenges, we have established a newly formed Northern Ireland Advisory Committee to continue reviewing how best to meet beneficiary needs in the area and coordinate with the re-convened Northern Ireland Assembly and new Veterans Commissioner.

How will we ensure the support we give to our beneficiaries won’t suffer whilst we go through this change?

There are currently no residents at our Break Centres, and no bookings have been confirmed for breaks. The Handy Vans Service will stop accepting requests for support by no later than 31 January 2020, allowing time for jobs to be completed before the closure of the service by 31 March 2020.  Work continues across the Legion and specifically within Operations through the area and specialist teams, who will remain beneficiary focused, utilising all of the options available to them internally, such as the social isolation catalogue and more widely with our sector partners and the wider community.

How will the Legion provide support to our volunteers through this period?

We have been engaging with our volunteers and will continue to do so to explain what the strategic review and operating model means for them. As Volunteers of RBL, they will also be entitled to access our Employee Assistance Programme – Optum.

Were members consulted on the proposals to close the Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service?

With any potential redundancy, the staff directly affected should be told first and, depending on numbers involved, there needs to be a period of collective and individual consultation. This is a requirement of employment law. Therefore, we consulted only with our staff during this consultation period. Regarding members being involved in the decision-making process, members are well-represented on the Board of Trustees, with over half of the Board of Trustees made up of members elected by the Legion Branches. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall strategic direction, governance and management of the Legion.

Why were the proposals to close the Handy Vans Service and the Break Centres not shared with membership in advance, or at annual conference?

Our Director General, Charles Byrne, shared the driving factors and principles behind the strategy at annual conference and these were discussed at the County Chairman's seminars and well received and understood. These are: that we must understand and respond to the changing needs of the community we support, equally that we must ensure we focus our efforts where they can have the greatest benefit and impact and also that we cannot do all that is needed on our own but will do more good by working as part of that wider, national network.

The Board of Trustees provided input and challenge as the proposals were developed and approved. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the overall strategic direction, governance and management of the Legion. Members are well-represented on the Board of Trustees, with over half of the Board of Trustees made up of members elected by the Legion Branches.

With any potential redundancy, the staff directly affected should be told first and, depending upon numbers involved, there needs to be a period of collective and individual consultation. This is a requirement of employment law. Therefore, we consulted only with our staff during this consultation period.

You mentioned that the services provided by Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service are areas of support available through other providers or more cost-effective means. Who are the other providers, and what are the more cost-effective means?

It is a clear strategic aim to strengthen our case-working services, but until we’ve completed the service design for a new support service model, we won’t know what further changes might be proposed or what the detail of this will be. Front line staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and external ‘best practice’ case-working organisations will be involved in workshops to design the new pathways and processes for beneficiaries.

If we use ‘other sources’ to deliver services, how will we guarantee that our beneficiaries get the same high levels of service as with the Handy Vans Service and Break Centres? Will we make sure our armed forces get priority?

It is a clear strategic aim to strengthen our case-working services, but until we’ve completed the service design for a new support service model, we won’t know what further changes might be proposed or what the detail of this will be. Front line staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and external ‘best practice’ case-working organisations will be involved in workshops to design the new pathways and processes for beneficiaries.

Do committee members have vested interests in some of these existing providers who will potentially benefit from grant funding?

No, the Trustees must by law act only in the interests of the Legion and where there are any potential conflicts of interest or loyalty, they are required to declare them. Depending on the nature of the conflict, they are likely to not take part in any decision-making concerning the conflicted issue. All conflicts are declared annually and held in a register of interests, and at the beginning of every Board meeting and any meetings of its Committees.

How will the plans to increase resource to personalise individual support/grant fund external organisations etc work outside of the major cities in smaller towns and villages where there are no existing services?

It is a clear strategic aim to strengthen our case-working services, but until we’ve completed the service design for a new support service model, we won’t know what further changes might be proposed or what the detail of this will be. Front line staff, volunteers, beneficiaries and external ‘best practice’ case-working organisations will be involved in workshops to design the new pathways and processes for beneficiaries.

I’ve read that RBL has £70million in reserves. Why did you not spend this money on saving the Handy Vans Service and Break Centres instead of closing them?

We currently have about 42% of the organisation’s annual turnover in reserve, which is proportional and good practice. We manage the amount we have in reserve carefully, it does change over time based on the risks the charity faces. Our current proposals are about ensuring that the Legion is providing services that have the biggest impact on peoples’ lives, ensuring our services provide value for money and being sustainable in the long-term. If agreed, the proposals to close the Break Centres and cease the Handy Van service will provide funding we can continually invest in the most urgent needs in our community. We would refocus these funds to meet the most urgent needs our community is facing right now. We need to provide more individual, personalised support to fully support the complex needs people are coming to us with. This is an expensive area of our work. Our community is aging, and we are reinvigorating our range of care services to help older veterans live independently for longer and those in our care homes and dementia centres are receiving the highest standards of care. We will invest in external organisations providing the specialist and localised services our community need.

What role did the Board of Trustees have in making the proposals to close the Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service?

The Board of Trustees provided input and challenge as these proposals were developed and approved. The Board of Trustees and the Executive Board can see the full range of services across the Legion. That overview is crucial because the responsibilities for deciding what to prioritise and where we can focus our efforts to greatest effect, ultimately sits with the Board, and ensuring the best use of the organisation’s resources is their fundamental responsibility.

The collective consultation with employees at these services finished on the 22 January 2020. On the 23 January, the Board of Trustees considered the proposals again following the consultation process, taking into account feedback received through this process and from other stakeholders, and the decision was made to proceed with closing these services.

Does this mean that the RBL is being selective on who is it going to help?

No – we will continue to support our Armed Forces community and their families. We are refocussing the charitable funds to meet the increasingly complex needs of our beneficiaries.

Does this mean that we will cap the number of people we help in order to maintain quality?

No, we wish to retain where necessary services to meet the increasingly complex needs of our beneficiaries

 

 

7. Communications

 

How and when will you share further information with our staff / members / volunteers / supporters?

This decision to close the Break Centres and Handy Vans Service was communicated to all affected Break Centres and Handy Vans staff on 23 January. The following day, all RBL staff, Membership and key external stakeholders were communicated with.

In the next couple of months, we will be sharing our new strategy framework and operating model work.

Why did you share the news about the strategic review and the proposals to close the Break Centres and the Handy Vans Service in November, particularly after Poppy Appeal/Remembrance?

The review has taken some time and paying due diligence to such an issue was a priority. With proposals involving the potential for role changes and redundancies, it was vital that our HR team were ready to support staff through the consultation and beyond. The Poppy Appeal and Remembrance period, and the months leading up to it, are extremely resource heavy for the charity. It is always difficult to find the right time to share this kind of information but it was the opportunity to exploit the historic ‘shut-down’ period for January and February for the Breaks Centres to best support staff through consultations that was the key driver.  This period, normally utilised for a routine maintenance period and natural break in service, provided the best window of time in a limited range of options.

Has the media been informed about the closures of the Break Centres and Handy Vans Service?

Media outlets were informed of the proposals and the outcome, and the PR team have worked closely with journalists to answer their enquiries.

8. Other

 

How will the Legion provide support to our volunteers through this period?

We have been engaging with our volunteers and will continue to do so to explain what the strategic review and operating model means for them. As Volunteers of RBL, they will also be entitled to access our Employee Assistance Programme – Optum.

Can I see a breakdown of RBL’s spending?

You can find information in our annual report and accounts.

What percentage of our donated income for the RBL goes to beneficiaries?

The annual report and accounts provide the latest audited details.

Has a household survey been done this year?

The last Household Survey was conducted in 2014, and the one prior to that nine years earlier in 2005. Since then, the Ministry of Defence has also conducted an Annual Population Survey of the veteran population, which covers some common ground, although not to the same extent.  TRBL have committed to undertake another Household Survey in 2021 and we are currently commissioning for the provider to undertake this survey.

Is the annual conference still going to happen in Southport?

Yes.

 

2019

 

October

 

July

June

Soham Branch

 Ely Branch

 

 

May

Soham Carnival 27th May 2019

Visit by L/Cpl Haddrell Kings Royal Hussars to meet D-Day vets

The Newmarket Journal reporting team came to the Carnival stand of the Soham Branch Royal British Legion where WW2 veterans Ron Palmer, Ken Matkin and Jack Watson were taking part in the 75th anniversary commemorations of D-Day (6th June 1944).

Dan Barker of the Journal talked to the vets and interviewed serving soldier L/Cpl Dean Haddrell of the King’s Royal Hussars, the regiment is based in Tidworth and equipped with Challenger 2 battle tanks.  The KRH is a cavalry regiment and is part of the Royal Armoured Corps. The regiment was formed in 1992 by the allegation of a number of Hussar regiments with histories dating back over 300 years. D-Day vet Ken Makin severed with the 10th Hussars and during the late 1960’s and early 70’s Mike Donoghue of the Soham branch RBL served with the 14th/20th King’s Hussars, both regiments now form part of the KRH. Dean presented Ken with a regimental tankard and book to mark the link back to D-Day.

The D-Day vets will join members of the Soham Branch RBL at the memorial at 11am on the 6th June to lay a wreath in memory of all who lost their lives in the allied invasion to free Europe

 

Soham Carnival

April

Soham Branch

Wreaths which had been place on the Memorial in Red Lion Square, Soham on 11th November 2018, were removed 0n 27th April. Rather than throwing them away, each year they are placed on the war graves in Soham cemetery. The following morning members of the Soham Branch Royal British Legion placed the wreaths on the graves where they will remain until being replaced next year.

 

We will remember them

 

...................................................................................................

 

 

Thank you for loyal service

 

 

"Bryan Jones, MBE (RAF), who retired on 31st March after 16 years as Membership Support Officer for Cambridgeshire was presented with a County Certificate of Appreciation on Tuesday 9th April.

 Bryan who served as a Warrant Officer in the Royal Air Force before joining the Legion staff was formerly County Secretary for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire counties before becoming Membership Support Officer for Cambridgeshire County and Huntingdonshire District. He has always shown total commitment to the Legion and will remain on the county committee as County Training Officer and County Community Support Representative.

Colonel Roger Herriot, DL, County President of Cambridgeshire presented Bryan's certificate to him."

 

                          Bryan Jones                                                                      Alan Scott with Bryan

                                                            Alan,Bryan,Rodger and new MSO Dan Francis

CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY CONFERENCE

Notification is hereby given that the

Annual Meeting of the Conference of the

Royal British Legion Cambridgeshire County will be held on:

Saturday 26th January 2019

At

Over Conference & Community Centre

The Doles, Over, Cambridgeshire, CB24 5NW

 

The Conference will begin at 11.00 am and conclude at approximately 3.00 pm with a break for Buffet Lunch at 12.30 pm.

 

 

2018

 

11th November

 

The Morden’s Branch will be holding four ceremonies.   

The schedule is as follows: 

  • 0845am   355th Fighter Group/RAF Memorial @ Steeple Morden airfield memorial.
  • 0930am Odsey Memorial (Near the Jester Hotel).   1000am Steeple Morden village memorial.
  • 1045/1100 Guilden Morden village memorial.

 The Guilden Morden service will be followed by the dedication of a new WWI memorial in the church.

Sqn Ldr Ray Leach MBE
Chairman

 

 

Beacon Poster -1

Brief Summary Of Events Taking Place In St Ives On Sunday 11th November -1

Cherry Hinton RBL WW1 Events -1

Cherry Hinton RBL WW1 Events -2

Peterborough Festival Of Remembrance 2018

Soham Poppy Launch 27th October 2018

Soham Poppy launch got off to a running start this morning at the Pavilion and Memorial with a sponsored run and variety show.
The Poppy runners together with the WW1 Soham Soldier, Nurse and cadets carrying Poppy sails on a WW1 stretcher were escorted from the Pavilion down to the Memorial by bikers from the Riders Branch RBL. The Poppy Sails were raised and the run then started, supported by an escort car from the event sponsor 365residential.

Mary Ames and her volunteer helpers served tea, coffee and snacks. There was music and songs from the Wicken Coronation Band and Michael Antony at the Pavilion, as well as exhibits from Soham Heritage and Tourism, Soham Rocks and Soham Branch Royal British Legion. A great time was had by the crowd who sang along with songs of yesteryear.

Pauline Paines, Soham’s new Poppy organiser unveiled this year’s poppy pins and a selection of poppy branded items for people to take for a donation.
She also made presentations to Ellen Webb to thank her for her 23 years of service as Poppy organiser, and to Simon Whitworth and his Poppy runners who raised funds for the Poppy appeal.
Then, to thank Rosemary Aitchison for hand making the poppies attached to the sails, she presented her with flowers. The sails will hang on the Memorial from 11th November.

Thank you to everyone who helped at the event ,and to all who came along to show support for the launch of this year’s Soham Poppy appeal.

Soham Branch Royal British Legion

 

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The dedication of the new Soham Branch Standard took place at St Andrews church on 21st October.
The service was conducted by The Reverend Eleanor Whalley and the standard was carried by Branch Standard Bearer Jonty Woodbridge, many thanks to both.
Thank you to Glenn Woodbridge for organising the event and to the standard bearers form County, County Youth, Cherry Hinton and Ely for their suport.
The County Chairman Coilin Elsden and Branch Secratary John Aitchison were escort to the standard.  Richard Babcock and myself also represented the branch along with Mary Ames and Rosemary Aitchison who serverd tea and biscuits after the service.
Thank you to all who attended and helped
Mike Donoghue
21 Oct Standard

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The County Standard Bearer Competition took place on Saturday 13th October, congratulations go to the winners of the Competitions 

May Fowler Cambridgeshire County

Debbie Williams   Cambridgeshire County Women’s Section

Morwenna Woodbridge Cambridgeshire County Youth

RBL Carol Service Barrington -1

Ely ADS Journey %27s End Leaflet -2

Ely ADS Journey %27s End Leaflet -1

 

Talk On Summer Of 1918 22 Sept 2018-1

 July 2018

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -1 (1)

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -2 (1)

Local Royal British Legion Members To Join Thousands On Pilgrimage Of Remembrance To World War One Battlefield -3 (1)

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -001

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -002

 

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -003

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -004

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -005

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -006

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -007

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -008

 

Membership E -newsletter July 2018 - Members And Branches Commemorating T ...-page -009

 

 

Sunday Drum Head Service

The Ramsey 40’s Weekend Committee cordially invite Branch Standard Bearers to parade at the Ramsey 40’s Weekend Sunday Drum Head Service. Details:

 

Location:                             The Camp, Wood Lane, Ramsey, Cambridgeshire.  PE26 2XB

 

Date:                                     Sunday 19th August 2018

 

Time of Service:               12:00hrs  (Noon)

 

Notes                                   

 

  1. Standard Bearers to muster at 11:00hrs, if you wish to attend and parade contact Mr Fred Butler 01487 814133 (Home) or 01487 814181 (The Camp), he will provide you an ticket for entry.
  2. See link http://ramsey1940s.co.uk/2018%201940s%20weekend/index.html  for Members that may wish to enjoy the weekend.

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Please see the following from the organisers of the Royal British Legion Central Band Concert at Ely Cathedral:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control we are sorry to inform you that the Royal British Legion Concert on Saturday, 21st July has been postponed.
 
An alternative date in 2019 should be announced later this week and of course we will send you an invitation nearer the time, once the details have been confirmed
 
Please accept our sincere apologies for the disappointment”.
 
____________________________________________________________

 

 

Issue 3 of the County newsletter is now available 

 

 

Ely Youth Commemorations -page -001 (1)

 

12th June 2018

Dedication of New County Youth Standard

As the County Chairman I am delighted that the County Committee have achieved a long-term aim to provide a Youth Standard.  Until now our youth Standard Bearer has had to use the Branch Standard of their own Branch, which often caused a problem.

Our Youth Standard Bearer Morwenna Woodbridge has won the County competition for the last 2 years and has represented the County at Regional and National levels.  It was only fitting that she should have the use of her own Standard, which will also be available for all future youth Standard Bearers.

 

Col (Ret’d) C Elsden DL

 

Cambridgeshire 021

Rev’d A Jesson - Padre

Mr C Ginn - County Youth Officer

Miss M Woodbridge - Youth Standard Bearer

 

 

24th May

Dan Francis Advice & Information Officer for RBL Cambridgeshire & Norfolk has now signed up for a Tandem Parachute Jump in Salisbury in September. He will be jumping with a member of the Army Parachute Display Team.

 

The link for the event is here https://clickandjump.co.uk/royal-british-legion-army-tandem-day/

 

The link for his Just Giving page is here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/daniel-francis19

  

23rd May

Nationally most wreathes are sent to recycling after being taken off memorials. Here in Soham they are used for a second time to mark the war graves in Soham cemetery.

Earlier this month wreaths were removed from Soham memorial and after cleaning by John Aitchison were taken today 20th May, to the cemetery.

John was joined at the cemetery by other members of the Soham Branch Royal British Legion. Pauline and Max Paines, Liz Johnson, Glen Woodbridge and Mike Donoghue to place the wreathes on the war graves.

The Soham Soldier in WW1 uniform paid his respect.

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15 May 2018

 

                   The British Legion was formed on 15 May 1921

 

 

WW1 CENTENARY.

The Legion is marking the centenary of the First World War (2014 to 2018) with commemorations in the UK and Republic of Ireland with a focus on Remembrance, education and legacy.

 

Say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation who helped to shape our world as we know it today.

We will be focusing the movement on the Last 100 Days of the WW1 Centenary from 8 August-11 November. That’s when we expect most activity to take place.

THANK YOU PROJECT UPDATE-1

THANK YOU PROJECT UPDATE-2

 

 

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