To the memory of the fallen
And the future of the living
MORE Important Information Ref Covid 19 and the RBL
Please see below an important message from Karolina Brzeska, Head of Membership Operations.
Following a large number of queries about branches ‘re-opening,’ we have created a new COVID-19 guidance document (attached).
Also, if the link to the funeral guidance within the document does not work, please use this one:
Government Guidance Covid 19
Please make sure you share it with your County Committees and branches. I will also send it out on O365 and post on Yammer.
I hope it covers all aspects, but if you or your members have any queries, please get in touch.
Head of Membership Operations
Message from Lydia Maley the Membership Development Officer regarding forthcoming Webinars.
Please forward the message below to your members and share via your County/Area Facebook pages.
Following the launch of our membership Centenary activity Telling Our Story, we invite all our members to register and attend our first of three informative webinar sessions with historical consultant, Dan Hill, who will also be joined by guest speaker Mark Brennan, Chairman of the Hadleigh Branch in Suffolk.
The first webinar will explore the ways you can get involved in Telling Our Story, providing tips and guidance for digitising your findings and much more.
Please see below for registration details and timings:
Date: 7 July 2020
Register: To join the webinar, please register in advance and add the webinar meeting to your calendar. You will also receive an email confirmation after you have registered.
If you are unable to join us tomorrow evening, please save the following dates for the remaining scheduled webinars:
For further details, please visit the Legion website or email us at Telling Our Story.
Another Membership Message
I hope you and your families and friends are well and safe. From reading the latest membership newsletter I know that many of you have been volunteering to support members and beneficiaries who need help in these difficult times – it’s been amazing to read all the wonderful stories about branch activities in the local community.
Behind the scenes the Membership team have been working hard on key membership projects even though the offices remain closed. I’m very happy to inform you that we are now ready to implement the single membership fee rule, meaning that members who belong to more than one branch do not need to pay any additional membership fees.
In order to regulate governance rights of members who want to belong to more than one branch, Board of Trustees and the Membership Council have agreed to introduce the following rules:
1. The maximum amount of branches a member can belong to at the same time is four.
2. An individual, who is a member of multiple branches, is not allowed to be nominated as a Conference delegate by more than one branch.
We have also launched a new facility where members who have cancelled or not renewed their membership in the past do not need to submit a new application – our Membership Helpline agents are now able to instantly reinstate their previous membership. Additionally, members who are no longer eligible can easily cancel their Gift Aid online via the self-service portal.
These are great improvements to our services, but this particular project isn’t over yet. We are continuing to develop new systems and improve existing processes to ensure our data is correct and up to date with the aim to ensure that members receive the best service. Please share this message with your branches.
Thank you for your continued support and stay safe.
Tustee and Chairman of the Membership Council
Please see below an important message regarding events
during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Please be reminded that all events (including face to face planning meeting for future events) have been cancelled until the end of June. This could be extended further or reverted back dependent on the COVID -19 situation and government advice. I will keep you posted on any changes to this position.
Membership Support Officer – Hampshire & Wiltshire
Cant keep a good man down.
As you can see from the message above all RBL events Nationally and Locally are sadly cancelled. However with the very important date of the 75th Commemoration of VE Day coming up a standard bearer for Huntingdon and District, Steven Carr, just happened to mention on social media that he would still carry out an act of remembrance at 11.00 a.m. on the 8th of May at his home. He was inundated with requests to join his "Virtual Parade" and the event has created a huge amount of interest across the country and internationally. Our own county standard bearer Kevin Toft has signed up and will take part and I believe one or two other standard bearers from around Wiltshire will also take part. The idea is the standard bearers send in a video or photographs and Steven will edit them in to a video and post it on line at 11.00am on the 8th of May. So far the Facebook page created for the event can be found at this link.
A page of Wiltshire's Standard Bearer participants as seen in the Salisbury Journal can be seen here
Its a huge undertaking and Steven already has something in the region of 10000 images to edit. If you are able to supply Wiltshire participants names and images I will create a photo album of them for all to see.
Well done EVERYONE taking part.
We WILL Remember them.
A video message from the Director General
Over these last weeks I have spoken to many people who are doing all they can to keep our country and communities working, from those in the big supermarkets to friends trying to run their own small businesses, from those who are Serving to politicians and to delivery drivers, from other charities to staff working across the Legion and with members who are supporting our beneficiaries in communities across the UK and Europe. We are all facing real and fundamental issues with huge unknowns and many common challenges and shared concerns. All are doing their very best to understand and navigate this new world. None have all the answers. None expect to get everything right but all I have spoken to are determined to play their part as best they can and build stronger communities and nations as we emerge from this.
The Legion was created as a response to massive challenge and change. The red poppy took root and grew as a national (indeed international) symbol of remembrance and hope. This short message reflects those challenges and that shared determination. Please forgive the rather home made recording. https://youtu.be/oGxADTAE5iE
COVID 19 and SCAMMERS.
Taking care to avoid them
As we continue in our personal efforts to slow and eventually stop the spread of Covid 19 we now have another enemy to face. SCAMMERS !
Wiltshire MSO Paul Bunce has heard of several horror stories where criminals are targeting older and vulnerable members of the public to relieve them of hard earned savings and more.
Here are a few tips from Paul on the types of possible scam being operated at the moment.
Take care and if it sounds too good to be true there is a good chance it really is.
Scams to look out for:
Smishing is sending text messages that appear to come from a trustworthy source like the UK government, your mobile phone provider or even your own doctor which try to steal personal or financial information. If you doubt the text’s authenticity, don't click links. Visit www.gov.uk to check any information given. Verify an organisation’s phone number from their website or from old printed correspondence. Some numbers are linked to premium rate numbers registered overseas which can cost up to £50.00 per minute to call, so in some cases all the criminal wants you to do is make the call and they are onto a winner!
Phishing is sending emails which try to make you divulge sensitive personal or financial information. They may appear to be Covid-19 tax refunds, reimbursements from travel bookings, unfinished Netflix or Amazon Prime sign-ups, safety advice via email and even donation requests from our own charity. Fraudsters will try to make you click on links that aren't safe, links that direct you to fake websites that look the same as a common trusted company when it fact they are a mirrored sites set up to steal your money. So think before you click. If in doubt, then don't click. And don’t open any attachments from senders that you don’t know. If you’re still worried, talk to family, friends or someone else you trust.
Purchase scams offer items like toilet rolls, protective equipment, sanitising products and other desirable goods for sale, that you will never receive. Be careful paying for anything via bank transfer and only buy goods from reputable companies that you know and trust.
Vishing is unsolicited phone calls. Always be suspicious of ‘cold-callers’. Don’t be afraid to challenge them or hang up if you can’t verify the caller. Banks, police etc. will never ask for security information, so never give out personal details. If you’re concerned, call the organisation back on the number listed on their website, ideally on a different phone as criminals can sometimes keep the line open. Or if it’s your bank, use the number on the back of your card.
Calling card scams are cards pushed though your door offering to collect groceries that you pay for in advance using cash. Of course, once you have paid you may never see the groceries or your money ever again. Be careful of calling cards or telephone buddy offers using premium rate phone numbers as no genuine person or organisation would use these to offer help and you could end up with a huge phone bill.
There are many genuine services set up by kind and caring people in all areas of Wiltshire offering to collect groceries or provide assistance. Don’t be afraid to use them but always ask for ID or use a service you know. If in doubt, ask someone you know and trust for advice.
I hope you all stay safe during this pandemic and I’m looking forward to see many of you face to face once the danger has passed.
LATEST STANCE ON COVID19
Paul Bunce MSO for Wiltshire has sent the following information regarding continued activities based on information and instruction from RBL Head Office.
PLEASE PASS THIS INFORMATION TO ALL MEMBERS
Dear County Committee, Branch Chairman, Branch Vice Chairman & Branch Secretary’s,
For information - This email has been sent to The County Committee, Branch Chairman, Branch Vice Chairman & Branch Secretaries. Please can you all ensure that this email is sent to your Committees and Members including any Branch Community Support Visitors and Representatives.
I hope you are all managing to keep safe and well at this difficult time.
I have received an update from the RBL Executive Board & Membership Department. As you are already aware the Annual RBL Conference has been cancelled with immediate effect. In addition to this the Executive Board has taken the difficult decision not to continue with plans for VE Day 75, and D-Day 76 events. Therefore, all local Wiltshire events will also be cancelled. This includes the County Parade in Trowbridge.
As you are aware most countries are now under restrictions due to the Coronavirus (COVID 19) which is affecting all aspects of life at present and some of you are already on lockdown in your homes. Please do keep in touch and let us know of any problems & issues I or the County Committee can help with and I/we will aim to assist whenever possible. More importantly, please do take the time to talk to each other on the telephone or send emails to members. Some will feel very isolated and a quick chat can make all the difference.
On Tuesday all RBL Area Offices, Haig House and Regional Offices have been closed and all staff have been working from home. We will do everything we possibly can during this period to provide assistance but there will be situations where it will be physically impossible to help.
Home visits were being completed for some cases – however this situation has now changed and The RBL Executive Board have issued instructions that all contact activities have to be cancelled until June as per below.
With immediate effect all Home Visits to beneficiaries and members are no longer to take place.
All RBL Branch Meetings, Area Meetings, Fundraising Activities, Branch Community Awareness or Events have been, or must be, cancelled until the end of June when this will be reviewed both Nationally and by the County Chairman.
Please ensure that your Welfare Representatives, Caseworkers, Branch and Committees and Members are aware and do not hold any other type of face to face group meetings or events.
You can as ever continue to support each other, your members and beneficiaries via remote working such as Video Meetings, social media groups and telephone calls but all other RBL Activities have to be stopped until the review in June. I will of course keep you updated as soon as I receive any notifications as the situation is changing frequently.
The executive Board and all teams are working on finding different ways to support our beneficiaries and membership that does not require direct contact over the next few months and any ideas are welcome 😊.
These are very difficult times, but the priority is to keep as safe as possible.
My email is now back up and running after nearly a week with no outgoing email, so my apologies for any lack of comms during this time. I will answer all emails as soon as I can.
Please do get in touch with any questions, issues or any ideas you have of support I can give you at this difficult and trying time.
Keep Safe and do follow the advice given by the Prime Minister at his daily update briefings.
Membership Support Officer - Wiltshire
ADVICE FOR STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS
Question Regarding Covid 19 ( Corona Virus) Precautions
As the situation changes hour by hour more information becomes available to help in the control of the disease. The following links to documents with RBL advice on various subjects can be followed by clicking on the RED link.
RBL General Advice
RBL Volunteers and Staff
Welcome to The Royal British Legion in
We are to administer and support the delivery of welfare services and the membership and fundraising activities of the Legion's branches and clubs throughout Wiltshire.
Membership of The Royal British Legion is available to all adults, not just members or ex-members of the forces and we always welcome new members. Drop into your local branch or click here to find out how you can join.
County Contact Details
County Chairman Mike Swaby : email@example.com
County Website Editor Keith Passant : firstname.lastname@example.org
County Parade Marshall John Smith : email@example.com
Membership Support Officer Fi Hedges : firstname.lastname@example.org
County Fund Raiser Fi Dobson : email@example.com
Further contact information for all Area Staff is available here
Public Liability Certificate 2019/20 Available HERE
View The Royal British Legion - Wiltshire Branches in a larger map.
Contact details for prospective members are available on each Branch.
County Chairman Mike Swaby has informed us of sad news. He sent this note out on Monday 16th March.
Wiltshire Branches will be sorry to hear the sad news of the death of Dennis Compton last week.
Dennis was my predecessor as County Chairman and went on to represent Wiltshire as a Board of Trustees member. Many of our branch members will remember the long service he gave to the RBL and the County Executive here in Wiltshire and the wider region.
His funeral will be on Monday 23rd March, 12.15 at Salisbury Crematorium. All who feel able to attend in view of the current health concerns are welcome.
Shrewton Branch have informed us of a trip that is being arranged through one of the members.
RBL SHREWTON BATTLEFIELD TOUR NORMANDY 26-30 JUNE
This is not a members only trip. Anyone with a desire to visit the area would do well to contact
Colonel Christopher J Newbould CBE who runs the battlefield tours.
Details of the itinerary are available here and a two page booking form is available here and here.
This is from the Facebook page that we run with the county site. If you can help Wayne with this in Devizes it would be VERY much appreciated. Thanks folks.
Hi all, I recently received a request for a number of Serving and ex veterans to help mark the 75th anniversary of VE day, please see below:
Hi Wayne. I’m Charlotte and I own Centre Stage Academy of Dance running dance classes from Sheep Street Baptist Church. In April we are holding our biennial dance show at the arc theatre in Trowbridge. The last dance will be performed by our senior girls in military style costumes to honour to the 75th anniversary of VE Day. I was very much hoping to have a number of veterans and current serving military to join the girls on stage towards the end of the song. We have 3 shows taking place over 2 days on 18th and 19th April. Would you or do you know anyone who would be willing to take part?
Many Thanks for your time
Kind Regards, Charlotte
Thank you for reading this, now I wonder how many of my friends both serving and ex serving from any branch of our armed forces can join me? Please check your diary for availability on 18th and 19th of April, if you can please pm me, If you are still serving you know you will have to seek permission through your chain of command, I will draft a latter to your respective Commanding Officers if required.
Dress for serving will be uniform, vets will be Mufti + medals. I look forward to hearing from you.
Contact through this Facebook page 100 Hours of Remembrance - Devizes
Warminster Branch Meetings and Events
This has been received from Andy Clark Branch Chairman
I have been talking to the committee over the last few days with regards to the Convid -19 Virus.
We fully understand every bodies concerns, and we accept your wishes, with regards to the Meeting and Quiz night tomorrow, we will run it for those that want to attend, however all future events like VE and VJ day will still be planned as normal. All planned events will be reviewed in line with the Government guidelines and Head Office and I will let you all know well in advance with any decisions made reference that event or meeting. As our aim is to keep everybody safe but still try and function as a branch of the Royal British legion.
We also know that people are going into self isolation and those at high risk having their movement restricted, with this in mind we will be posting regular updates on our face book page for people to read I will also try and and send regular updates to you all to keep your spirits up.
So if people want to send good will messages to other members. Please forward them onto myself or Deb, so we can post them onto our face book.
Likewise please let either Deb or myself know especially if you are in quarantine, if assistance is needed. With regards to shopping and collection of medication. We will do our best to assist even if it means a chat on the phone.
Please use my mobile 07858518341 to get in touch with myself.
Warminster Royal British Legion
Royal Wootton Bassett "Forever" Memorial.
Many people will be aware of the marble poppy that was at the entrance to the town. You may also be aware that in October 2017 the poppy collapsed under its own weight. At first thought to be vandalism this was soon debunked as footage from CCTV showed the poppy collapsing.
It was thought that the poppy would not be replaced but after some hard work there has been a decision to replace the marble poppy with a bronze one.
The story behind it all can be seen along with photos here. Of course funding has to be raised and donations from individuals and interested companies can be made via the website.
The poppy sculpture is to be named "Forever" to continue as a memorial to the 355 members of the Armed Forces that lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and were repatriated through Royal Wootton Bassett.
Please feel free to publish this far and wide in an effort to help raise the required funds for a very worthy cause.
Cant Find the OLD news?
Check the ARCHIVE HERE
Latest County Newsletter and MSO Updates
The latest NEW look County Newsletter (Formerly County Circular) is now available to view HERE
County President and Chairmans Messages
These are available here for you to view
Latest PAO News Letter
Follow the link for latest Poppy Appeal news and information.
Occassionally items on the front page of the website become out of date and not current. So in an attempt to keep the website tidy and easy to find your way around items need to be taken off but we appreciate they may still be relevant to various visitors. Dont worry. Anything that falls in to this area of the tidy up is moved to the Archives on the left hand menu near the bottom of the list. Check there first and if its not in there then drop me an email as I keep this on my computer and can send you the details.
New Facebook Group
We have put together a Facebook page for RBL Wiltshire to try and attract more members and keep the world up to speed with whats happening in Wiltshire. Why dont you pop along by following the link and see what we have so far.
Royal British Legion Wiltshire
Poppy Appeal Organisers Required
Currently we are looking for help in the following locations. If you feel you can help by becoming the PAO in these areas please contact either the County Fund Raiser or the Membership Support Officer for details.
Branch News and Photograhs
Veterans Gateway Information
Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist.
Their connection with additional key referral organisations – both within and outside the Armed Forces sector – means we can get you to the right organisation who can help.
Funded by The Armed Forces Covenant, this is the first time a group of this kind has come together formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community.
Get in touch
You can speak to one of our team by phone or email.
They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to put you in touch with the help you need, or direct you to the information you are looking for.
Assistant Director Veterans Gateway
Branch Minutes and Newsletters
Warminster Branch minutes added to site here
Why not send yours to Keith for adding to the site?
WHAT WE DO. EVER WONDERED EXACTLY WHAT?
Well if you have we now have a list of what the RBL does in the Services community. Take a look HERE.
Armed Forces Covenant in Numbers Fact Sheet
Attached are some details of how and who is supporting the covenant and what has been achieved so far. The document is available HERE.
Wiltshire Riders Branch
Allen McIlvar, who runs the Wiltshire Riders Branch, has asked me to let you know that he is very happy to give a presentation about the Riders Branch to your Branch Meetings.
You can contract Allen via the County Office email address or follow this link
Volunteering to Help
If you would like to do some voluntary work with the Legion please have a look at the following link. VOLUNTEERING TO HELP.
The Legion and the Centenary
Details in a PDF file on the RBL Centenary Projects that will be updated throughout the year. Take a look and print a copy off for your use.
View our News & Events calendar for more information on what's happening.
About The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion is the nation's leading Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is also the national Custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is best known for the annual Poppy Appeal and its emblem the red poppy.
Advice and Assistance
There are three ways for those needing our assistance to contact the RBL:
- The Knowledge Base which is accessed through the RBL website http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/can-we-help
- The Contact Centre (new free phone number: 0808 8028080) which is open from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week.
- Face to face meeting with a Caseworker or Case Officer.
If the Knowledge Base does not answer the query, or if the individual does not have access to a computer, then the next port of call is the Contact Centre. This Centre is now working 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm. If the Contact Centre is not able to resolve the issue then it passes the details of the case to the Area Advice and Information Team Leader (AITL). The AITL will then pass the case onto the local Case Officer (CO) and they will allocate the case to a caseworker who will arrange to meet the person making the enquiry.
There are a number of opportunities for Volunteering roles and we especially need more volunteer caseworkers. If you are interested in volunteer work you can find a form of Expression of Interest at this link
If you would like to volunteer for one of these roles please complete the form and send it to Fi Hedges whose address is at the bottom of the form.
Kate Green Area Manager Overseas & Interim Area Manager Somerset and Wiltshire
Rob Smith Area Administrator - Somerset & Wiltshire
Fiona Hedges Membership Support Officer Wiltshire
Laura Carey Area Advice and Information Team Leader
Lisa Monis Case Officer - Wiltshire
Isobel Thompson Advice & Information Officer 0808 802 8080
Sandra Long Case Officer:
Vacant Advice and Information Officer,
Tidworth/ Salisbury/Warminster Area
Julie Welch Advice & Information Officer, Somerset
Chris Studham Advice & Information Officer, Somerset
Samantha Jones Case Officer - Somerset
Fi Dobson Community Fundraiser Wiltshire
THE COTTAGE TIDWORTH IS NOW CLOSED
PLEASE DO NOT SEND ANY MAIL TO THE OLD COTTAGE TIDWORTH ADDRESS ALL MAIL SHOULD NOW BE SENT TO THE NEW ADDRESS
Swindon Area Office,
The Royal British Legion
104 Above Bar Street
Thankyou for your co-operation.