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Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to Service people, past and present, and their dependants.

The Legion is a major campaigner for improvements to legislation, public policies and statutory services. Its nationwide network of volunteers and staff work locally – often with partner organisations – to help those in need. The organisation provides funds for those living in poverty and help for others to live independently.

The Legion provides residential care for vulnerable, older people and offers services to improve the quality of life for isolated or excluded people and families. It also helps others to develop their vocational skills to find sustainable employment.

The Legion is the national custodian of Remembrance – it informs people of all ages about the importance of remembering those from the British Armed Forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who fought and are fighting still for the freedom we enjoy.

Legion facts and figures:

  • Some 9.5 million people in the UK are eligible to ask the Legion for its help.  Anyone who has been in the British Armed Forces for seven days or more (and their dependants) is eligible for help.
  • People as young as 18 years old can be sent on active service, so veterans are often much younger than people realise.
  • Since 2003, the Legion has provided direct financial help to 10,000 in-service personnel from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
  • The recent review of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme resulted in a number of recommendations that will lead to improvements in the scheme, some of which have already been implemented. The Legion was directly involved in the review’s consultation process.
  • Service personnel injured as a result of their service in the Armed Forces can be represented by the Legion when making their compensation claims.
  • £1 million is currently spent through the Legion’s Poppy Support welfare services, helping over 130,000 members of the Armed Forces family, dependants, veterans and the bereaved.  In 2010, it hoped to extend its reach to more then 160,000 beneficiaries.
  • The Legion has recently invested £25million towards the operating costs of four personnel recovery centres that are currently in construction.
  • The Legion operates a grant-giving scheme to assist those in immediate need.
  • One of the greatest success stories in recent years is the take up of free week-long holidays for Armed Forces families, which the Legion provides at various Haven sites across the UK.
  • It also offers children from Forces families the chance to meet with other like-minded youngsters through its Poppy Adventure Breaks. 
  • The Legion sponsored www.civvystreet.org website assists service leavers and members of the ex-service community and their dependants with information, advice and guidance (IAG) on resettlement, learning and work. 
  • The 2009 Poppy Appeal raised a record breaking £33.5 million
  • However, The Legion needs £60 million yearly to deliver its important welfare work (which is where fundraising around events such as the London Marathon is so important)

For more information visit www.britishlegion.org.uk

Pilgrimages

Royal British Legion standards on parade at the National Memorial ArboretumRemembrance Travel, a department of the Legion, organises pilgrimages to war graves and memorials in a wide range of sites in the First and Second World Wars, which are open to anyone who wishes to take part.

The War Widows Grant-in-Aid Scheme, which is administered on behalf of the MOD by Remembrance Travel, was introduced in 1985 to provide financial assistance to any Service widow, whose husband died and was buried overseas between 1914 and 1967, to visit husband's grave, provided they have not done so before at public expense.


Since 1967 the next of kin of those who died whilst serving overseas were given the option to have the remains repatriated if they so wished. The Grant contributes 7/8ths of the cost of a pilgrimage organised by Remembrance Travel. The remaining 1/8th of the cost is contributed by the widows themselves. The visit usually consists of an accompanied tour with The Royal British Legion representatives, guides and medical assistance where required.

Originally, it was intended that the scheme should run for five years ending 31st March 1990, but due to the continuing demand for pilgrimage places from eligible Service widows who had not yet visited their husband's grave, the scheme has been extended on several occasions since then. At the end of January 1998, the Legion approached the MOD for an extension of the scheme, as it had a number of widows registered for pilgrimages to cemeteries not covered by the programme of visits. In light of this, the Legion proposed that the scheme be extended for a further two years in order to allow them sufficient time to organise visits for these widows. Once the Legion's figures had been validated and Treasury approval had been obtained, the then Under Secretary of State announced the extension in the House of Commons on 5th May 1998. Following this announcement, he further stated that MOD would conduct an automatic review of the scheme every two years. He confirmed that, as long as there are Service widows eligible to visit their husband's grave, the Government would continue to renew the scheme. More information can be found at www.poppytravel.org.uk


[1] Improving the Delivery of Cross Departmental Support and Services for Veterans March 2003 para 11.5.1.6.
[2] Advertisement in Royal United Services Institute Journal February 2003 Vol. 148 No. 1.

 

   

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