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Support for our Armed Forces

06 November 2017

Find out about support for our Armed Forces from the British Legion, and more...

British Legion poppy logoLots of us tend to associate the Royal British Legion with two things: the scattering of clubs in most towns and villages, and Remembrance Day poppy sellers – but the Royal British Legion are so much more than that.

The Legion was formed on 15 May 1921 with the main aim of caring for serving and ex-service personnel and their families who had suffered as a result of time spent within the armed forces. This might have been assistance for a veteran with war wounds or a widow struggling to provide for her family. Almost 100 years later, the Legion continue their support.

Did you know:

•    Various services which can be tapped into include benefits, money and debt advice, and help with careers. Call 0808 802 8080 between 8am-8pm 7 days a week, or visit Veterans Gateway

•     ‘Poppy Calls’ is a handyman service which provides low-level maintenance and carephone installation, all free of charge.

•    There is a Defence Discount service, provided by the Ministry of Defence in the form of a Defence Privilege Card, which can be used at various stores, restaurants and venues, and  is available to serving Armed Force personnel, their partners, reserves, veterans, MoD civil servants, bereaved family members, war service widow/ers, cadets over 16 and NATO personnel based in the UK. The card costs  £4.99 for a 5-year membership. Registration for this card is free, and there is even a mobile app.

•    Armed Forces families can have help with holidays. Families can be torn apart by life-changing injury or bereavement, or may just be in need of some respite. There are free family holiday options available, with Break Centres in Bridlington, Southport, Portrush (N.I.) and Weston-Super-Mare, and other accommodation and packages at Haven, Parkdean and Centre Parcs amongst others. Also available are Adventure Breaks for kids.

•    The Legion have centres to help with rehabilitation, and there are homes with dedicated staff to provide specialist care to older veterans. In some areas, Admiral Nurses are on hand to support ex-forces personnel with dementia care.

•    Families can suddenly have their lives turned upside down by injury of a loved one. The Forgotten Heroes Grant directly supports the carers of wounded members and former members of the Armed Forces.

•    The Armed Forces Covenant is a fund set up in 2015 to support the network of service personnel throughout the UK. Grants of up to £20,000 can be applied for, providing they meet the guidelines set out by the MoD. This is to help realise projects which are of benefit to the Armed Forces community. Details of the Covenant are on the government website

•    In Kirklees, the council have lots of help available with housing, employment, health and wellbeing.

•    Blind Veterans UK have a No-one Alone campaign.
Information on all these services, grants and how to obtain them can be found on the British Legion’s website or in Scotland

Did you also know:

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airforce and Families Association) is the oldest military support charity in Britain. Their mission is to relieve need, suffering and distress amongst the Armed Forces, veterans and families. To find out more about their good work, and fundraising opportunities, visit their website

Buying poppies and becoming involved in fundraising is an excellent way of giving support to those who have helped defend our nation, and still actively put their lives on the line for our country every day. This has come at a cost to the many brave men and women, and had a huge impact on their families. Help for our heroes is as important today as it was when the various armed forces charities were originally set up. Lest we forget.