Posted by: madkentdragon | March 21, 2010

My Views on the Royal British Legion

OK I admit I worked for the RBL for nearly twenty years, but I worked on the membership – not the welfare side. However in an office just down the hall there were two overworked County Welfare Officers who dealt with anything up to 50 new cases a week and that is without ongoing cases. I won’t go into the mechanics of it all but I do know that some cases could take up to 3 months plus to resolve, especially when dealing with planning permission etc.

 For several years I volunteered as a “Caseworker” – these are members or other like-minded people who visit the “client” and assess their needs and fill in the dreaded financial assessment form. You could be visiting anyone from a war widow who had her purse snatched to youngsters who needed to be pointed in the right direction – all ages all needs.

One old couple I visited were both housebound and very rarely went out – only if someone bothered to take them. The attendance allowance was paid to the daughter who came in and washed & cleaned & cooked for them, but their personal needs were met by social services.

At 7am Fred’s carer would come in, get him up, wash him & dress him and give him his breakfast and park him in front of the TV. At 9 am Florrie’s carer came in and did the same & there they sat all day every day. Then at 7pm Florrie’s carer came in and washed her and put her to bed, at 8.30pm Fred’s carer did the same and that was their life!

We managed to supply them both with EPVs (buggies) and arranged a holiday for the severely disabled where for a fortnight they were treated like people – not numbers and with the use of their EPVs they could get out and about. Result!!

Then there was the case of the fellow not long out of the RAF who wanted to start a small business, with help he put a business plan together and was given a small business loan – interest free that meant he could start his business & was put in touch with others to guide his progress.

There are always debt cases, youngsters coming out of the services with no job and no idea how to manage, they have a meeting with a debt councillor and help is given to meet urgent needs. We don’t have housing but we can still help and have, to fund deposits and help furnish properties for emergency cases.

Need training for a new career when you leave the services, tools to start your new trade? That’s what the RBL is for! Obviously all this is means tested because the pot isn’t bottomless but if you genuinely can’t help yourself – the RBL can.

I could continue but it would become boring – however all these cases start with an unpaid volunteer visiting – and all these well-intentioned people have to be CRB checked; but there’s never enough. So if you or someone you know would like to help – ring 08457 725 725.

Finally can I point out that the reasons War Pensions and War Widow Pensions are tax-free is because we pestered the various governments until we achieved it.

Thank you for reading this.



  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by 4thefallen: RT @madkentdragon: For all its faults the #RBL does work; blog please read & RT…

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