Posted by: madkentdragon | September 28, 2010

Why Buy a Poppy part 2


It is frequently the fact that a serviceman often finds himself at a loose end when he leaves the services and can often get lost in civilian life. Too often they find themselves unable to settle to a job and can frequently fall out with their family or partner and find themselves either sleeping on a mate’s floor or out on the street.

Unfortunately they often forget about the RBL and after a while, in desperation they or a friend will go to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or Social Services for help. At last the person has done something, and that call for help gets relayed on to the local County Welfare Office of the Legion and they can help. Most have lists of suitable B&B places where they can go – OK it’s not great but it’s a clean place where they get regular meals and have a permanent address so that they can claim benefits.

The bill for the B&B goes straight to the County Office and a County Welfare Officer will settle the bill and ensure that the person has the essentials needed to survive, from toothpaste etc to luncheon vouchers and a welfare visitor will see the individual to complete the necessary forms to assess what extra help is needed. All this money including the volunteer welfare visitor’s expenses come from the Poppy Appeal.

If all goes well and the “Client” settles down and finds his feet – training grants etc are also available, perhaps he may want a place of his own and again the Royal British Legion will assist with the deposit and first month’s rent as well as the necessary furniture and white goods to make him independent. The goods like beds and sofas and cookers are ordered from the office in consultation with the Client. These items will be of good quality but not over the top, in other words you will get a nice sofa but if you want a £2,000 leather sofa – the answer will be no!! The cooker and washing machine are fitted by the suppliers and help can be given to erect flat pack furniture, so he has no worries and if he needs it (not wants it) a voucher for groceries will be issued however the vouchers state no alcohol or cigarettes can be purchased with it.

OK, you say – you can do all that – so why are there so many homeless ex-service on the streets.

My answer is this:

  • The person in need has to ask for it – we can’t force him
  • We don’t have enough volunteers to go round searching for them
  • Not enough people realise that we do help the youngsters, because the average age for this help is between 25-40!

So now you know where more of the Poppy money goes – can you help sell Poppies or help by training as a Volunteer Welfare Visitor?

If you can help ring your local RBL County Office or ring 08457 725 725  Thank you.

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