Too many charities??

Not sure if this has been done before, couldn't find anything with a quick search.

While watching the Festival of Remembrance on TV last Saturday I started to wonder, are there too many ex forces charities all doing essentially the same job. Off the top of my head you've got the RBL, H4H, SSAFA, Army Benevolent Fund, St Dunstans, Combat Stress and BLESMA. I'm sure there are many more that I've not listed here. It strikes me that a lot of the work done by these charities is the common to others and surely therefore there is some duplication of effort and added expense running numerous charities. It is also very confusing for Joe Public who won’t know one charity from the other and may be put off giving to some of the less well known ones like BLESMA and St Dunstans by lack of knowledge.

Is it time therefore that these charities combined their efforts under one recognizable banner?
To be fair, they mostly have different aims. Also, if all of them were to be combined, how would the cash be distributed? Help for Heroes is an unstoppable publicity machine of late, but would it really be fair for their causes to pocket more than the others purely due to their popularity?
Agreed, they do have different specific aims but ultimately they all help and assist ex service personnel and their families. If all the charities combined then they wouldn't have to divvy up the cash between them, the decision would be which veteran/family member/facility would get the money from the central pot.

In no way am I knocking H4H and I think that the work done so far by them if fantastic when I say what I'm about to say, however they are at the moment a very fashionable cause. It is now 'cool and trendy' for celebs, politicians etc to associate themselves with this charity and I think that a lot of younger people feel affinity towards it because it helps people their own age. there is only ever so much charity to go round and I wonder if some of the less well publicised non 'cool' charities suffer. In 15 -20 years time when wars in sandy places may be a distant memory I wonder how many 'celebs' will still be supporting H4H? I just think it might be more sustainable for charities to combine efforts.


Book Reviewer
Combat Stress has been around since 1920 - and I was glad to read in the Army Benevolent Fund's Annual Report that they had donated £150K to C-S in the past year. Which they have done most years.

I know H4H have dished out a quick cheque to SSAFA for £500K in the past three months.

And I know that the RBL also acts as an umbrella organisation for Service charities.

From time to time (quarterly?) they all also get together at a big corroboree called COBSEO.

ABF, BLESMA,SSAFA and Combat Stress are all helping out ex servicemen and women but in different ways.

H4H has caught the imagination of a new generation - and that's fine. They started with a limited aim - to build a swimming pool at Headley Court. Even now, a year down the road and £12M to the good, H4H runs on a shoestring in comparison to the others. No offices in SW1. No Life Presidents in the House of Lords ( but many,many friends there and elsewhere)

It will be interesting to see where they go once the initial goal is done and dusted - and it is a long drawn out business.

( It is also worth remembering that Sunday Times readers had contributed £300K before The Sun had ever heard of H4H.....)


Book Reviewer
Further to my last, you might also want to take a look at this, from October this year :


We are delighted to be able to announce that Help for Heroes has agreed to give Combat Stress, the charity that helps veterans with mental wounds, a grant of £3.5 million

The money, the biggest grant in the history of Combat Stress, will be used to pay for the much needed expansion, modernisation and reorganisation of their specialist treatment centre, Tyrwhitt House in Surrey, in order to accommodate more Veterans including carers and to provide uprated clinical and welfare working space.

Bryn Parry said "This is a difficult subject for many to discuss and particularly hard to fundraise for. H4H were able to do it now and ensure that the centre can get on with their plans immediately and start caring for more of our mentally wounded now rather than wait.

With the increase of tours and the level of mental stress experienced it is vital that we have the facilities to give our boys and girls the best treatment, for their mental wounds as well as their physical."

Toby Elliott for Combat Stress adds:

“I wholeheartedly thank Help for Heroes for this absolutely magnificent donation. It will enable us to rapidly upgrade Tyrwhitt House to deliver 21st century clinical services to those suffering from the wounds inflicted by 21st century warfare, who deserve the very best.”

Link: Combat Stress

Lee Shaver

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