Royal British Legion Industries Social Impact Report 2017/18

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FRONT COVER: Queen Elizabeth Court resident Peter. This product was printed by a team of armed forces veterans and those with disabilities























B R I TA I N ’ S

B R AV E S T SINC E 1919

Royal British Legion Industries



Royal British Legion Industries



LETTER FROM OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE Welcome to RBLI’s Social Impact Report 2017/18. I am pleased to say that during this year Royal British Legion Industries demonstrated, once again, that it is no ordinary charity; reaching more vulnerable people yet again and improving lives every day. One of the highlights of RBLI’s year was in September when The Secretary of State for Defence came to officially open our brand new one and two bedroom apartments which we purpose built for the most vulnerable veterans. All of us can appreciate that a precarious housing situation can cause deep anxiety, depression and distress. We know this can also stop people searching for and securing work. Similarly we are also aware of the struggles people with disabilities can face in trying to find a properly adapted home. This is why we were delighted to open our new apartments, which in many cases have been individually adapted for disadvantaged and disabled veterans. You can read more about the impact of the new apartments on page 33. During this year our country has seen changes and challenges across the health sector and adult social care. At


RBLI we remain determined that our Village will give older people quality of life and maximum independence for the longest possible time. This is why this year we began the first part of our £8m investment in facilities, services and excellent care for our older residents. It is also why we consolidated our STEP-IN programme, a new approach to ensure that all the health, wellbeing and employability opportunities available on the Village can be maximised by residents whatever their age or situation. You can read more about this exciting model on page 35. At the same time RBLI’s long track record and unrivalled expertise in disability employment has been turning Ministerial heads. Through Access to Work, a government funded programme we are helping 1,000 people every month to stay in work. Our Building Better Opportunities and DWP/ESF outreach programmes have reached an additional 1,200 people, some of the hardest to reach in deprived coastal towns in Kent and Sussex. Our LifeWorks courses for unemployed veterans with their 83% success rate into work or workplace training have also opened doors for RBLI nationwide

and even internationally. I am also extremely proud of our social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. While on a charity scholarship to Harvard it really hit home about the incredible workplace culture we achieve for the veterans and disabled people we support. It is not easy to get the balance right between commercial targets and inclusivity, when over 60% of the workers have a disability, learning difficulty, or health condition and my time in the US showed me how valuable and impressive this is. I was therefore extremely excited that RBLI progressed with our new venture Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Co. towards the end of the financial year. This brand new manufacturing enterprise aims to replicate the unique workplace culture of BBMC and help the most vulnerable veterans in Scotland for decades to come. Developed in partnership with Erskine, a renowned and respected charity in Scotland, so that the veterans can also benefit from holistic support including activities,

independent living, mental health support, nursing care and adapted homes. However our most significant initiative of the year was the launch of our Centenary Village Campaign, which aims to ensure RBLI can support veterans long into the future. We were hugely encouraged when General Sir Gordon Messenger, KCB DSO* OBE ADC, became our Campaign Patron and then again when our ambitious plans to expand the Village over an 1.2 hectare site were granted planning permission. The new state-of-the-art facilities will ensure that RBLI’s Village offers the complete care pathway and can help any veteran, of any age, with any disability for the next century. You can read more about our campaign on pages 32–35. Looking back on the impact of our charity’s work during the last 12 months from Plymouth to Glasgow, via Brunei and Gibraltar, we have helped over 13,000 people turn their lives around. None of this, however, would have been

possible were it not for our partners across national and local Government, the military charity sector, the corporate sector and the philanthropic community of UK Trusts and Foundations who decided to help us support the most disadvantaged veterans, people with disabilities, and long-term unemployed individuals. We are especially conscious and thankful, as we embark on such a major centenary campaign, that our determination to be here for veterans is matched by the determination of our supporters and we are forever grateful for your incredible commitment long may it continue. Yours sincerely





disabled people provided with support to stay in work

7500 1750


residents cared for in Gavin Astor House nursing home



1250 1000 750

veterans helped through our LifeWorks programme

500 250

87p in every £1 is spent on charitable services

£2.5m money received in donations in 2017/18

Preemployment programmes

Aged Veterans’ Support

Skills Programmes

Access to Work & other assessments

Employment support programmes


Work Programme

Veterans’ Housing

Gavin Astor House Nursing Home

Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company

LifeWorks & other veteran employment support


Armed Forces veterans, disabled people and people who are out of work supported during the past year


Visitors a month at Base Camp café


1,000 veterans in Kent reached through our older veterans programme

14,244,697 Total RBLI press reach 2017/18


Increase in RBLI press reach

of surplus from Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company is reinvested in the enterprise


Men, women and children living on our village 6


Community fundraisers in 2017/18

14,563 Hours given by our volunteers during 2017/18

54% women

46% men

Split of our volunteers during 2017/18




Our mission is to improve lives every day. Our heritage means we support Armed Forces veterans and their families, and the families of serving personnel, providing housing, employment and care. However since we were established in 1919, we have expanded, and we now also support people with disabilities and people who are out of work. Our aim is to ensure they have appropriate, sustainable employment and a brighter future.


Our focus as we approach our centenary year in 2019 is to ensure we are ready to support veterans for the next 100 years. We will invest in housing, welfare and care to ensure we provide the help Britain’s Bravest need throughout the 21st century and beyond.

Our social enterprise, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company provides employment and volunteering opportunities to Armed Forces veterans, especially those who are wounded, injured or sick, and disabled people. Find out more about their impact over the last year ion pages 12–15.


Welfare 1 in 10 veterans experience depression, and are more likely to be out of work than their civilian counterparts. Investing in our integrated welfare support with advice on everything from health to benefits, means we will ensure Britain’s Bravest get the help they need.

In our unique village in Kent, we have a wide variety of housing and care for veterans and their families. With everything from veterans’ family housing to a nursing home for older residents, we are able to ensure a stable environment and support individuals to be as independent as possible. All residents can also be supported by our welfare teams via STEP-IN, our integrated health and social care programme.


A distressing lack of single-person accommodation means single veterans are often left homeless. For injured veterans there is also a distinct lack of appropriate housing. Our new developments including apartments and mews-style family housing will ensure they have a home and a more secure future.

Nationally we provide employment support to Armed Forces veterans, helping those who have hit hard times to find work on civvy street. We also provide assessments across England, Scotland and Wales, ensuring people with disabilities and health conditions are able to stay in work. Across Kent and Sussex we also deliver employment support and skills training to disabled people and people who are out of work.




Increasing pressure on dementia and social care provision means quality of life for elderly veterans and disabled people is affected. Refurbishments and developments of our own care facilities will ensure we can play our part in combating the care crisis.


Our latest venture is an additional social enterprise, Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, which will provide employment and volunteering opportunities to Armed Forces veterans. Currently in the development phase, this factory near Glasgow will be up and running in late 2018, providing products and services to companies in the public and private sectors. 9

PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT THROUGH OUR FACTORIES For many years at RBLI we have been helping disabled people or those affected by poor health. Whether they are wounded soldiers or civilians with long-term health conditions, we are passionate about improving and creating opportunities so that every individual has a purpose and a future through employment. Through our social enterprises, Britain’s Bravest and Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Companies, we are providing sustainable employment in a commercially competitive environment. We also deliver extra social value to our customers, enabling them to buy high quality products and services whilst fulfilling their corporate social responsibility objectives.







A DISABILITY CONFIDENT LEADER BRITAIN’S BRAVEST MANUFACTURING COMPANY Our social enterprise, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC), employs around 100 people. Of these, around 70% are either Armed Forces veterans or people with disabilities, or both.

BRITAINSBRAVESTMANUFACTURING.ORG.UK Find out more about our social enterprise

Our team have a range of health conditions, from musculoskeletal injuries, autism and other learning disabilities to post-traumatic stress disorder. These all add to the incredible skillsets which enable us to compete commercially with other organisations. The past year has seen the team involved in some unique projects, including There But Not There (which you can read more about on page 14), manufacturing signs for roads around the country and providing Christmas cheer by wrapping presents and sending out gifts. We couldn’t provide the vital employment we do without our customers who choose to buy from us and give back through their procurement. You can see our wide range of our customers on pages 48–49.

A DISABILITY CONFIDENT LEADER This year we were proud to be considered a disability confident leader after climbing to the third and most prestigious level of a governmental scheme set up in order to help disabled people into sustained and rewarding employment. The scheme is designed to help organisations, businesses and charities recruit and retain people with disabilities and health conditions for their skills and talent.

Pictured above: (Left to right) Steve Hammond, Tirtha Thapa and Tim Brown, three British Army veterans who work in our social enterprise, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company and have worked directly on the There But Not There Project.


Christmas presents wrapped by our Leatherhead fulfilment team


pallets made in our factories per week


of vinyl printed each week to make road, rail & other signs







B R I TA I N ’ S

B R AV E S T SINC E 1919

ANDREW’S STORY Andrew was born with spina bifida and was cared for by Barnado’s until age 16. He worked with Remploy for 25 years before their factory closed. He then spent 5 years unable to find employment before he was put in touch with RBLI’s social enterprise. He has been working as part of the team ever since. Andrew retired in October 2016, but still regularly visits to help out and catch up with his old colleagues!

At my age it’s very important to keep busy... coming here and helping out keeps me and my brain active. Andrew Middleton Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company worker and volunteer





Another key project for our staff in Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company this year is ‘Silent Silhouettes’. Manufactured for our sister charity, The Royal British Legion, the Silent Silhouettes will appear across the country as they commemorate the end of WW1. Our team have utilised their skills gained manufacturing road and rail signs to make the figures, which can be seen across the UK on buildings, roundabouts, in gardens, fields and more.

Follow our BBMC Twitter

THERE BUT NOT THERE Royal British Legion Industries is also proud to support the 2018 Armistice Project, There But Not There, which aims to remember, heal the hidden wounds of ex-service personnel and educate all generations, particularly today’s younger generation, to understand what led to the deaths of 888,246 British and Commonwealth men.The campaign places seated, transparent silhouettes up and down the country in order to take names written off memorial walls and put them back into communities’ psyches. The team in Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company is producing and dispatching smaller model ‘Tommies’ which the public have been able to purchase in order to honour the fallen in their own homes. Trading income generated from this manufacturing project enables us to provide more employment and employment support for veterans.

All profits made from the sale of the models go directly to a group of mental health and Armed Forces charities: Help For Heroes, The Royal Foundation, Heads Together, Combat Stress, Walking With The Wounded, The Commonwealth War Grave Foundation and Project Equinox.

NETWORK RAIL In July 2017, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company successfully tendered for a multi-million pound contract with Network Rail - the UK’s largest railway owner. The contract has seen BBMC become the sole provider of line-side signage, the veterans produce signage installed across the country. 14

Top photo: We are proud to be manufacturing the Silent Silhouettes for the Royal British Legion, our sister charity, as part of their WW1 commemoration campaign. Bottom photo: Tommy figurine manufactured for the There But Not There campaign

100k 3,360 193

Tommies produced to date for There But Not There hours of work created for veterans & disabled people through this project volunteers who have supported this project

PURNA’S STORY Purna Gurung grew up with the sole ambition of joining the Armed Forces. After enlisting and undertaking initial training, he was selected for the First Gurkha Rifles. But, having achieved his childhood dream, it was his 2009 deployment to Afghanistan which would change his life.“The fragments were all over my body – the most harmed were my hands and my eyes.” Facing a directionless life in the civilian world, Purna’s personal recovery unit helped him source a job in Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company’s signs department. Here, he is surrounded by fellow veterans – many of whom face similar challenges due to disabilities.“If I happened to go out and source a job it may be a bit difficult for me, it may be difficult because of my injuries. But here, it fits for me.”


GIVING SCOTTISH VETERANS A LIFELINE SCOTLAND’S BRAVEST MANUFACTURING COMPANY Due to the phenomenal success of Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company factory in England, we saw the need to help veterans in Scotland. We know that there are many Armed Forces veterans in Scotland, as well as areas of high unemployment, so this factory will aim for 100% of its manufacturing staff to have an Armed Forces background.

SCOTLANDSBRAVEST.ORG.UK Find out more about our social enterprise in Scotland

We are delighted to be working on this project with a fellow military charity, Erskine, who are delighted to have the factory on their established village in Renfrewshire, near Glasgow. This means that together we can provide housing, support, employment and training that Scottish veterans need. Over the next 5 years we aim to support nearly 300 individuals, and we will be commercially competitive. £150,000 of investment in high quality, high-tech machinery in the next year will ensure we can help veterans gain the experience they need for careers in manufacturing in civvy street, and can create the high-quality products our customers want.

ANDY’S STORY After a commendable military career which saw him serve in both the Queen’s regiment and the Royal Navy Submarine Service for a total of almost 16 years, incoming SBMC employee Andy Baird found himself struggling after being diagnosed with PTSD.


to be invested in machinery over the next year


of manufacturing staff to be ex-service


individuals to be supported via SBMC over the next 5 years

“I left the forces in 1994 because the symptoms had begun to set in and although I didn’t realise at the time I had become very sensitive to the level of violence around me.” Over the next 11 years, Andy’s PTSD deteriorated and the challenges he faced as a result were having more and more of an effect on his life. However, after receiving help from Combat Stress that same year, Andy has now secured employment as an administrator at Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company and has also been provided with housing on Erskine’s village in which the factory is based. “It is good to work with fellow veterans, but it is also highly beneficial to work with civilians who are passionate about getting veterans back into work. It is also going from the feeling of worthlessness to having a sense of purpose. It has been a turning point for me.

“SMBC is a big hope for many veterans and they will feel in many cases this is their last hope.”

Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company offers flexible employment opportunities which furnish veterans with the confidence in their own abilities that they might be lacking and the skills that future employers will be looking for. And beyond that SBMC will work with veterans to secure meaningful jobs at the end of their spell at Bishopton Graeme Dey MSP Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans - The Scottish Government



EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT, SKILLS & TRAINING We know that for most people, the right work can vastly improve wellbeing and independence. Work doesn’t just mean paid employment, it can mean volunteering, learning and more. That’s why we work to support people with disabilties, people who are longterm unemployed or struggling to stay in work, and Armed Forces veterans to gain the tools and skills they need to find the work they want.







DISABILITY AND HEALTH EMPLOYMENT PROVIDER OF THE YEAR In June 2017, we were delighted to be awarded the Disability and Health Employment Provider of the Year Award at the Employment Related Services Association Employability Awards. The award recognises an employment services provider who has demonstrated exceptional commitment in supporting jobseekers with limiting disabilities and health conditions to achieve sustained employment.

RBLI.CO.UK/EMPLOYMENT Find our more about how we support people

EMPLOYMENT AND SKILLS Our employment and skills team work in RBLI Hubs & centres across Kent and Sussex helping longterm unemployed people and disabled people to find work or improve their job prospects. Find out more about these projects, including our current delivery partners, in the boxes on the opposite page. Together, these teams have helped a total of 3,561 people over the last year!


Disability & Health Employment Provider of the year


people we helped to find a job or stay in employment this year

We also have a team working across the UK to help disabled people stay in work. As a major deliverer of the government’s Access to Work programme, it is their job to ensure people with disabilities can undertake their jobs without disadvantage. You can read more about our Access to Work support on page 22.


people supported this year via our back-to-work & skills programmes

It’s truly inspiring to hear stories about the excellent work that businesses are doing to help people get into, and stay in employment . This would not be possible without the tireless efforts of frontline staff who make such a difference to people’s lives every single day. Congratulations to all this year’s winners. The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work (2016-2017)





Delivered with Reed in Partnership to support unemployed people to find and sustain employment*

A Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme to support disabled people into work or training*


Providing skills support to unemployed individuals facing skills barrier to entering the labour market*




A Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme for people who have been unable to sustain work and ex-offenders*

A Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme for those who are furthest from the job market*

Supporting through skills and learning in order to equip adults for work, build their confidence and enhance their wellbeing


Providing information, advice and guidance to help people make decisions on learning, training and work


Delivered for DWP to help long-term unemployed people into work

*All BBO programmes are funded by the Big Lottery Fund and ESF. Work Routes and Skills support are also part-funded by ESF. 21

ACCESS TO WORK RBLI have been delivering Access to Work since 2008, helping disabled people across England to stay in work. However, June 2017, saw us secure a national £6 million pound contract from the Department of Work and Pensions, to deliver a scheme which will support people with disabilities in the workplace across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales.

WWW.RBLI.CO.UK/EMPLOYMENT/MYWORK-AND-TRAINING#INWORK Find out more about how we support people

Under the new Access to Work programme we provide specialised assessments for people with physical disabilities to help them sustain their employment. Our holistic assessors are trained in a wide variety of specialisms including of physiotherapy, ergonomics or occupational psychology, enabling them to provide high-quality advice and recommendations to really make a difference to the lives of people with disabilities at work.








Types of disabilities and health conditions experienced by individuals we support via Access to Work:

40+39+138A Visual impairment

Hearing impairment

Ergonomics e.g. musculoskeletal

43,959 7,000 5 year

Access to Work assessments provided to date by RBLI disabled people provided with support to stay in work this year nationwide contract across England, Scotland and Wales

Specific learning difficulties

I came to RBLI and managed to change my life completely. If I’d stayed in Essex I’d definitely be back in prison.

Darren, supported via Work Routes


ZOE’S STORY Facing challenges due being a single parent, having a criminal record, and battling depression, Zoe came to RBLI’s Employment Solutions team in desperate need of defining new career goals and a new sense of confidence.

Although feeling as though she did not have a bright future, Zoe sat down with an RBLI Work Routes employment advisor, Jill, who spoke to her about her hobbies and interests so together they could find Zoe not just employment, but employment she enjoyed. After just a brief period of volunteering to gain some experience within a new sector, she started work shortly after at a boarding kennel – an ideal occupation for someone with such a love of animals like Zoe. “This has impacted my life greatly,” she said. “Having previously had depression, I was not looking forward to the future but with my new role and more confidence, and am now looking forward to up. “I feel more confident when picking my kids up from school and am no longer lost for answer when asked what I do for work.”

Jill said: “I think this really shows that support can make - it shows that gaining the right job can have an improved change in health.” 23



For more than seven years, our LifeWorks programme has been helping vulnerable unemployed veterans towards sustainable employment. We are very proud that this year we reached an incredible milestone – 1,000 veterans have now been supported through the programme.

Find out more about our LifeWorks courses

Every one of these veterans has their own story of struggles in civvy street, and every veteran requires personalised support from our team. The team travel across the UK, from Newcastle to Bristol, providing advice, guidance and support to help veterans from all three services establish clear career goals and move forward with them. The LifeWorks programme involves an intensive course delivered over a week, followed by 12 months of remote support available over phone and email to all participants. This unique combination, which includes an in-depth vocational assessment and coaching to better cope with change, leads directly to the incredible positive change we see in veterans over the course of just one week - and why 83% of those who attend move into employment, volunteering or training for their chosen career within the 12 months.

1,000+ 226 30

veterans supported since LifeWorks began veterans supported via LifeWorks this year courses delivered in the financial year 17/18


How would I describe the course? Life-changing. If you’re a veteran and you’re lost, come on the course – it will turn you around.

Ray, ex-British Army Attended a LifeWorks course


Lost, without direction, and having moved from one job to another, Ray, who had previously served in the British Army, attended one of RBLI’s LifeWorks courses when he was at one of his lowest points. “I had no focus – I was constantly in and of work,” he says. “But I found a career advisor online – he said I was perfect for LifeWorks.” Ray admits he was worried attending the course but found the courage to attend, claiming it was the best decision he could have made. “It’s definitely made a difference to me. The LifeWorks trainers have hit the nail on the head... They made me realise that I am not just an ex-squaddie, who bounced around not achieving anything...They made me realise that after the Army, I actually achieved a lot of life and leadership skills. It’s given me the ability to completely change the way I look at myself.” “Now I can see something and actually believe I can do it... How would I describe the course? Lifechanging. If you’re a veteran and you’re lost, come on the course – it will turn you around.” Following the course, Ray received more advice from the LifeWorks team about moving into the security industry, and was successful in gaining employment as an area manager at a national security company. 25

LIFEWORKS FAMILIES It is often forgotten just how affected the families of serving personnel are when taking part in the throes of military life. Frequent relocation can have a significant impact on employment prospects, which in turn can negatively impact the finances, social life and, ultimately, the self-esteem of military families.

WEARELIFEWORKS.ORG.UK/FAMILIES Find our more about our LifeWorks Families courses

That’s why we also support the spouses and partners - and more recently the dependents - of current service personnel in the form of our LifeWorks Families programme. LifeWorks Families is providing crucial free-to-access employment support including CV writing, job searching and interview techniques to help military families combat the barriers caused by frequent relocation which can have a tremendous impact both financially and socially. The team have delivered courses and drop-in support sessions across the UK, and even abroad in Germany, Belgium, Cyprus Brunei and most recently Gibraltar. However, after recognising the need for instant remote access to support for military spouses, the programme has this year moved onto the web. LifeWorks Families Online has seen us provide guidance to spouses and partners of service personnel further across the world – from Canada to Kenya. LifeWorks Families Online is designed specifically tackle to these issues by providing free access to information to help them develop a unique CV and build upon some of the skills spouses actually develop as a result of being involved in the military community. Within just a week of the programme being up and running, we had an overwhelming number of military spouses use the online service to find information on how to better their employment prospects. It is clear already that there is an immense demand for LifeWorks Families Online and we believe that as we further develop families of service personnel across the UK – and those based abroad – we can help them tackle the challenges they face.


vocational assessments provided since 2013


sign-ups for the online courses from all over the world (Gibraltar, Kenya USA and the Falkland Islands)


military spouses and partners supported in the last year

Cannot highly recommend the course enough, to any spouse moving around or looking for a positive change.

Loretta, British Army spouse based in Germany


SUZE’S STORY Military spouse Suze had been out of the work market for 5 years after having a son – she readily admits that she was incredibly nervous when thinking about going to job interviews and when considering how she would go about reapplying herself. However, Suze attended one of our LifeWorks Families courses in the south of England which, she says, is the best thing she could have done because of the encouraging atmosphere and having walked away with a positive outlook on the next steps she needed to take. Within just one week of completing LifeWorks Families, Suze secured employment. “It’s a great company… the salary is better than I ever dreamed of, and it fits in with school hours.”


OUR VILLAGE – HOUSING AND CARE We’ve been providing care and housing to Armed Forces veterans on our village since we were established in 1919. Today almost 100 years later, high-quality care, welfare and homes are still a priority for our charity. Read on to hear about our exciting village expansion and how we have made a difference over the past year.















On our unique village in Kent, we are proud to provide a home to hundreds of veterans and their families in need. Over 300 men, women and children live on our village, supported by our incredible living and welfare teams.

Find out more about our housing and care facilities

The Centenary Village development enables RBLI to help more veterans like John. After 12 years of Army service, John was in an horrific accident resulting in a severe head injury. He was unconscious for two weeks before undergoing intense rehabilitation at Headley Court. It was when he was ready to return to work that he came to RBLI looking for work as a horticulturist. We supported him to enlist in a horticultural apprenticeship and he now has paid work and a stable home in one of RBLI’s new apartments.

Family Housing Apartments and houses for veterans and their families

We are currently at a very exciting time as we expand and develop the village in order to increase the number of homes we can offer, as well as improve the welfare and wrap-around support we can offer. You can read more about the welfare programme, STEP-IN, on page 37.

Mountbatten Pavilion Our emergency accommodation for veterans in need

Victory and Invictus Houses Specially adapted apartments for wounded and injured veterans Queen Elizabeth Court A vibrant assisted living scheme for veterans and their dependents aged 55+


60 50














40 51

Number of residents


0 0-20





Resident ages 30


Age unknown

My studies have allowed me to develop further and I have regained my confidence... I also get to look out my window every morning and feel a sense of achievement. John, Army Veteran



THE CENTENARY VILLAGE The Centenary Village project is a major £22m two-phase expansion of our thriving Village facilities and services enabling us to support 100 more veterans a year for the next 100 years. The need is real and urgent. For many leaving the Armed Forces, renting in the private sector can be a new and challenging experience. Single men, in particular, can struggle to access social housing and many end up sofa-surfing. They can then find it impossible to secure employment without a fixed address, experience money issues and often relationship breakdown. Veterans with disabilities or long-term health conditions also urgently need support to help them manage newly gained conditions/injuries and help to cope with the life changes associated with such conditions. We also want to meet the needs of our older beneficiaries, especially those affected by dementia.

PHASE ONE - SPECIALLY ADAPTED APARTMENTS Last year we began the Centenary Village expansion with Phase One, which saw us develop 24 specially adapted apartments for wounded veterans. The apartments were designed by Clague Architects especially with injured veterans in mind, and thanks to generous funding we were able to add features such as moveable kitchen cabinets and disabilityfriendly wet-rooms. The apartments surround a beautiful RHS Chelsea gold medal winning garden which provides a quiet reflection space for our resident veterans. We were proud to have an official opening of the new homes by the Secretary of State for Defence (see right) on 14 September 2017, also attended by local MP and Minister for Sports and Civil Society Tracey Crouch MP, funders, and others involved in the project. Thank you to all those funders of Phase One, including the Chancellor using Libor funds, ABF the Soldiers’ Charity, the Chelsea Barracks Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Morrisons Foundation. This past June saw the 24 apartments awarded in the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA), receiving the Construction Project of The Year award. We are immensley proud to say that this was awarded in recognition, not just for the phenomenal design and construction work, but also for the crucial difference the homes will make to the lives of veterans and their families who live there.

WWW.RBLI.CO.UK/HOUSING-ANDCARE#VETERANS-HOUSING Read more about our veteran housing

Pictured: Secretary of State for Defence speaking at the opening of our new apartments. The apartments were awarded Construction Project of The Year at the annual Kent Excellence in Business Awards for 2018.

24 324 70

specially adapted apartments opened in 2017 ex-service families provided with homes on our village acre site in Kent is home to housing and community areas

I have seen first-hand the exceptional work that RBLI is doing to support our veterans towards independent successful lives. I saw immediately the national significance of the planned Centenary Village development which is building a large and supportive community. With expert care on hand, unrivalled employability services, and adapted homes for those in need, this is precisely the kind of community that can give our veterans a truly fresh start.

General Sir Gordon Messenger KCB DSO* OBE ADC 32




Phase Two of the Centenary Village is now in the development process, with planning permission approved. The development which will be completed in 2019 for our centenary year will include:



Our amazing welfare team are helping veterans and other residents to overcome barriers every day. Whether someone has hit rock bottom due to relationship breakdown, homelessness or unemployment, on our village we don’t just provide a home, we provide wrap-around welfare support to ensure people can move forward. The team also run actvities and trips around the year, including at our community hub and cafe, Base Camp, so residents can enjoy a feeling of community spirit!

See our STEP-IN model below:

Assisted Living Scheme

Community Centre

To extend our care and support services by a further 24 units to meet the needs of vulnerable residents.

Family Homes A mix of town and mews style housing, to ensure service families have a stable home.

Apartments An additional 24 new apartments, fully accessible in order to house single veterans in urgent need.

A Community Centre will sit at the heart of the Village. Here veterans and their families will have access to range of services, welfare support and training, tackling isolation through social engagement and promoting independence.

STEP-IN MODEL The Centenary Village is not just a capital development, we are also improving our welfare services via our integrated health and social care model STEP-IN. This programme identifies multiple challenges that can be tackled at once, consolidates individual goals, and puts holistic support in place. Through STEP IN we ensure everyone can be supported to achieve their goals, whether this is reducing social isolation, improving their health and mobility, developing new skills, finding work or living more independently. You can see a breakdown of our STEP-IN model on the right.


Immediate and tailored support


Formal and informal, new skills, volunteering, and employment


Initial and regular assessment of progress


A bespoke approach for every individual


Greater independence no matter how small

Next Steps

From moving off the village to more support


Architects aerial view plans for the Centenary Village development 34

We were proud to name the new road leading to the apartments in honour of our late trustee, Richard Corben. Richard served on the RBLI trustee board for over 30 years and was incredibly supportive of RBLI’s work. Pictured is Richard’s wife Rosemary who attended the opening of the apartments to see the new sign in situ. 35

CARING FOR THE FUTURE Research in Kent estimated that 21,000 people over the age of 65 in the county were predicted to have dementia in 2015, and this figure is said to rise to an incredible 25,000 by 2020.1 Additionally, the number of people aged over 85 was predicted to double from 2015 to 2038.2 We are facing a rising care crisis, and with our heritage in providing care to veterans and older people, we are looking for more ways to develop and expand to provide the care our country needs for the future.


RBLI.CO.UK/HOUSING-AND-CARE Find out more about our housing and care

All of our staff who care for older people on our village are receiving year-long university standard care training. Thank you to Dementia Care Matters for delivering our training and to the Aged Veterans Fund, funded by the Chancellor using Libor funds, which has enabled us to provide this incredible training. The programme means we can also train two additional nurses who will then become ambassadors of the programme following its completion. This will enable all future carers and nurses at RBLI to support residents with the highest quality, appropriate care.


residents cared for in Gavin Astor House this year


nurses to undertake specialised dementia training


Belinda Watson, RBLI General Manager, Gavin Astor House Nursing Home

2. National Population Projections for the UK, 2014-based, Office for National Statistics, 2015.


Find out more about our housing and care




of RBLI residents have dementia or struggle with dementia like symptoms




In addition we are in the process of planning to develop a day-care centre which will offer a programme of activities promoting wellbeing through social and health-related services. new bed intermediate care suites to be created



As part of our plans to further expand our care accommodation and services, this year has seen construction begin on new 15-bed intermediate care suites. The large care suites mean we can provide even more people with the long-term support and care they need enabling independent living alongside flexible, tailored round-the-clock nursing care.


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The Dementia Matters Training programme will enable our carers to develop a comprehensive understanding of the condition, resulting in a better quality of life for those who are suffering with it.

1. Dementia Report, Kent Public Health Observatory, 2015.


We were very proud that this year, Gavin Astor was rated ‘good’ in all categories of care in its inspection by the Care Quality Commission. This demonstrates the excellent work done by our teams in caring for vulnerable and elderly residents.

TOMORROW’S CARERS We want to ensure we are prepared to support society as more older people come to need care over the next 25 years. Being able to provide the right care is vital, not only do we need to be able to deal with the disabilities and health conditions of tomorrow, we need to be able to support those affected so that they live with dignity. We have chosen to provide specialised dementia training to our 120-strong nursing workforce – investing in them and the future of care in Kent.

Our current nursing home, Gavin Astor House will also be undergoing a refurbishment in the coming year, ensuring its facilities are in-line with our new developments.

My mother is very happy and nothing is too much for the excellent staff who show kindness and respect. There is a wonderful activities/entertainment programme which residents can join in with, and plenty of help is on hand should they need it. Resident’s daughter, Gavin Astor House




For almost 100 years RBLI has shown that integration with the community is key to helping veterans and their families combat the issues of isolation and adjustment into civilian life. In 2015 we opened Base Camp, our community hub and café on the village. This has brought the community together, and in the past year we have expanded this community asset to include The Summit, a play area for local children.

Find out more about our village

The Summit has a military theme with large poppies on display and has seen hundreds of children using it since it was opened in August 2017. The project was made possible thanks to the support of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, Tesco Bags of Help, Aylesford Parish Council, Golding Homes and Base Camp customers. Recently appointed Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch, who opened Base Camp in 2015, brought her 18-month-old son Freddie to enjoy the village’s latest attraction. She said: “This is a fantastic investment into the local community and it is wonderful to see children a key part of RBLI village life. With Base Camp café located next door this is an ideal location for parents to bring their children to play and be able to enjoy a coffee themselves”.


monthly visitors in Base Camp community hub and café

GEORGE’S STORY During service, former Royal Marine, George Bradford visited all four corners of the world. From China to Northern Ireland, George’s military career, which spanned almost 30 years, is one of immense dedication and commitment. However George, who moved into our independent living accommodation Queen Elizabeth Court in February 2016, now dedicates his time to the next generation.

This is an ideal location for parents to bring their children to play and be able to enjoy a coffee themselves

Tracey Crouch, Minister for Sport and Civil Society


“I’m much happier now at QEC, because my daughter knows that I’m safe. That’s the most important thing to her. “She could have just spoken to me, got the reply, I could’ve fallen and could have lay there for a long time – that could not happen here, because there are always people here to offer help if needs be.” Since joining the RBLI village, George has spent his time volunteering with local schools, who visit QEC as part of school projects. Aylesford Secondary School developed an AQA-certified programme, lasting 8 weeks, in partnership with QEC which encouraged pupils to focus on three aspects: emotional wellbeing, enjoyable reading and integration between young and older generations. It is George’s commitment to volunteering which earned him RBLI’s Volunteer of the Year award 2018. 39

OUR AMAZING SUPPORTERS Since we began fundraising and developed our volunteering programme, we are extremely lucky to have had tremendous support to help us improve the lives of Britain’s Bravest. From skydiving and running to bake sales, the funds raised from the efforts of our supporters mean we can continue to expand and provide support to those who need it most. Our incredible volunteers also mean our services can be delivered to more people locally and funds can be focused on key developments.











Heart-felt tears were fought back in June as Belgium’s iconic Menin Gate in Ypres welcomed what was arguably our charity’s most significant mass participation event in our almost 100 yearlong history.

Take a look at our upcoming fundraising events

Raising more than £20,000 for our charity, RBLI’s Centenary Ride saw a 30-strong group made up of both our charity’s staff and our beloved supporters cycle more than 150 miles into mainland Europe to lay wreaths in recognition of those who make the ultimate sacrifice - past and present - at the renowned World War One memorial. The cycle’s start coincided with a significant milestone for former Welsh Guard Steve who, 36 years earlier, was aboard the landing ship RFA Sir Galahad when it was attacked by Argentine war planes during the Falklands War, killing 48. The 61-year-old found himself deeply depressed, in need of an operation and considering suicide before finding help from RBLI who organised his operation, provided him with accommodation on our Aylesford village, and employed him in Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. The father of two said: “Despite facing lifechanging challenges, injured ex-servicemen and women still have the drive to go on to achieve amazing things. “On a personal note, without the help of RBLI, I don’t know where I would be right now. So to take on a challenge such as the Centenary Ride to help raise money for us – particularly on the anniversary of the event which led to me receiving their support – it is a great privilege.”

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ANIL REACHES THE HIGHEST PEAK raised from the Centenary Cycle Ride

miles ridden by our supoorters fantastic supporters taking part in the ride

Despite facing life-changing challenges, injured ex-servicemen and women still have the drive to go on to achieve amazing things

Steve, injured Falkland veteran who now leads a team at BBMC


Veterans, even when faced with challenges as a result of physical or mental disabilities, can all achieve phenomenal things when presented with the opportunity. One such example is Anil Gurung, who received a hero’s welcome on his return to his work station in our social enterprise Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company after battling altitude sickness to reach Everest Base Camp in November. The former Gurkha, who lost his right leg after he stepped on an IED during a tour of Afghanistan in 2009, reached the dizzying height of 17,6000 feet alongside 18 other climbers to raise money for his fellow servicemen and women at RBLI.

What kept me battling, was knowing that the money I was raising is going to help veterans like me. Anil, former Gurkha now a sign maker at BBMC

To many, this is a crazy feat of endurance taken on by only the bravest of individuals. However, to Anil, there was only one thing he had in mind: “What kept me battling,” he said, “was knowing that the money I was raising is going to help veterans like me who may struggle to find employment without the help of RBLI.” 43



Our volunteering programme continues to go from strength to strength, with hundreds of amazing supporters now helping us every month. Whether they are providing befriending support to some of our vulnerable or elderly residents, raising awareness of key projects, or supporting our finance team, their work makes a huge difference. Every hour of volunteering means more support is provided to Britain’s Bravest.

Find out more about our volunteering opportunties


MOLLY’S STORY Molly, who will be joining Royal Navy in September 2018, first joined our volunteer team in April 2017. She supports our staff members in our independent-living accommodation Queen Elizabeth Courth and volunteers to help our residents with activities to reduce social isolation. “I know it’s nice for them to have someone to talk to,“ says Molly. “There are residents on the village, who don’t always have someone to speak to, so just to spend time with them is really worthwhile.“ Volunteering has also benefited Molly herself – before joining RBLI, she faced challenges due to lack of confidence, finding it difficult to talk to people. “I have become more confident... I have really come out of my shell.“

14,060 40% 200

hours volunteered in 2017/18 of our volunteers join to improve their future chances of employment hours of support provided by Molly

The change in Molly has been phenomenal – she undertakes every task with enthusiasm and her bubbly nature is infectious. Andrew, RBLI Volunteer Manager







By remembering RBLI in your Will, your legacy will transform the lives of veterans and give them the second chance they so desperately deserve – now and for many years to come.

RBLI.CO.UK/LEGACIES Find out more about how to legacies help us improve lives of those in need

Legacies are so vitally important for our charity as they help us improve the lives of veterans every day.

Our supporters have helped us achieve great things, and made a real difference to the lives of thousands of veterans. “I would recommend RBLI’s nursing home in the knowledge that my mother could receive no better care. She is very happy and nothing is too much for the excellent staff who always show kindness and respect. Families are always welcome and help is always on hand. Thank you.” - Jane, Daughter of RBLI resident. Would you consider a gift that costs you nothing today but helps our nation’s veterans when they desperately need it? Your legacy can be life changing – giving security, independence and support. When the time is right for you, please remember RBLI in your Will.

WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU If you have already remembered RBLI in your Will, or intend to in the future, we’d love to hear from you. Not only will this help us make plans for the future of RBLI, but, more importantly, it means that we can thank you properly for your support. Anything you tell us will be confidential.


Photo credit: Andy Bate, BLESMA

Every donation could help a veteran through our life-changing LifeWorks course, support a sign maker in employment through our social enterprise or play a part in ensuring a fully adapted-home is available when they need it. You legacy will have a long-term impact, as we give veterans and disabled people the tools to transform their own lives, meaning they have a better, brighter and most importantly, more sustainable, independent future.

Alex’s story Alex Stringer, who sustained life-changing injuries after stepping on an IED during a tour of Afghanistan in 2013 at just aged 22, moved into Victory House after his marriage began to break down in 2016. The triple amputee, who served in the Royal Logistic Corps, said the opportunity has provided him with a fresh start and he now has a new-found sense of independence.

THE ULTIMATE GIFT Remember, the young men and women who serve our country today are the veterans of the future. With your help we can make sure that RBLI is here for them in their time of need. For more information and advice, please contact us on 01622 795961 or

In this year, the 100 year anniversary of the end of the First World War, RBLI is remembering those who served and supported in the Great War and in all subsequent conflicts with a unique project; the Wall of Honour. In 2014 we opened our new and improved memorial garden, the Garden of Honour, thank you to the hard work and fundraising of the Friends of RBLI. The Wall of Honour will be erected in the garden and gives the public a unique opportunity to have the name of a family member, friend or loved one, engraved onto a commemorative plaque. Donations raised from this project are going directly to help us support veterans in need with housing and employment opportunities.

RBLI.CO.UK/WALLOFHONOUR Find out more about our unique project The Wall of Honour

PRIVATE BUSHFORD’S STORY Private Albert Bushford, of Newmarket, gave his life serving in World War One. On the very first day of the battle of Cambrai in France, 1917, a bullet entered the tank he was driving, killing him aged just 21. He was laid to rest by nearby farmers on their land, only for his impromptu grave to be destroyed by shellfire sometime later during the war. Until now there has been no physical memorial for Albert in the UK - nothing for family and friends to remember the sacrifice he made for his country. This year that will change, as he will now be commemorated through our Wall of Honour campaign!

To be part of the Wall of Honour visit or contact or call 01622 795966.

It’s vital that we keep these sorts of stories alive. I think it’s important that it never gets forgotten, although its 100 years since the end of the First World War, there are still people alive who are deeply affected by it. Wendy Brimicombe Niece of Private Albert Bushford 47


Customers of our social enterprises

Thank you to the many organisations who have worked with us throughout 2017/18 Military organisations and charity partners


National and local government

Funders and other supporters


Employment support delivery partners The Chancellor using Libor Funds



Contact us

Keep in touch

RBLI Head office

Royal British Legion Industries

Royal British Legion Industries

Hall Road




Kent ME20 7NL

Royal British Legion Industries

Tel 01622 795900 Email

Registered charity number 210063 50