The Royal British Legion team in the South East Midlands has a new area manager.
Mark Collins, a former Royal Air Force Logistics Officer, is the Legion’s South East Midlands Area Manager. He will oversee the delivery of welfare support services – ranging from benefits and money advice to providing immediate needs grants – in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire.
In the last year, the South East Midlands team has provided welfare support to approximately 1,000 members of the Armed Forces community in the region. In Northamptonshire, the team dealt with nearly 150 cases of support.
Mr Collins, said: “As the nation’s leading Armed Forces charity, The Royal British Legion has been helping Service people past and present for over 90 years. We provide £1.6 million every week in direct welfare support – that’s over £83 million each year – and respond to over 170,000 calls annually for practical help, advice and support.
“The local team is dedicated to providing a wide range of flexible support services, from helping a young widow through an inquest to ensuring that an older veteran can stay independent in their own home. Last year, we assisted over 1,000 members of the Armed Forces community in the South East Midlands alone, a figure which is likely to increase as the demand for our services continues to rise.
“We value the enthusiasm and commitment of our local members, who undertake a wide range of volunteer roles and fundraising activities for the Legion, and encourage anyone who is interested to get involved.”
Mark joins the organisation at an exciting time of innovation and progress. Recently it has launched three new ways to reach out to Service personnel, veterans and their families to help provide them with the advice and support they need at any stage of their lives. These are: an improved digital information base at www.britishlegion.org.uk; a new contact centre with trained advisers, which is open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. Calls to this number - 0808 802 8080 - are free from all landlines and most mobile networks.
The Legion also plans to open 16 “Pop in” advice and information centres to be opened on high streets in major towns and cities across the UK in the coming year. The Legion is also introducing new community outreach in areas where there is a need for its services. A number of outreach locations are currently in operation in Northampton, Oxford and Milton Keynes, with more planned in Witney, Wallingford, Banbury and across the area in the coming months.