Sir Roger used the opportunity to discuss with Sandra Fruish the changing face of Armed Forces welfare provision in the local community, and to understand more about the most pressing issues facing our Armed Forces.
The Legionís recent household survey of the ex-Service community has revealed that veterans are more likely than other citizens to be unemployed; to report hearing difficulties; to have higher rates of alcohol dependency; or to experience back pain and limb problems. A small but significant minority of the working age community are also struggling financially. The Legion is helping to meet this need through a range of services, including an independent money and benefits advice service, an online training and employment resource, and a network of care homes and break centres. It also recently recommended a series of policies in its 2015 Manifesto publication, many of which directly address the above issues.
Sandra Fruish, the Legionís Area Manager for the South East, said ďIt was great to see Sir Roger; we really appreciated him taking the time to drop in. As a result of the publicís ongoing support and generosity, The Royal British Legion was able to answer more than 200,000 calls for help last year from the Armed Forces community. Most people donít realise the extent of our direct welfare support for Serving and ex-Service personnel and their families, nor the research and campaigning that we do on their behalf, so we were delighted to tell Sir Roger about the range of things that we do to help these people live onĒ.
Sir Roger Gale MP said, ďI was really pleased to meet my local Royal British Legion Area Manager. Sandra made it clear that the Legionís work extends well beyond the Remembrance period. Providing assistance to members and former members of the Armed Forces who have been injured, or who need help in other ways, as well as their families, is a 365-day-a-year job. As a nation, it is vital that we honour the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, and Iím proud to support the work of The Royal British Legion.
ďIn this Centenary year of the outbreak of World War One, which of course gave birth to the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance and hope, I was reminded that the work of the Legion remains as important as ever for our Armed Forces community; whether thatís honouring the memory of the fallen or building a better future for the livingĒ.