Ministry of Defence halts funding for armed forces charity helpline

Gareth Thomas, the shadow civil society minister, condemns 'disgraceful decision' on ForcesLine, operated by the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help

Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas, the shadow civil society minister, has described as "disgraceful" a Ministry of Defence decision to withdraw £330,000 of funding for a charity helpline, which has resulted in nine job losses.

The MoD had awarded the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help a contract to operate the Forcesline service for 14 years. It gives free, confidential advice to past and current members of the armed forces.

The MoD wrote to the charity in August saying the contract would finish at the end of September. It did not make a public announcement.

"This is a disgraceful decision, taken in the most abrupt and least transparent way imaginable," said Thomas. "The lack of notice suggests a wanton disregard for those servicemen and women and their families for whom this support line was a vital and much-needed service."

Thomas added the decision was "another sign that charities and other vital community service organisations are seeing their funding rolled back with little thought for the consequences".

SSAFA is using its own funds to maintain the helpline on reduced hours. A spokesman said it was disappointed by the MoD’s decision.

A MoD spokeswoman said: "Unfortunately, the number of calls to the line is declining and, to ensure value for money, the £330,000-a-year contract is not due to be renewed."

She said the MoD’s welfare support lines would continue to provide a support network for those who required it.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

Forthcoming Events

CHASE 2016

  • Tue 16 Feb 2016 - Wed 17 Feb 2016
  • Business Design Centre, London, N1 0QH

Fundraising Week 2016

  • Tue 19 Apr 2016 - Thu 21 Apr 2016
  • London, South Bank
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

In the media spotlight - How would your charity react to a major crisis?

In this article, Robin Swinbank, a crisis management specialist from communications consultancy The Counsel House, explains the skills a chief executive will need to call on in a crisis

mydonate

Expert Hub

Fundraising advice from BT MyDonate

Five low cost tips for creating compelling video content that thrives

No matter what size your budget, there are some simple tips that can help keep costs down