More than a charity: Why it's an exciting time to join the RBLI

Third Sector Promotion RBLI

Emma Nugent, programme lead for fundraising, explains what it's like to work for the RBLI.

Emma Nugent, programme lead for fundraising, RBLI
Emma Nugent, programme lead for fundraising, RBLI

Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) is a national charity based in Kent, supporting the armed forces community and those affected by disability, health conditions or social welfare needs. 

More than just a charity, RBLI is one of the largest social enterprises in the UK, with a thriving commercial operation employing over 100 people.

RBLI is currently looking for proactive and pragmatic fundraising professionals to join the team as it grows momentum leading up to its centenary year in 2019 and beyond. We spoke to Emma Nugent, programme lead for fundraising, about why it’s an exciting time to join the team.

Tell us about the Royal British Legion Industries and the work you do

Royal British Legion Industries has been supporting veterans since 1919, and we have had a committed and consistent focus on helping our ex-Forces back to work, especially those with injuries and disabilities. 

We are separate from The Royal British Legion because we use our employability expertise to help people beyond the military community. In fact, every year, we support well over 5,000 people who are overcoming barriers to employment, or supporting people with disabilities to stay in work. 

What sets you apart from other organisations in the third sector? 

We are not just a charity, we are also a social enterprise factory called Britain's Bravest Manufacturing Company. We are one of the largest social enterprises in the whole of the UK. We have a thriving commercial operation employing over 100 people, making wood products, road and rail signage, print and mail. 

We employ veterans as well as people with disabilities and learning difficulties in the factory, and there is a wonderful feeling of team support and team achievement which is palpable when you’re there.

What roles are you currently recruiting for and what do they involve?

We’re recruiting for a corporate fundraising manager which is really a new business role. We’re looking for someone who is adept at spotting new opportunities and enjoys establishing new relationships to make things happen. In the UK, over 600 companies have signed the Armed Forces Covenant but these companies still need help, ideas, and proposals from charities to help them make this commitment real and tangible to their employees and customers.

We’re recruiting for a trust fundraising manager and looking for someone who wants to lead on this function – taking projects forward internally as well as approaching funders. There is such a wide range of activity including capital developments, employability projects, social enterprise, and tech innovations, that the role is incredibly varied and interesting.
We are also recruiting for a community fundraising manager to run our community and events programme. We have our own campaign ‘Be Brave with Me’ which is supported by olympians and paralympians. We like to offer supporters challenge events and sporting events in keeping with the campaign but it’s a very new programme so we’re completely open to new ideas too.

Why would someone want to work for the RBLI?

I think the RBLI is a practical and ‘can do’ place to work. It’s business-like. It’s achieved the rare combination of being both compassionate and dynamic. I think this is because from the very beginning it has always been a busy and noisy manufacturing site, as well as a supportive village for recuperation, health care and reintegration. It’s a great place to work if you are proactive and pragmatic. 

It’s also a great place to work if you are passionate about supporting veterans, or committed to disability employment, or just believe in giving people second chances. At RBLI we believe that people who have been out of work for decades, whose confidence is at rock bottom, can be re-connected with their skills and motivations with a genuinely person-centred approach.

What exciting projects are you working on?

It is a particularly exciting time because the charity is moving fast and already ahead against strategic milestones. For example, our LifeWorks courses are now delivered nation-wide, and our social enterprise factory is so successful that we are being nudged to replicate it elsewhere. 

It’s also exciting because we’re influencing politically and we’re very committed to closing the disability employment gap. And finally, we’re approaching a really exciting centenary year in 2019 so there is a growing sense of momentum at this time.

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