The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is shedding 17 out of 70 jobs and has lost its director of marketing and communications as part of a restructure and cost-cutting exercise.
Dean Benton, the former marketing chief, is among 13 staff, including four heads of department, who have so far chosen voluntary redundancy. Four compulsory redundancies, if required, will happen next year.
A spokeswoman for the fund said it had been running a deficit for several years to finance a major IT project and the £24m Airplay programme to build facilities for young people on RAF bases.
"We now need to better balance our income and expenditure to ensure our reserves are sufficient for our long-term commitments to those we support," she said. "The fund’s income is projected to remain stable at about £15m over the next few years."
The cuts follow the appointment last year of the fund’s controller, Chris Nickols, who was formerly chief of defence intelligence at the Ministry of Defence.
Benton left when the directorate of fundraising and communications was merged with that of chief of staff to form a new directorate of strategy and fundraising.
His departure has caused dismay among some supporters, who credit him with a key part in the charity’s recent achievements in fundraising and brand development. A group of its 25 ambassadors are due to meet the chair, Lord Trenchard, later this month.