Royal British Legion supports Help for Heroes

Fundraising and capital support pledged for veterans charity

The Royal British Legion has said it is willing to restructure its business to support a Help for Heroes fundraising campaign.

Help for Heroes, which was founded two years ago by ex-soldier Bryn Parry and his wife, Emma, has pledged to raise £20m to build a network of army recovery centres for wounded soldiers.

At a meeting of the Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations next week, Parry will ask other charities to pledge long-term support.

Chris Simpkins, director-general of the Royal British Legion, said: "Our trustees have indicated we are willing to make a considerable contribution to the capital and ongoing costs of the buildings, restructuring our business if required."

But he added that the legion first needed to know whether the Ministry of Defence was willing to support the venture, so it wasn't left entirely to the charitable sector.

"We are cautious about putting potentially huge resources into supporting small groups of people, only to find in a few years the need has disappeared," said Simpkins.

Help for Heroes, which has generated £28m in 23 months, had given other forces charities a wake-up call with its effective fundraising techniques, he said.

Parry said established forces charities had been "doing a great job but were perhaps not focused on modern soldiers' needs".

There were encouraging signs of greater collaboration within the sector, he said, and he hoped next week's meeting would see further improvements.

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