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Bridlington's Alderson House Will Close

Bridlington's Alderson House Will Close

Published by Jon Burke at 11:24am 24th January 2020. (Updated at 12:18pm 24th January 2020)

Alderson House in Bridlington is to close and will shut its doors on February 28th.

After a period of consultation, The Royal British Legion’s Board of Trustees has confirmed that the charity will cease to operate its four break centres and home maintenance service.

Proposals to close the services were put forward in November 2019 as part of a wider programme of work. The Legion is creating a new strategy that will ensure it is having the greatest impact, making the most of its resources, and evolving in line with changes in the Armed Forces community.

The new direction is being developed to address the changes in the Armed Forces community, as it says the type of support needed is growing increasingly complex with people requiring help across multiple issues. Since 2016, the charity says it has seen a 20% increase in people needing basic support with housing, financial issues, mental health and well-being and mobility. In this time, the average expenditure per household through the Legion’s immediate needs funding has risen 45% from £900 to £1330.

People are coming to the Legion with multiple needs where a holistic approach providing ongoing support is required. The charity is seeing people at their lowest ebb, at risk of homelessness, and in dire financial situations where they can’t afford to feed their families. Ceasing to operate the break centres and handy van service will provide £5.8 million annually which will be diverted to address the urgent needs people are coming to the charity with. By refocusing its resource, the Legion can invest more in on the ground, personalised support across its network.

As part of the charity’s strategic review the Board of Trustees has established a Northern Ireland Advisory Committee to continue to review how best to meet beneficiary needs in the area. There is a unique situation for the Armed Forces community in Northern Ireland, because of historic issues, current challenges and lower levels of statutory support, which make it difficult for veterans to find the support they need. The committee, made up of Legion staff and key external stakeholders, will co-ordinate with the recently reconvened Northern Ireland Assembly and liaise with the newly created Veterans’ Commissioner.

Although the break services will no longer operate across the Legion, the Board of Trustees have made the decision to temporarily utilise the break centre building, Bennet House, in Portrush for use by the charity’s Poppy Club, local community and other charities to help continue supporting beneficiaries in the area. The building will be available for non-residential activity until July 2020, when the Legion’s service provision in Northern Ireland will be re-evaluated using existing research and a new report due to be published by Queen’s University Belfast.

The Royal British Legion’s Director General, Charles Byrne, said:

“The modern day needs of the Armed Forces community are changing and it is our duty to change in response. We have closely considered all options for our organisation, and I believe the path we have chosen is the right one to make the greatest difference to those tackling the toughest challenges.

The decision to close our break centres and handy van service has not been taken lightly, and we are extremely sad it will ultimately lead to some of our colleagues leaving the charity. The affected staff have all contributed greatly to our work, they are part of our community, and we are doing all we can to support them in their next steps.

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the consultation process, and we will use the feedback to help sculpt our work moving forward.”

The reprioritised funding will provide increased resource for; casework and providing support that fits individual need, immediate needs funding including crisis grants, investment in our care homes and services for older members of the Armed Forces community, and funding external grants to charities providing specialist support.

For nearly 100 years The Royal British Legion has supported the British Armed Forces community, providing practical help and campaigning on their behalf. Throughout its history the Legion has responded to the changes in its community and the landscape the charity operates within. As the Legion looks ahead to its centenary, it will adapt again to meet the needs of the Armed Forces community and ensure it is fit for purpose for the next 100 years.  

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