In light of the most recent news from Help for Heroes, Chairman of Cobseo, General Sir John McColl KCB CBE DSO, said:
“The decision by Help for Heroes to put a number of staff roles at risk and halt services at three Recovery Centres for the foreseeable future has clearly been an extremely difficult one for a wonderful charity. However, this revision of service provision is not wholly surprising as our Members navigate how to continue to offer life-saving services and support through the COVID-19 pandemic. As highlighted in our survey with the Directory of Social Change and the Forces in Mind Trust in May 2020, nearly 50% of our Members reported that they will have to reduce service delivery within a year, with 10% of Members believing that they will not even be able to continue to operate within twelve months. 66% of Members reported a decrease in income, and 31% of Members estimated that their cash reserves will be completely depleted within one year. The survey suggests that this news is a strong indication of further difficulties to come.
“This crisis has been devastating in so many areas of our lives, and the Service Charity sector has been significantly affected; almost all fundraising activity has been forced to a standstill, and digital developments forced to accelerate to make sure our most vulnerable beneficiaries can still access the help they so desperately need. Throughout the past six months, Cobseo has been working hard with Members to provide efficiency and rationalisation support, and we will be undertaking a second membership survey in the next few weeks to gauge the true impact that the crisis has already made throughout the sector. Help for Heroes is a great example of a charity that has moved support services online, and whilst it is encouraging to hear that they have been able to offer much needed support digitally, it will be unquestionably challenging for some beneficiaries that the charity will not be able to operate from three of its Recovery Centres for the foreseeable future.
“The Service Charity Sector provides vital lifesaving and life-enhancing support to serving personnel, Veterans, and their families, and this must continue. It remains absolutely essential that there is ongoing suitable government support to ensure that the sector can continue to adequately support all of the Armed Force Community. We look forward to sharing our latest research findings with government, funders, and key stakeholders to continue working towards building a sustainable, resilient, and efficient future for the Armed Forces Charity Sector as it seeks to support the Armed Forces Community, serving, veterans and their families.”