Northern Area Conference - Blackpool - Report
Northern Area Welfare Seminar
Branch Welfare Officer
Over the weekend of 15 - 17 March 2019 I attended two meetings on behalf of the branch.
On Friday and Saturday morning I attended the annual area welfare seminar, which was
dominated by Cyber security. As we are dealing with members who are often old and have
not been brought up from an early age with the marvels of the internet they are seen as
They are often trusting and not always aware of the necessary security checks that they
should take when dealing with unsolicited communications in particular. The talk was
given by a Lancashire Constabulary volunteer and was quite illuminating. Preston has also
sent a download of the booklet regarding internet security. Branch members should contact
me for a copy.
A talk by a Royal British Legion Admiral Nurse covered help for sufferers with dementia.
The nurses can help both the sufferer and their carers and if this would help someone
you know, members please contact me. At present the area coverage is limited
but they do cover Lancashire.
Final item for Saturday was a workshop case study. I find these workshops fascinating as
the team come up with such fantastic scenarios that you would not believe they are real,
but we are assured they are all genuine cases.
The evening was spent over a buffet where we could meet colleagues, not seen since our
get together last year in Yorkshire. This gives a good opportunity to compare cases and
methods of working as well as have a drink or three.
Previously the welfare and area meetings were held separately, but as many of the
attendees are the same people and the overheads are probably reduced the two have now
Saturday was largely spent listening to addresses by the Area President and a welfare brief
with a close at 12:00.
Several things came out of the seminar which may be of interest.
Probably the most important is the creation of an online membership database which will be available to
approved members of the branch. There will be a new initiative to contact all members who do not renew
and they will stay on the membership database for three months. As the database needs to
be current branches will be requested to let HQ know of any changes ASAP.
An investigation is currently ongoing as to the viability of Richard Peck House. As it
stands, it will shortly become non-compliant with legislative requirements and will also be
incapable of alteration to make it compliant. The alternatives are close, demolish and
rebuild or look for more suitable accommodation. One of the main factors in the decision
will be that it is at present under-used.
Northern Area Conference
The conference started after lunch on Saturday and was dominated by the 'Branch
The whole event focussed on the need to accept One Charity and One Member, One Vote.
The speakers went to great lengths to explain the dire consequences for members of branches
if things, especially financial, went wrong.
Many examples were given of current delinquent branches, but more
interestingly many of the eighty clubs run by branches were non-compliant with
Examples were quoted of at least one branch club breaking one or more pieces of
legislation, such that every piece of legislation seemed to be being broken by someone.
The cost of One Member, One Vote was believed to be modest as the question would be
asked either electronically, or by a form printed in Air Mail for those not on email.
The cost of One Charity could however be significant as the national charity would have to
remedy problems in branches and clubs, but this would give greater security to branch
committee members by relieving their legal liabilities as trustees.
The present RAFA structure of separate charities came about at the suggestion of the
Charities Commission, who at the same time were recommending that the Royal British Legion
abandon individual charity status and just have one national charity.
The evening consisted of a formal dinner with singer afterwards.
Early start on Sunday for Church Parade. This was followed by the parading of area and branch
standards, award of certificates and finally a short general meeting which was largely a summary
of what had been discussed over the weekend.