Northern Area Conference - Blackpool - Report

19/03/2019 15:29


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

particularly vulnerable.


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

been combined.

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

development session’.


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

current legislation. 


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.