By the Chairman of the Trustees
2019 has been a milestone in the Officers’ Association’s (OA) history; it marked a hundred years since Field Marshal Earl Haig recognised the plight of former officers and their families and became the driving force behind the establishment of the OA. We represent officers across all three services and will remain committed to the OA’s charitable aims and the debt of honour to those whom our 1921 Royal Charter placed in our care.
As I mentioned last year, 2019 was also the year in which we agreed to bring to an end our longstanding funding agreement with the Royal British Legion. Since 1921 we have received a proportion of the Poppy Appeal and in return agreed not to carry out any fundraising ourselves. From 2019, we will receive a fixed annual amount, tapering to zero in 2024.
We are taking the opportunity of this development to review our grant giving services. In line with the majority of the benevolence sector, the OA’s grants and welfare approach will be to move away from the long term maintenance payments model. In any changes we make, the Trustees’ foremost concern is for the most vulnerable of our beneficiaries. Our prudent reserves policy means we can cushion this transition period so that no existing beneficiary should suffer as a result of the reduction in our funding. However, the OA has to look at the long term prospects for our beneficiaries, set against the likely changes in the military charity sector, with fewer veterans, but growing and more complex needs. We are grateful for the indications of support received to date from the various separate service charities in maintaining support, financial and non-financial, to these individuals as our grant-giving capacity reduces.