COLSTON BASSETT, OWTHORPE and COTGRAVE BRANCH, ROYAL BRITISH LEGION – STRATEGY 2010 TO 2015
1. The Colston Bassett, Owthorpe and Cotgrave Branch of the Royal British Legion (CBOC) has been around for almost as long as the RBL itself. It has thrived due to the efforts of its members and has a reputation for providing excellent social gatherings as well as welfare and fund raising activity. Today it has 48 members from quite a wide spread of locations in south Nottinghamshire and beyond.
2. The significant reduction in number of servicemen and servicewomen over recent years and the wars currently being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are changing the number and the needs of ex servicemen and servicewomen. The Service charities supporting them are also changing to meet new challenges and CBOC is embracing these changes. CBOC is now looking to the future in order to ensure that a healthy membership will provide what is required.
3. The aim of this document is to provide a 5 year strategy for CBOC.
TASKS OF CBOC
4. Tasks. The aim of the RBL is to “promote the welfare of those who are serving and who have served in the armed forces of the Crown and their dependants”. In order to achieve this aim CBOC must undertake 4 main tasks:
a. Members. Recruit and retain a supportive membership.
b. Funds. Raise funds to support ex servicemen and servicewomen.
c. Awareness. Keep the memory of those who have served in the public eye and in the minds of the younger generation.
d. Welfare. Provide welfare to those ex servicemen and servicewomen in need.
5. Enablers. To enable success in the tasks above CBOC must have:
a. A structure with capable individuals responsible for tasks.
b. A strategy.
- A series of annual plans.
- Robust financial controls.
e. Good relations with the RBL and other veteran organisations.
6. Why Members Join. The RBL offers a program of events where people of similar mind can enjoy themselves while raising funds, keeping the memory of ex servicemen and servicewomen alive and providing welfare. Membership can be split roughly into 3 groups:
a. Ex Servicemen and Servicewomen. Those who have enjoyed their time in the services and are happy to socialise with other supporters. They want to ‘give something back’ and to provide support to what they feel are excellent organisations. They will almost certainly be members of other veterans’ organisations but are more likely to attend events which are in the local area. They can range in age from 25 to 90 and many will not be wealthy and will avoid activity which incurs considerable expense. Whatever their circumstances they will all be fiercely proud of the organisations in which they have served.
b. Relatives of Servicemen and Servicewomen. Those who have relatives either serving or having served in the past. Often association with the services will have had, and may still be having, a significant effect on their lives and they understand why support is so important. They come from a variety of backgrounds and through their membership they offer considerable assistance as well as joining in with activities.
c. Others who want to help a Worthy Cause. There are many others who have little direct connection with the services but recognise that those serving and those who have served need support. Often they have much to bring to the organisation either in terms of expertise, effort, influence or indeed finance. Without this group of people the RBL would struggle.
7. CBOC Demographics. The total population of Colston Basset, Owthorpe and Cotgrave is approximately 7500, with 7000+ living in Cotgrave, 225 in Colston Bassett and 90 in Owthorpe. As well as having the highest population Cotgrave also has the highest turnover rate with an estimated 30% arriving and leaving every year. Those coming and going, about 2500, are unlikely to become members of CBOC. Of the 5000 remaining about 1600 will be below the age of 18 and are also unlikely to become members of CBOC. There remains about 3400 people between 18 and 80 in the 3 villages who are possible members. There is no evidence of the number of ex servicemen and servicewomen but a conservative estimate might be 200. Currently there are 48 members in CBOC. 13 living in Cotgrave, 17 in Colston Bassett, 0 in Owthorpe and 18 living elsewhere. The age of the membership ranges from 34 to 89 with 11 under 60 and 24 over 70. Of these less than half have served in the forces at one time or another.
8. Recruiting New Members. Looking at the demographics of CBOC and knowing the reasons why people join the RBL it is obvious that there is a significant number of potential members in the area and that there is an opportunity to increase the number of younger members. Cotgrave would seem to provide the greatest opportunity for both. CBOC will therefore aim to achieve a membership of 100 in the next 5 years and plan accordingly.
9. Retaining Members. Members of any organisation will continue to remain as members as long as the organisation continues to provide what the joined for. The RBL has the added advantage of providing charitable satisfaction for its members and therefore some may continue to pay their subscriptions without taking any party in any activities. Nevertheless the needs of all members must be considered and for CBOC, without club premises, this requires a variety of actions:
a. Communications. All members will want to know what is going on and what is on offer and this cannot be done without a good communications strategy being executed by an enthusiastic and talented member. CBOC will elect a Communications Member who will write and execute the communications strategy. The strategy will be built around the following:
(1) Internal Communications. Different methods of communication including: postal services, e mail and web site. Regular updates to members informing them of what is going on. Early call in for events.
(2) External Communications. A CBOC web site providing information about contacts, events and membership. The site will follow the RBL branding and template and link to other veterans’ web sites. Contact business cards.
b. Events. CBOC currently runs a series of good events throughout the year that fulfil the requirements of the RBL and the members. CBOC will elect an Events Member who will plan and execute a series of events, which will be reviewed annually and discussed at the AGM. The current series of events is:
(1) Annual Supper. The aim of the Annual Supper is to allow members to enjoy themselves. An evening out in the Spring at a local pub or club. Good access, good food and reasonable prices are prerequisites. A guest speaker is desirable.
(2) Main Fund Raising Event. Held In the summer to raise the maximum amount of funds for reasonable effort. A sub committee will be organised in order to manage this event.
(3) Autumn Visit. An outing to an interesting location or event with a military theme will be planned for the Autumn. An event or location which is not generally available to the general public will be sought. The day would include a meal and if necessary transport.
(4) Annual General Meeting. The AGM will take place in Oct each year after the accounts have been audited. Although essential for the running of CBOC the AGM could be mundane and therefore the essential business will be supplemented with a guest speaker to provide greater interest and increase attendance. The AGM will be organised by the Secretary with help from other members of the committee.
(5) Remembrance. November being a key month for CBOC 3 events will take place. The ‘Poppy Appeal’ and the ‘Church Parade and Service’ are dealt separately in the following paragraphs. The third event, the ‘Remembrance Lunch’ after the Church service, will be organised by the Events Member at a local pub or club with good access, good food and reasonable prices.
10. From time to time CBOC receives generous donations from benefactors. While these are always welcome CBOC needs to raise funds for the welfare of those that the RBL support. CBOC will run one main fundraising event each year and take a full part in the Poppy Appeal.
11. Main Fund Raising Event. CBOC will aim to raise £1000 from a main fundraising event each year.
12. Poppy Appeal. CBOC will aim to raise £2000 from the Poppy Appeal each year. The Poppy Coordinator will run the poppy collection each year with assistance from members. A sub-committee may be formed if necessary and the Poppy Coordinator will approach as many members as are required. Funds raised during the Poppy Appeal will go directly from the Poppy Coordinator to the RBL.
KEEPING THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED AND ARE SERVING IN THE PUBLIC EYE
13. The Military Covenant provides a lasting bond between servicemen and servicewomen and the society which they serve. It is important that members of the Colston Bassett, Owthorpe and Cotgrave communities are reminded of the sacrifices that have been made and are currently being made. As the number of ex servicemen and servicewomen decreases the task of reminding people becomes more difficult and the younger generation in particular have fewer opportunities to be reminded. Luckily CBOC has some strengths in this area with a long history of Remembrance events, Army and Air Cadets in the area and a primary and secondary school in Cotgrave. The membership of CBOC can use these strengths to get the message across.
14. Remembrance Sunday. CBOC will support all 3 village communities on Remembrance Sunday. Cotgrave having the largest population and largest source of potential members will be the location for the parade and church service (All Saints) every 2 years. Colston Bassett (St John the Devine) will be the location for the church service in alternate years; there will not be a parade in Colston Bassett. The CBOC standard will be taken to Owthorpe (St Margaret) each year. In the Cotgrave years CBOC will be represented at Colston Bassett and in the Colston Basset years CBOC will be represented in Cotgrave. The parade in Cotgrave years is the opportunity of ex servicemen and servicewomen to march with pride and the parade will become a major biennial event. The Chairman and Secretary will manage the Remembrance Sunday program.
15. Cadets. It has been said that Cadets are the future of the RBL; certainly they are the only uniformed representatives in the area. CBOC will support the Cadets in the area and ask for their support in achieving their aim. The Cotgrave detachment of Nottinghamshire ACF is currently affiliated to CBOC and the Tollerton Squadron of the Air Cadets will be approached to become affiliated. Both Cadet Forces will be asked to assist CBOC with the Poppy Appeal and with the parade in Cotgrave. Both will be asked to select a Standard Bearer for the CBOC standard. In return CBOC members will do all they can to assist the Cadet Forces achieve their outcomes.
16. Schools. CBOC will maintain its relationship with the 2 Cotgrave schools in order to inform the younger generation of the role, responsibilities and sacrifices of servicemen and servicewomen. The Secretary will provide liaison with the schools and use whichever members are willing to get the message across.
17. Finance. The RBL raises funds for those ex servicemen and servicewomen and their dependants who are in need. CBOC will direct the funds it raises primarily to support people as opposed to supporting infrastructure. Funds raised through the Poppy Appeal will go directly to the RBL whereas other funds donated to, or raised by CBOC will be distributed as agreed at the AGM.
18. Welfare Trained Members. With a population of almost 7500 in the CBOC area there will inevitably be welfare cases, which will require support. All members will help to identify deserving cases and the Secretary (the Welfare Members after they are recruited and trained) will liaise with the Councils, Police, Health Centres and Church Ministers. CBOC will identify 2 members to be trained to carry out welfare work in the local area. Should the number of welfare cases become significant a welfare sub-committee may be established.
19. To ensure CBOC can successfully carry out its 4 tasks it must be based on a sustainable structure, strategy, annual plan and financial control. The Committee will provide the structure; this document provides the strategy; each year a costed plan will be provided and executed with full financial control. As well as these enablers success will be enhanced by close liaison with other agencies in particular other Branches and Veterans organisations.
a. CBOC Branch Committee. Only members of the RBL may sit on the CBOC Branch Committee. Members will be elected annually at the AGM. Should a member leave the committee mid year the Chairman may nominate a temporary replacement until the AGM. The Committee will be made up as follows:
Honorary Secretary Events
Honorary Treasurer Poppy Coordinator
Welfare x 2 When trained
b. Sub Committees. Each sub committee will have a member of the RBL as chairman. Non members of the RBL may sit on a sub committee as an advisor. The following sub committees may be formed as necessary:
Event sub-committee for a particular event or series of events.
Poppy Appeal sub-committee.
Welfare sub-committee when work demands.
- Meetings. CBOC meetings will take place as follows:
(1) AGM. The AGM will take place in October each year after the finances have been audited. The Secretary will provide the agenda and take minutes. A standing agenda is at Annex A. Maximum attendance will be sought.
(2) Committee Meetings. The committee will meet as and when necessary for the business of CBOC. The President will not normally attend Committee meetings and a quorum will be 4 members, 2 of which will be officers. The Secretary will provide agendas and take minutes. In his absence the Chairman or the Treasurer will take the minutes.
(3) Sub Committee Meetings. Sub Committees will meet as and when required by the Chairman of the sub committee.
21. Annual Plan. The CBOC committee will draw up, agree and execute a costed plan for each year. A draft plan will be presented to and discussed at the AGM. After the AGM the final plan will be drawn up and sent to the members before Christmas. The Chairman is responsible for drafting the plan.
22. Financial Control. Finance in CBOC will adhere to the regulations laid down by the RBL Charity. The Treasurer will maintain a current set of RBL financial regulations and provide advice to the CBOC committee.
23. Liaison. CBOC will consult with Nottinghamshire County RBL on matters of policy. In order to make best use of scarce resources, to deconflict activity and to provide mutual support CBOC Chairman and Secretary will liaise with the following:
Neighbouring RBL Branches: Vale of Belvoir, Radcliffe.
Local branches of ABF, RAFA, RN Association.
Cotgrave Town Council.
24. Equal Opportunities. CBOC will operate as an equal opportunities organisation.
25. Data Protection. Data on members will only be help for the purposes of the Branch business. It will not be passed to any external body without permission.
26. CBOC has a strong membership and a good reputation for providing what its members and the RBL want. The Branch understands the changes being brought about by current operations and a shrinking number in the Armed Forces. It will meet these changes over the next 5 years by:
a. Membership. Increasing its membership by 20 each year.
b. Fund Raising. Raising £1000 from a main fundraising event each year. Raising £2000 from the Poppy Appeal each year.
c. Maintaining Awareness. Supporting all 3 village communities on Remembrance Sunday. Supporting the Cadets. Maintaining the relationship with the 2 Cotgrave schools.
d. Welfare. Directing funds primarily to support people. Identifying and training 2 members to carry out welfare work.
e. Structure. Drawing up, agreeing and executing a costed plan for each year.
f. Committee Members. Electing a Communications Member and an Events Member.
g. Financial Control. Adhering to the financial regulations laid down by the RBL Charity.
h. Liaison. Liaising with local Councils, neighbouring branches and veterans agencies.
27. Strategy. This 5 year strategy will help to achieve success. It may from time to time be updated to take account of changing circumstances.
Colonel (Retired) T J LUDLAM OBE
Chairman Colson Bassett, Owthorpe and Cotgrave Branch
Royal British Legion 23 December 2009