COLSTON BASSETT, OWTHORPE and COTGRAVE BRANCH, ROYAL BRITISH LEGION – STRATEGY 2015 TO 2020
1. Over the last 5 years CBOC has achieved a great deal. It has expanded its membership from 48 to 121, it has significantly increased the funds it raises for the Poppy Appeal and for Branch welfare and it has raised awareness of both Branch and RBL through close connection with communities. Today it is considered one of the best branches in the County.
2. Much of its success has come from a strong committee of willing members following a well-designed strategy through annual costed plans. This methodology has worked well and will be used for the next 5 years. The 2015 – 2020 CBOC Branch Strategy takes into account the following significant changes from its predecessor:
a. Management. The RBL Management Handbook has been rewritten as National RBL has modernised and redefined elements of to the Royal Charter. Some of those changes affect the Branch.
b. Welfare. The National RBL ‘Pathway to Progress’ has changed the way welfare of those eligible and in need is delivered. No longer is the Branch responsible for delivering welfare within its area; in future welfare will be delivered by Regional resources. CBOC members may volunteer to be welfare case works and be trained and employed by the Region.
c. Granby, Barnstone and District (GBD) Sub Branch. GBD Branch has become a sub branch of CBOC. This means that CBOC is now responsible for its administration and finance and the CBOC trustees (CBOC Committee members) are now also the trustees of GBD sub Branch.
d. Cotgrave ‘Pit Site’ Development. Work has now started of 450 new houses being built on the old pit site in Cotgrave. When complete the population of Cotgrave will have increased by about 18%, thus providing new challenges and opportunities for CBOC.
e. WW1 Centenary. 2014 was the centenary of the start of WW1 which continued until 1918. CBOC ran commemoration events during 2014 and will continue to do so until the end of 2018. In particular research into those named on the war memorials as having died as a result of WW1 (CBOC Great War Project) has made an excellent start and now has a web site (www.CBOCGWP.co.uk). When there is sufficient information a booklet will be produced by the Branch.
3. The aim of this document is to provide a 5 year strategy for CBOC from 2015 until 2020.
TASKS OF CBOC
4. RBL Objectives. 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 tasks in the following 4 main RBL objective areas:
a. Representation. To ensure that those serving and those who have served are not disadvantaged by that service.
b. Remembrance. To ensure that those in the 3 communities understand what the Armed Services do and have done for the Country, what sacrifices they are making and have made and why we should be grateful to them.
c. Comradeship. To provide an environment where all members can relax and enjoy each other’s company and support while carrying out the RBL tasks.
d. Welfare. To identify those who are in need and are eligible for help and to direct them towards the Regional welfare resources. To raise money for Welfare.
5. CBOC Tasks. To ensure that the 4 main RBL objectives are successfully carried out CBOC must undertake the following tasks:
a. Recruiting and Retaining Members. None of the objectives will be carried out successfully without Branch members. Therefore recruiting new members and retaining existing members is essential.
b. Raising Awareness. To enhance Representation, Remembrance and Comradeship it is necessary to raise awareness of the RBL in the Community. A wide and active network will drive this important task forward. The wider the network the more likely the Branch is to discover those in need of Welfare.
c. Fundraising. The RBL spends more than £30 M annually on Welfare. CBOC must raise as much money as possible for the RBL both within and without the Poppy Appeal.
d. Welfare. As well as raising funds for Welfare CBOC must identify those in need and eligible for RBL support and help them to gain assistance. Some members may volunteer for training to become ‘volunteer visitors’ or ‘volunteer case workers’ within the Regional Welfare organisation.
e. Maintaining Inter RBL Relations. CBOC is surrounded by other RBL Branches all of which work to the County RBL HQ in Mansfield. Maintaining good relations and providing support to County RBL and other Branches will assist in all 4 areas.
f. Maintaining Finance Control. CBOC is governed by The RBL rules and regulations which include those set by the Charities Commission. CBOC Committee members are ‘Trustees’ and maintaining a robust financial control is essential.
g. Maintaining a Strong Committee. All the tasks of the Branch require planning, coordination and control and these are the tasks of the CBOC committee. Maintaining an enthusiastic, dedicated, trained and willing Committee is essential.
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 ensuring that servicemen and servicewomen are not disadvantaged. Members can be split roughly into 3 groups:
a. Serving and Retired Servicemen and Servicewomen. Those who are enjoying, or 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. Some may be members of other veterans’ organisations but are more likely than not 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 serve or 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 and deserve 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. The ‘Pit Site’ housing development will provide about 1400 additional members of the Cotgrave community over the period of this strategy. Currently it is estimated that there are approximately 3500 people between 18 and 80 in the 3 villages who are potential RBL members. There is no evidence of the number of servicemen and servicewomen and ex servicemen and servicewomen but a conservative estimate might be 250. Currently CBOC is well recruited with 121 members, 53 living in Cotgrave, 22 in Colston Bassett, 7 in Owthorpe and 39 elsewhere. The age of the membership ranges from 18 to 92 with 33 under 60 and 24 over 80. 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. To provide a sustainable future the Branch requires younger members and ex servicemen and servicewomen. CBOC will therefore aim to maintain a minimum of 120 members while increasing the number of ex-servicemen and servicewomen below 60 years of age.
9. Retaining Members. Members of any organisation will continue to remain as members as long as the organisation continues to provide what they joined for. The RBL has the advantage of providing charitable satisfaction for its members and therefore some may continue to pay their subscriptions without taking any part in any activities. In CBOC this accounts for about 12% of the members. Nevertheless the needs of all members must be considered and for CBOC, without club premises, this requires good communications and excellent events:
a. Communications. All active members will want to know what is going on and what is on offer and this cannot be done without good communications. CBOC will communicate regularly with its members primarily using e mail and the web sites www.britishlegion.org.uk and www.cotgravecommunity.com , backed up by postal hard copy for those without e mail.
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 continue to run a series of events which will be agreed at the AGM. The events will cover: Fundraising, Remembrance, Interest and Social and will occur at about monthly intervals. The events will include:
(1) Spring Meeting and Supper. The aim of the Spring Meeting and Supper is to update members while enjoying 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 and a raffle to raise funds.
(2) Main Fund Raising Event. Usually 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) Spring or Autumn Visit. An outing to an interesting location or event with a military theme will be planned for the spring and/or autumn. An event or location which is not generally available to the general public will be sought. The day may include a meal and if necessary transport and will include fundraising activities.
(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 kept to a minimum and supplemented with a meal to allow networking.
(5) Remembrance. November being a key month for CBOC 3 events will take place. The ‘Poppy Appeal’ and the ‘Church Parade and Services’ are dealt separately in the following paragraphs. The third event, the ‘Remembrance Lunch’ after the Church services, will be organised by the Events Member at a local pub or club with good access, good food and reasonable prices and will include a raffle.
(6) Gatherings. In the months when no other activity is planned the Branch will hold a ‘Gathering’ for its members. This gathering will normally be at a pub and will include a meal or quiz or talk or film.
10. 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 much strength in this area with a long history of Remembrance events, Army and Air Cadets, a good relationship with local councils, churches and the 3 primary schools and one special school in the area. CBOC will establish a wide network within the communities to raise the awareness of the RBL and the Branch and its role.
11. 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 to church service (All Saints) on Remembrance Sunday each year. The Cotgrave parade will be organised and run by CBOC. The Colston Bassett (St John the Divine) annual Remembrance church service will be supported by CBOC members with the ‘Old’ standard being paraded. The Owthorpe (St Margaret) annual Remembrance church service will be supported by CBOC members with the ‘New’ Standard being paraded.
12. Cadets. It has been said that Cadets are the future of the RBL; certainly they are the only uniformed Service representatives in the area. The Cotgrave detachment of Nottinghamshire ACF is affiliated to CBOC although the Tollerton Squadron of the Air Cadets is affiliated to the Ruddington RBL Branch. The ACF will be asked to assist CBOC with the Poppy Appeal collection and with the Remembrance Sunday parade in Cotgrave. In return CBOC members will do all they can to assist the Cadet Forces achieve their outcomes.
13. Schools. CBOC will maintain its relationship with the 2 Cotgrave and one Colston Bassett primary schools and the Ash Lea Special school in Cotgrave in order to inform the younger generation of the role, responsibilities and sacrifices of servicemen and servicewomen. The Secretary will provide the point of contact with the schools and use whichever members are willing to get the message across.
14. 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 raise funds within and without the Poppy Appeal. Funds raised from the Poppy Appeal will be sent to national RBL Poppy Appeal for distribution. Funds raised without the Poppy Appeal will be distributed to RBL supported tasks as decided by the CBOC members at the AGM.
15. Poppy Appeal. CBOC will aim to raise a minimum of £5000 from the Poppy Appeal each year. The Poppy Appeal will include all funds raised in the period 2 weeks before Remembrance Sunday to 31 December. The Poppy Coordinator will run the poppy collection each year with assistance from members in all 3 communities. A sub-committee may be formed if necessary and the Poppy Coordinator will approach as many members as are required.
16. Without the Poppy Appeal. CBOC will aim to raise a minimum of £2000 from fundraising events outside the Poppy Appeal each year.
17. Identifying Those in Need. 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 such cases to the Welfare Member who will also liaise with the Councils, Police, Health Centres, Church Ministers and the Cotgrave Advice Centre. RBL Welfare is available to those ‘in need’ and ‘eligible’ through their military service and RBL funds cannot be spent on those who are not eligible. For those who are eligible the Welfare Member will advise and transfer the individual to the Regional Welfare organisation. For those not eligible, which includes many of the CBOC members, the Branch will provide what advice and assistance it can. CBOC will identify Welfare cases and advise and support them within RBL guidelines.
18. Regional Welfare Roles. The Regional Welfare organisation is always on the lookout for capable volunteers to fill welfare posts: Caseworker, Information Volunteer, Visitor Volunteer, Community Support Volunteer, Ambassador Volunteer, Administration Support Volunteer, Volunteer Coordinator. CBOC will encourage members to take up a volunteer Welfare role.
INTER RBL RELATIONS
19. Nottinghamshire County RBL HQ. CBOC relies heavily on the support and advice of those in County RBL HQ. The County Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Community Fundraiser and Poppy Appeal Coordinator play an essential part in the success of the Branch and their opposite numbers in the CBOC Committee will remain in close touch. CBOC are invited to send one delegate and observers to the County Annual meeting in January each year and will whenever possible attend.
20. Other Branches. CBOC is surrounded by the RBL Branches of Vale of Belvoir, Ruddington, Keyworth, West Bridgford, Bingham and Radcliffe and Granby, Barnstone and District Sub Branch. Each Branch has its strengths and in most cases is willing to share information and support.
21. Other Welfare Organisations. CBOC will remain in touch with SSAFA, RNA, RAFA, ABF and Help for Heroes. CBOC will nurture the relationship between County HQ, surrounding RBL Branches and other Welfare Organisations in order to achieve mutual support.
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. Use of Funds. All funds donated to or raised by the Branch for welfare will only be used for welfare purposes as specified in the objects of the Royal Charter. An administrative fee of £1 per annum per member will be levied (Agreed AGM October 2012). The amount raised from this will be used for Branch administration provided that the expenditure is furthering the Aims and Objectives of the Legion. This is a bye-law of the Branch. Annex A.
24. Donations. At the AGM members will decide what donations are to be made from current Branch funds (not those raised during the Poppy Appeal) to RBL establishments, activities and welfare.
25. Delegation. All expenditure made by cheque from the Branch current account, or from the Branch Fund Initiative (BFI) fund by the appropriate BFI form will require the signatures of 2 of the authorising officers. The authorising officers will be the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and one other committee member. The Treasurer is authorised to spend up to £100 without recourse to other members of the committee. Items of expenditure over £100 must be approved by three members of the committee, of which one must be an officer. This is a bye-law of the Branch. Annex A.
26 Monitoring / Audit. The Branch Committee will meet quarterly to monitor the Branch accounts. A quorum will be 3 members one of whom must be an officer. The accounts will be audited annually by an RBL approved auditor prior to approval at the AGM.
27. Reserve. The Branch Committee will decide annually how much money should be held in the BFI account. In 2014 a minimum of £3000 was to be maintained. This is a bye-law of the Branch. Annex A.
28. To successfully carry out its tasks CBOC will be based on a strong committee which will provide the structure, strategy, annual plan, control, execution and leadership. CBOC business runs on a calendar year although the financial year does not and is dictated by County RBL.
a. President. The CBOC Committee select a President who becomes an Officer of the Branch. He/she may attend and speak at committee meetings but does not have a vote.
b. 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:
Vice Chairman Events
Honorary Secretary Poppy Coordinator
Ex Officio: Granby Barnstone and District Sub Branch representative.
c. Sub Committees. Currently there are no sub-committees. The Committee will decide when a subcommittee is required.
d. Meetings. CBOC Committee meetings will take place as follows:
(1) AGM. The AGM will take place in October each year after the accounts have been audited. The Secretary will provide the agenda and take minutes. A standing agenda is at Annex B. Maximum attendance will be sought.
(2) Committee Meetings. Up to 4 committee meetings will be held each year. One committee meeting will be held in September to assess how the current year’s plan is progressing, to prepare for the AGM and Remembrance and to agree the next year’s draft plan. One meeting will be held in January to review last year’s plan and finalise the coming year’s plan. 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.
30. 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 after the January Committee meeting. The Chairman is responsible for drafting the plan.
GRANBY, BARNSTONE AND DISTRICT
31. Granby, Barnstone and District (GBD) Branch became a Sub Branch of CBOC on 1 Jan 2015. CBOC Branch Trustees will execute the Trustee responsibilities for GBD sub Branch and undertake all their administration and finance. This is a bye-law of the Branch. Annex A. GBD Sub Branch retains the GBD Branch number and parades its standard. The sub Branch is not represented at the County Meetings or the Annual Conference. It will nominate a representative to attend CBOC Committee meetings.
32. Committee. A ‘GBD sub Branch Committee’ has been formed. It has no trustee, finance and administrative responsibilities and therefore does not have a President, Treasurer or Secretary. It is made up as follows:
a. A representative to attend CBOC Committee meetings to ensure that the GBD voice is heard and to interface with CBOC Committee members. The representative will only have a vote on GBD business.
b. Other members with the specific responsibilities as necessary. For example: Welfare, Events, Poppy Coord and Standard Bearer.
The committee should take minutes of its meetings which should be copied to CBOC Branch secretary.
33. Member Administration. Members are included on the CBOC database. Those who are ‘cash’ payers will be encouraged to change to Direct Debit. Members will pay a £1 annual administration fee into the CBOC account. The cash payer membership cards will be received by CBOC and then passed to the GBD sub Branch committee who will collect the cash due and pay it en masse to the CBOC Treasurer. If cards are not paid for within one month of receipt CBOC will assume that, unless there are special circumstance, the individual no longer wishes to be a member and the cards will be returned to the RBL. Members will be invited to attend the CBOC AGM although they will not have a vote.
34. Finance. GBD sub Branch funds are an identifiable part of the CBOC account and funding of GBD sub Branch activities follows the same procedures as similar CBOC activities. Where applicable and allowable GBD sub Branch Committee may request CBOC Treasurer to provide donations towards RBL recognised activity such as Byng House. Pre funding GBD fundraising activity may be undertaken after agreement with CBOC Treasurer. GBD sub Branch finance will be included with CBOC Branch finance as an agenda item.
35. Branch Activity. GBD sub Branch fund raising activity and other activity will be decided by the sub Branch Committee. It is likely to include, but is not restricted to, the following:
a. Remembrance. The sub Branch runs the Poppy Appeal in their area and pay money collected direct to the Poppy Appeal. They parade with other uniformed organisations and alternate between All Saints church Granby and St Andrew’s church Langar. After the service a buffet lunch and raffle are held the costs of which are not funded from sub Branch or Poppy Appeal funds.
b. Other Activity. The sub Branch holds different fundraising activity mostly on a self-funding basis whereby organisers are reimbursed through ticket sales and the excess is paid into branch funds. The sub Branch makes it clear to those attending that the profits are going to either RBL Welfare or sub Branch administration.
36. It is hoped that GBD sub Branch will recruit sufficient members and officers to return to full Branch status by 1 Jan 2018. If that is not the case the sub Branch may disband, amalgamate with CBOC or amalgamate with another Branch.
37. Equal Opportunities. CBOC will operate as an equal opportunities organisation.
38. 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.
39. CBOC has a strong membership and a good reputation for providing what its members and the RBL want. The Branch has identified and understands the future changes to its business. It will meet these changes and challenges over the next 5 years by:
a. Maintaining a minimum of 120 members while increasing the number of ex-servicemen and servicewomen below 60 years of age.
b. Communicating regularly with its members primarily using e mail and the web sites www.britishlegion.org.ukandwww.cotgravecommunity.com , backed up by postal hard copy for those without e mail.
c. Continuing to run a series of events which will be agreed at the AGM. The events will cover: Fundraising, Remembrance, Interest and Social and will occur at about monthly intervals.
d. Establishing a wide network within the communities to raise the awareness of the RBL and the Branch and its role.
e. Supporting all 3 village communities on Remembrance Sunday.
f. Assisting the Cadet Forces to achieve their outcomes.
g. Maintaining its relationship with the 2 Cotgrave and one Colston Bassett primary schools and the Ash Lea Special school in Cotgrave in order to inform the younger generation of the role, responsibilities and sacrifices of servicemen and servicewomen.
h. Raising a minimum of £5000 from the Poppy Appeal each year.
i. Raising a minimum of £2000 from fundraising events outside the Poppy Appeal each year.
j. Identifying Welfare cases and advising and supporting them within RBL guidelines.
k. Encouraging members to take up a volunteer Welfare role.
l. Nurturing the relationship between County HQ, surrounding RBL Branches and other Welfare Organisations in order to achieve mutual support.
m. Adhering to the regulations laid down by the RBL Charity.
n. Maintaining a strong committee which will provide the structure, strategy, annual plan, control, execution and leadership.
o. Drawing up, agreeing and executing a costed plan for each year.
p. Executing the Trustee responsibilities for GBD sub Branch and undertaking all their administration and finance.
40. Strategy Updates. This 5 year strategy will help to achieve success. It may from time to time be updated to take account of changing circumstances. Any significant change to this strategy will be included as an Addendum at Annex C.
Colonel (Retired) T J LUDLAM OBE
Chairman Colston Bassett, Owthorpe and Cotgrave Branch
Royal British Legion 1 January 2015
- Branch Bi-Laws
- AGM Agenda
- Amendments to the Strategy