looking at some large charities today, it is difficult to distinguish them from big businesses. Both have wage bills running into many millions of pounds and they look increasingly similar in both structure and attitude.
The British and Commonwealth Veterans Association is an apolitical organisation that doesn’t want to be just another burden on the hard-pressed public and do not see the accumulation of huge reserves as a charitable end in itself.
Our mission is to make ourselves unnecessary. Our goal is, ultimately, to become redundant.
Put simply, the aim of the British and Commonwealth Veterans Association is to identify every armed-forces veteran who has served since the end of the Second World War and then to ensure that every veteran has access to the services and support they need.
At present, there is no complete and up to date database of veterans anywhere. Different countries, government departments and organisations compile partial lists but there is certainly no full database.
We offer free membership of the BACVA to anyone who qualifies as a veteran. We provide information, support and access to a community of other veterans.
As well as finding out how many veterans there are and where they live, we want to support and help every single veteran.
We do this with our 4 promises to veterans:
Promise 1: We will fight for every veteran to have access to good housing, healthcare, legal representation and other vital services.
Promise 2: We will fight for every veteran to have access to training and education which will help them into jobs or further education.
Promise 3: We will ensure that every veteran is given the chance to join our association for free and that a full database of all veterans is created and maintained.
Promise 4: We will support veterans in difficulty and make sure they are given the help they need to get on their feet.
How to keep our promises
Our 4 promises are ambitious and for the long-term. Many of these issues will need structural changes to both policy and attitudes. They will also need money to achieve.
In keeping with our worldview, the BACVA will not accumulate and hold huge reserves ourselves. Our plans are to only raise enough funds directly to cover our overheads and for our campaigns.
We will also run a series of events and dinners every year to commemorate key battles and events which are not widely remembered. The first will be a dinner to commemorate Operation Nimrod, the Iranian Embassy Siege.
Instead of large-scale fundraising ourselves, we will work with other charities, large and small, to keep our promises to veterans. This could mean working with the Royal British Legion or Help for Heroes on a particular campaign or issue. Equally, it could mean working with a smaller charity that has specific expertise in one particular area.
We will always acknowledge and give credit to the charities we work with and want to forge true partnerships for the benefit of all veterans.
For too long, charities have competed against each other in this space, fighting for notoriety rather than fighting for veterans.