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News Report Page 6 of 17
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News reports located on this page = 4.

Royal British Legion Responds to Changing Nature of Armed Forces Community

FOR nearly 100 years The Royal British Legion has supported the British Armed Forces community, providing practical help and campaigning on their behalf. As the charity looks ahead to its centenary, the Legion is exploring how it can best adapt to meet the needs of today's Armed Forces community and be fit for purpose for the next 100 years.

The way in which the Legion has grown and developed over its 98 year history has left a modern day organisation that, while effective, has a disparate nature. As part of a strategy review, the Legion is looking at how it is structured, and if charitable funds are being spent effectively on the greatest needs of those who are seeking help. With responsibilities for welfare support, campaigning and Remembrance the work of the charity is wide ranging, and the review will consider options for the future across all 3 areas.

The Armed Forces community is changing, and the type of support needed is growing increasingly complex. Since 2016 the charity has seen a 20% increase in people needing basic support with housing, financial issues, mental health and well being and mobility. In this time, the average expenditure per household through the Legion's immediate needs funding has risen 45% from ₤900 to ₤1330. Also, in recent years the regulatory framework in which charities operate has rightly become more robust to ensure organisations operate to the highest standards. However, regulatory changes including the introduction of the Fundraising Regulator and General Data Protection Regulation have increased pressure on the charity's existing resources.

The Legion is taking action to evolve in line with the changing environment and meet the complex needs of the people we support. Under our emerging strategy the Legion will refocus resource to be as effective as possible in welfare provision whilst enhancing regional and local campaigning and Remembrance activities.

Proposals include investing more in personalised support, strengthening collaborative work by funding external specialist and localised organisations, and reinvigorating the charity's care work with older veterans. The Legion is now consulting with staff members about proposals on whether to close the charity's four hotels and discontinue its home maintenance service, as both areas of support are available through other providers or more cost effective means.

The Royal British Legion's Director General, Charles Byrne, said:- "The community we serve and our supporters deserve the very best from us, and it is our responsibility to ensure the Legion is providing relevant services that meet the needs of today's Armed Forces community, and that the generous donations given to us by the public are used in the most impactful way. We are taking this opportunity to make the Legion fit for the next 100 years. People are coming to us with multiple needs where simply providing transactional support is not the long term solution. We are seeing desperate people at their lowest ebb, people that can't afford to pay their rent or feed their families, and we must prioritise our funds based on the most urgent calls for help. We are putting forward proposals to ensure the charity can address the challenges ahead of us. These include increasing resource in order to better personalise our support and build plans to fit each individual's needs, bolstering our care services for older members of our community, and grant funding external organisations who are providing specialist or localised support which meet the needs of our community in a way the Legion cannot through our existing services. However, to start more of this work we do need to stop doing something else, which has led us to put forward proposals on our four hotels and home maintenance service. We do not make these proposals lightly and we are well aware of the impact the proposals could have on our staff who have made hugely valuable contributions to the charity's work. Over the coming months we will be ensuring our staff's voices are heard and that they play a vital part in the decisions that we face."

Throughout its history the Legion has responded to the changes in the Armed Forces community and the landscape the charity operates within. Discussing these proposals is a necessary step for the Legion in order to adapt and help the Armed Forces community tackle their toughest challenges today.

The current proposals form part of a wider programme of work as the Legion creates a new strategy to ensure the charity is having the greatest impact, making the most of its resources, and evolving in line with changes around us. Consultation around the Legion's current proposals is expected to last until early 2020, when the decisions will be announced.

We would like to know what out readers think about this? Please email us your thoughts and views to our Newsroom at:- News24@SouthportReporter.Com.

Are you going to the Octave Choir's "Christmas Favourites" concert?

THE Ainsdale based Octave Choir and Guests will be holding a Christmas event on Saturday, 14 December 2019, from 7:30pm, at St John's Church, Ainsdale. Tickets are ₤5 and can be obtained via calling Sue Hughes on:- 01704 576482 or Lesley Phipps on:- 07779018115. Refreshments and bar will be available on the night. If you do not know who the Octave Choir are, they perform a variety of music, ranging from choral arrangements of popular classics, through show tunes to light classical. Most of our performances take place within the Southport area and raise money for various charitable causes, like St John's Church, Ainsdale. For more information please visit:- OctaveChoir.Co.UK.

Children's Nursery and Director found to have been misleading TPR and avoiding paying pensions for their staff?

MERSEYSIDE based Sulouste Ltd, who moved their registered office from 5 the Crescent, Waterloo Park, Crosby, to Nazeby Avenue, Crosby, back in June 2019, when Mrs. Christine Moore became a person with significant control was taken to Court by The Pensions Regulator (TPR). Since then, the Pre-School Nursery and its main Director have been ordered to pay ₤8,200 for failing to comply with their Pension duties and for misleading TPR by falsely claiming staff had been put into a Pension.

At Brighton Magistrates' Court, on 20 November 2019, Sulouste Ltd, which trades as Tiny Hearts Day Nursery, on Victoria Rd, Waterloo, was sentenced for wilfully failing to enrol staff into a pension scheme and the Director, Christine Moore, for providing TPR with false and misleading information. The defendants pleaded guilty to the 2 charges at the same Court, on 13 November 2019. In a false declaration of compliance, Mrs. Moore told TPR that her company had automatically enrolled 13 Nursery staff. However, after an alert from a whistleblower and an investigation by TPR, it emerged that while a pension scheme had been set up, no staff had been automatically enrolled.

Sentencing the company and Mrs. Moore, District Judge Teresa Szagun said:- "The mistake of failing to comply has a detrimental impact not only on the individual employee, but also on society as a whole."

Darren Ryder, Director of Automatic Enrolment at TPR, said:- "This outcome is another clear warning to employers that they must comply with their automatic enrolment duties and ensure staff receives the pension they are entitled to. While the vast majority of employers do the right thing, we will take action against the small number that flout the law and risk the retirements of savers."

Sulouste Ltd, which is based in Waterloo, Merseyside, pleaded guilty to wilfully failing to comply with its automatic enrolment duties under section 45 of the Pensions Act 2008. Mrs. Moore, 60, of Merseyside, who is the main Director of Sulouste Ltd, pleaded guilty to recklessly providing TPR with false and misleading information.

Judge Szagun fined Mrs. Moore ₤833 and an additional ₤83 victim's surcharge was added. Sulouste Ltd was fined ₤4,915 and was ordered to pay a victim's surcharge of ₤170 together with prosecution costs of ₤2,200.

Did you know? The maximum sentence for each charge at a Magistrates' Court is an unlimited fine. Also, did you know that:- the TPR is the regulator of work based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members' benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR's functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

The cost of your Christmas lights displays; homeowners call in professional help spending thousands

TRADESPERSON comparison site,, has looked at the true cost of a Christmas lights display outside your home and how much you could be forking out this festive season once the dust has settled at the end of December 2019. looked the cost of buying the lights, the energy costs of running these lights for just six hours a day for the month of December, and even the cost of hiring someone to put your display up professionally.  On the most basic level, an average number of 900 fairy lights will cost you as much as ₤115 and running these lights over Christmas will cos about ₤10 in electriCity, a total of ₤125. If you were to hire someone to take the stress out of the ordeal and put them up for you, a couple of hours work will cost you ₤60 via the average handyman, bringing the cost to ₤185 in total; not a great deal to pay to spread some festive cheer.  Go a little further and bump up your festive wattage with 2,500 lights and this cost increases to just over ₤500, or ₤430 if you decide to tackle the meters of cable without the help of a professional handyman to do it for you. But for those who really want to push the sleigh out, a display with around 15,000 lights will set you back ₤3,500, while the month's electriCity bill will increase by roughly ₤167, and such a task would require another ₤180 to put them up professionally. All in all, the bill could top nearly ₤3,900 or ₤3,687 without professional help. Founder and CEO of, Tarquin Purdie, commented:- "Much like Halloween, the amount being spent on Christmas light displays has snowballed over the years. There has always been that odd house that goes above and beyond but we're seeing even the most amateur display become more complex and advanced with more products now easily available and hundreds, if not thousands, spent to bring their visions to life. It's certainly one job that we rarely saw come through in previous years, but now homeowners are going to such lengths to light up their homes over Christmas that they are having to call in professional tradespeople in order to help. This can range from electricians to ensure the safety of their wiring, to builders for a bespoke structure to hang them off and even handymen to help with the labour involved and to get into those hard to reach places in high up spaces."

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