Royal British Legion Industries was set up in 1919 to provide essential support to troops returning from the First World War with tuberculosis. Today, it supports more than 11,000 people every year through housing, employment, welfare support throughout the UK.
The charity operates an intergenerational village, providing a home to more than 300 veterans and their families through a range of emergency, family and care accommodation from its village in Aylesford, Kent.
On 6th November 2019 to mark RBLI’s centenary, Her Majesty the Queen officially opened the new Appleton Lodge care facility and launched the second phase of the charity’s Centenary Village housing project. The campaign to build the Centenary Village – a veterans’ community comprising further family homes, assisted-living apartments and a community centre, is well underway and will see RBLI support hundreds of the most in-need ex-servicemen and women every year for another century.
RBLI also operates two social enterprise factories, Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, at the heart of the original RBLI village, and Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company in Erskine, near Glasgow. Together the two social enterprises employ more than 120 people – 70% of whom are veterans, have a disability or both. Both factories remained operational during the pandemic, being declared as key workers for their essential work creating road and rail signs for crucial infrastructure projects, and wooden pallets for the transport of food and ventilators.
During 2020, the BBMC factory team produced more than 30,000 Tommy soldier figures, encouraging the British public to place them in their window for the 75th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day, helping to raise more than £1,000,000 for their fellow veterans in the process.
Most recently the charity launched the Tommy Club, a national support club that sees champions rise through bronze, silver and gold ranks, raising crucial funds for military veterans and helping them into work.
Headed by club president former head of the British Army General the Lord Richard Dannatt and with England football captain Harry Kane and SAS veteran Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham amongst its ambassadors, the project has raised more than £150,000.