May We Tell Your Story to Encourage Others to Come Forward?

Have you, or someone you know, been helped by the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund? We'd be ever so grateful if you would get in touch so that we could tell your story to encourage others to come forward.

We understand that some people are reticent to ask for help, and providing reassurance in the form of sensitively written case studies might just give them enough courage to get in touch with us and ask for help if they are in need, hardship or distress.

And, of course, we also understand that there may be certain aspects of your story that you might wish to keep private, so we promise to be sensitive to this and only to tell the parts of your story that you are comfortable making public.

Our single biggest challenge as a charity is reaching out to those in need of assistance. We really do need your help in this regard, both by spreading the word that we are here to help those who once served, and their dependants, and by encouraging them to come forward.

If you think you might be able to help others in this way, please get in touch by dropping an email to info@rocbf.org.uk

Thank you.

Christopher

Christopher Howard
Chairman of the Managing Trustees
The Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund

Looking Back - Looking Forward

January is always a good time for the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund to reflect on its activities; it is the charity’s year-end and we are into the report writing season.  Last year was quite a momentous one for anniversaries, and a busy one for the ROC Association and their Heritage Team.  The 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain had national significance.  It raised the profile of the Observer Corps and their role in the conflict, with a generation learning about our heritage, rather than having experienced it. 

Another reminder about the ROC’s work was evident on the Royal Air Force Concert Tour, where the Corps’ march ‘Skywatch’ was featured in all of their UK concerts.  The Chief of the Air Staff was present at the ceremony in St Clement Danes church in London in October, for the final Laying-up of the Sovereign’s Banner of the Royal Observer Corps; taken from RAF College Cranwell, twenty years after it had been lodged there when the Corps was stood down and exactly ninety years since its formation.

All of those events marked things from the Corps’ service in days past and gained us good publicity.  However, there is another element of the ROC that continues to serve now, and into the future.  The ROC Benevolent Fund is still here, serving many thousands of former ROC members in the community.  The major challenge we have at the Fund is to ensure that we are known about by former members, or their dependents, in need.

We know that many are not aware of our continuing existence.  Much of last year’s activity has helped to raise our profile, as well as that of the Royal Observer Corps itself.  Much of that has also reached the friends and families of former members.  In support of all that good publicity we launched a new ROCBF website last year and new social media platforms, to build on the publicity and help spread the word about our work. 

The number of applications for assistance continues to be lower than we would expect, and has been for a few years now, based on previous figures.   We know that we are very accessible but we need to shout louder, and we need YOU to shout louder too, about us and our work.  Our main task in 2016, as ever, will be to process cases for the benefit of former members in need, hardship or distress.  Of equal importance, will be our efforts to reach out to the many thousands of those that served in the ROC, and their dependents, who don’t realise that we are still here to help.  We are not seeking funds, just your help with reaching out, so that we can continue to serve those that once served.

Christopher Howard, Chairman of the Managing Trustees

Stay Safe - Avoid Fraudsters and Con Artists

We were recently contacted by a former member of the Royal Observer Corps - an elderly gentleman - who had fallen victim to fraudsters who had managed to steal his account details by pretending to be from his bank. He lost a good deal of money, but was also understandably emotionally shaken by the events and mortified that he had been so easily deceived.

There is plenty of advice available to help people avoid online fraudsters who attempt to steal of 'phish' for account details, or those who knock at the front door or use the telephone to target their victims.

We were able to help this gentleman get his affairs in order, but the best defence is not to be caught out in the first place. Take a look at this excellent advice page from Age UK:

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/money…/consumer-advice/scams-advice/

ROC Banner Lodge-out Ceremony at RAF College Cranwell

13 October 2015

The Royal Observer Corps Banner, which had been proudly lodged in the Rotunda in Royal Air Force College Cranwell since 1995, began its journey to the formal laying-up in St Clement Danes Church.

In a fitting and poignant ceremony, the Banner was paraded by the RAF College Cranwell Standard Party from the Rotunda Gallery, where it was met by officials and spectators.

After the College Padre had provided the blessing, Mr Terry Giles - a former member of the Royal Observer Corp and Deputy Chairman of the Royal Observer Corps Benevolent Fund - addressed the spectators with a few words about the Royal Observer Corps history.

The Banner was then ceremoniously handed over to the College Warrant Officer to begin the next stage of its journey ahead of the formal laying-up ceremony at St Clement Danes, the Church of the Royal Air Force, on 23 October 2015.

You can see pictures of this event at the ROCBF flickr gallery here