When and why did H4H start?
In the summer of 2007 Bryn and Emma wanted to do their bit to help the wounded. Their son was due to join the Army and, as an ex Serviceman himself, Bryn was in touch with his old Regiment, The Royal Green Jackets (now the Rifles), and hearing about the level of casualties. With an idea for a fundraising bike ride, Bryn and Emma met General Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, and he suggested that they focus their fundraising efforts on helping to provide a swimming pool at Headley Court, the Tri Service Rehabilitation Centre near Epsom in Surrey. As the pool was a capital project, they were unable to fundraise for existing service charities such as SSAFA Forces Help or the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) whose charitable objects did not include such projects. Therefore, on 7th September 2007, they asked their solicitors to form a charity and, with seed corn funding from ABF, launched Help for Heroes on 1st October 2007.
Is H4H a charity?
Yes, H4H is registered in England and Wales as a charity, number 1120920, and as a company limited by guarantee, number 6363256. There are currently six members of the charity, the Trustees, who are responsible to the Charity Commission for good governance. H4H is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association.
What are H4H’s charitable objects?
Charitable objects define what a charity may or may not do and are policed by the Charity Commission.
The charity’s objects are to assist persons who are currently serving or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their dependants, by any lawful charitable purpose at the discretion of the Trustees and in particular, but not exclusively:
- To promote and protect the health of those who have been wounded whilst serving in the Armed Forces by making grants to purchase equipment for their rehabilitation, and
- To make grants to other charities that assist members of the Armed Forces and their dependents.
Their current grants policy is to look for strategic partners that are developing the rehabilitation infrastructure required by those Servicemen and women injured in the line of duty, both in action and in more general service. Mindful of the work of other service charities, they currently restrict their grant making to support those affected by the current conflicts, i.e since 9/11.
Can you give some examples of what they do with the funds?
H4H sees an individual on a ‘Road to Recovery’ that starts with him/her coming back from operations, probably to Selly Oak, then to Headley Court and then on the journey through life. They want to support him/her and his/her family, on every step of the way, funding services and facilities that give him or her the very best chance of a fulfilling and happy future. They do this by funding their strategic partners.
Their funds have been used to build capital projects like the £8m H4H Rehabilitation Complex at Headley Court or the £3.5m treatment centre at Combat Stress.
Grants towards the delivery of support services.
They have partnered SSAFA- Forces Help with a £500,000 grant to provide two Relatives’ houses at Selly Oak and Headley Court, and granted Erskine over £750,000 to support the Personnel Recovery Centre at Edinburgh.
Services and activities.
They help support Battle Back adventure training for the wounded. Further along the road, the individuals may spend some time in one of our Personnel Recovery Centres (£20m) or benefit from their funding on an Individual Recovery Programme (£15m).
Their £5m Quick Reaction Fund (QRF), administered through the three service benevolent charities, enables them to get support to individuals in need, whether they are wounded themselves or it is their dependents who have been injured.
Why do they have to do this, surely it is the job of the Government to look after its people?
It is and they do. The MOD provides our Servicemen and women with the necessary support but frankly, there is never enough money to do everything they would like. H4H want to help our boys and girls so, if we are prepared to run races, climb mountains, swim, cycle, bake cakes and do all the other crazy things we do in support of our blokes to provide additional support, then the Armed Forces are happy to accept H4H’s contribution.
Are they criticizing the way the Government supports the blokes?
No, they are non judgmental. If they fundraise for our local hospital’s CAT scanner or Air Ambulance then they do it because they want to help enhance facilities. It is not an implicit criticism of the NHS; it is a welcome additional facility.
Is H4H politically motivated?
No, H4H is strictly non political and accepts that wars happen under any government. H4H seeks to support those people wounded in war, not to criticise the reasons for those conflicts. They accept that wars happen, that they are brutal and that Servicemen and women are injured. They can’t prevent that but they can help them recover and that is their focus. They are a fundraising organisation that seeks to support our blokes; it’s as simple as that.
Does H4H support political parties?
No, Help for Heroes is strictly non-political. They have no affiliation with any political party and they do not endorse the use of their name, their brand or their images for the promotion of any political viewpoint. The money that they raise at Help for Heroes is used to support wounded Servicemen and women of every colour and creed and they strongly oppose any individual or political party who believes otherwise, and those who seek to use the charity’s name for their own political gain.
Do they support individuals?
Yes, everyone who benefits from their funding is of course an individual. They do not discriminate between those wounded in action or on training, male or female, race or service; they just want our funds to help ‘the blokes’, the men and women of our Armed Forces. Their funds are used in all sorts of ways, from the big projects like the Headley Court Rehab Complex to the smaller provision of a juice machine in the ward. Individuals have received help from their funding, administered by one of their strategic partners, from help with improvements to housing, rent for a widow or financial assistance to a Dad. The only thing is that they do not do it directly from H4H to the individual; instead they ask their partners (the experts) to administer the money while they concentrate on fundraising and grant giving.
Why have they not built anything yet in Scotland, Ireland and Wales? Are they a charity just for England?
No, they are a nationwide charity serving the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom. All those who serve will benefit from their funding equally, whether they come from Arbroath, Birmingham, Lands End, Barry Island, Fiji or any other county or country from where our boys and girls originate.
If they help fund a building in Edinburgh or Plymouth it is because the Chiefs of the Armed Forces ask them to do so. They raise the funds and help where they ask them to.
It is always worth remembering that Scottish soldiers serve in Kent, Cornish Marines are in Scotland, Welsh Soldiers are in Hampshire and London Airmen are in East Anglia. They fundraise nationally for our nation’s boys and girls and help where they are directed.
They seem to do a lot for the Army. Are they an Army charity?
No, they support all members of the Armed Forces equally. Each patient is given the same support, regardless of unit or service. Sadly, the soldiers of the Army and the Marines of the Royal Navy currently make up most of the casualties so much of their work is directed towards them.
Why don’t they support Servicemen from former wars before 9/11?
They had to start somewhere and there are literally hundreds of wonderful organisations already providing support to the veterans of earlier wars. Those veterans are equally our heroes, but H4H funds are limited and they are already cared for. After each major conflict, charities are set up to help those who are damaged as a result: The Royal British Legion in the aftermath of World War 1 and The Army Benevolent Fund in 1944 for example. Help for Heroes was set up in order to help those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan today.
Why does H4H call Servicemen and women “Heroes”; surely they are just doing their jobs and know the risks?
They consider that anyone who volunteers to join the Armed Forces, knowing that one day they may have to risk all, is a hero. That’s it; simple.
How come they sell merchandise? Surely charities are not allowed to carry out trading activities?
Correct, H4H does not carry out any trading activities. When they launched, they decided to set up Help for Heroes Trading Company Ltd (H4HT) – a wholly owned trading subsidiary that sells gift products or allows the use of their logo to raise funds. The profits from H4HT cover all of their operating costs, both from the charity and the trading company, as well as making the biggest annual donation. This means that when someone gives H4H a donation, it all goes to the cause, not to costs, and that has to be good.
Is the publicity surrounding H4H taking away from the longer-term, established Service charities?
No, in fact the publicity has meant that all the service charities have benefitted considerably from the focus on this generation’s wounded and all report that their income has increased as a result. In addition, they have both supported many charities with funds and helped in joint fundraising partnerships, notably the X Factor song Hero which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds that they shared with The Royal British Legion.
Why did H4H buy Bmycharity?
In line with their policy to get the very best value for their donating supporters, H4H bought Bmycharity in order to be able to provide their fundraisers with an online, commission free donations service. They cover the costs by saving themselves the commission they would otherwise be paying to other providers who have to charge for their services. Now H4H have it, they are delighted to be able to offer the same service to other charities if they wish to use it, with no strings attached. Check out the [21:21] page here.