23 November 2016

RBLI announces support for Count Them In campaign

RBLI has announced its support for the Count Them In campaign to introduce an extra question in the 2021 census in order to help serve the needs of the veteran community.

The campaign, created by RBLI’s sister charity, calls for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to ask individuals whether they are a former member of the forces.

This comes after the revelation that it is easier under the 2011 census to keep track of those who identify their religion as “Jedi” than those who have served in the military, despite an estimated 1 in 10 forming the Armed Forces community.

RBLI’s Chief Executive, Steve Sherry CMG OBE said the amendment would help the charity develop contact with more veterans in need of support and aid many of its programmes, including LifeWorks – a five-day course which provides veterans with the information and skills needed to gain civilian employment following their service.

Brigadier Sherry, who served with the Army for 38 years added: “We currently lack an efficient system of measuring and recording the scale of the veteran community. This means that regardless of the services and facilities we at RBLI can offer, many of those who are most in need fall under the radar.

“A simple change to the upcoming census questionnaire would allow for us to offer our programmes to a far greater range of ex-service personnel.”

An independent evaluation showed that 83% of LifeWorks participants have secured sustained employment within 12 months; however with the difficulties arising from the 2011 census, it remains a struggle to reach out to veterans across the nation.

“Despite the continued success of our programmes, unless a change is made, we risk losing potential referrals and leaving many former service men and women isolated and without support. This is not acceptable so I fully support the Count Them In campaign.”

More than 200 MPs support a change in the survey which takes place every 10 years.

To find out more about the campaign or pledge your support, please visit: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/campaign/count-them-in/