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What Does RAFA mean to those serving...and those who have served?

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What Does RAFA mean to those serving...and those who have served?

Old 18th Apr 2017, 16:23
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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I have to say, that I never seen such a negative bunch of comments on a what is, after all, a Service charity. Perhaps all the gripers on this thread could suggest a better way to support ex service-people through illness and old age. I feel its actually a bit of an insult to all those who walk the hard yards for wings appeal etc.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 16:35
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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I recall the RAFBF pay scheme I was in for 37 years was "a half a days pay per year". Glad to say I have not needed to call directly on their services...yet!

OAP
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 16:47
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MACH2NUMBER View Post
I have to say, that I never seen such a negative bunch of comments on a what is, after all, a Service charity. Perhaps all the gripers on this thread could suggest a better way to support ex service-people through illness and old age. I feel its actually a bit of an insult to all those who walk the hard yards for wings appeal etc.
Well, that's a fair comment. However, I guess most/many/some make a financial contribution. My sensation here is that the negativity is about the Clubs.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 16:57
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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MPN,
Were it not for the Clubs, that provide the feet on the ground, much of the financial contribution would be lost. Let's be fair to those that do all the difficult work. What other Club format apart from a social with bar would work? A pizza parlour or bistro?
Lets give the volunteers some credit.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 16:58
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Yes, I agree MPN11. I'm more than happy to contribute to the RAFBF, as I do to other charities but I'm not a 'clubby' sort of bloke, good for those who are and do a worthwhile job as well.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 17:05
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MACH2NUMBER View Post
MPN,
Were it not for the Clubs, that provide the feet on the ground, much of the financial contribution would be lost. Let's be fair to those that do all the difficult work. What other Club format apart from a social with bar would work? A pizza parlour or bistro?
Lets give the volunteers some credit.
I can only speak from my experience with RBL, after 10+ years in the 'Core Team' here. None of the workers (and we have around 800!) to my knowledge are 'Club' people. They're just supporters of a good cause ...

... as are those who help/donate during the Jersey International Air Display.

But you could never, ever, fit all those people in a RAFA Club.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 19:56
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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MPN,
RAFA and RBL both do great work. My only thought is that we do not damn "Clubs" where volunteers meet and often plan anddo great things for our Service charities.
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Old 18th Apr 2017, 20:39
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MACH2NUMBER View Post
I have to say, that I never seen such a negative bunch of comments on a what is, after all, a Service charity.
Well said M2N.

Interesting comment from MPN:
My sensation here is that the negativity is about the Clubs.
Who also said this:
...the ground floor RAFA element seems largely to be ex-National Service enjoying free beer.
Clearly not the type of people he wishes to mix with.

I'm more than happy to contribute to the RAFBF, as I do to other charities but I'm not a 'clubby' sort of bloke, good for those who are and do a worthwhile job as well.
Well said goudie, expands on the thoughts I posted.

S-D
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 06:38
  #49 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by polyglory View Post
Life member, ex RAFALO, ex Vice Chairman of a branch.
It has lost its way and I do not bother anymore.
A personal choice
I might add that I still contribute on wings appeal, and all service collecting appeals, Remembrance day etc. Member of the RBL and RSL.

23 years also paying in to Benevolent fund as well.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 07:27
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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I have shaken the tin for both RAFA and RBL over the years but only the latter now after taking a considerable amount of abuse one year during a wings appeal. Not sure why, I listened respectfully to the tirade of abuse and explained what the proceeds were used for but after the threat of physical violence I decided to hang up my tin. This was not one isolated instance that year. I have never had any abuse or rudeness with the RBL Poppy appeal.


I guess the reason why I post this is because RAFA do not sell themselves very well and never have. They do a great job but perceptions in the RAF are that members are all retired and have lost sight of the present. I guess they are, in the late 90's before I hung up my tin, we had guys who had served in the 2nd WW and every conflict since - sincere, good company and welcoming. Meetings were well managed and we had a great laugh afterwards - social events were also good fun. Sadly, the lack of membership meant that the N Wilts Clubs have reduced dramatically and there is little serving RAF interest - perceptions, hearts and minds, not sure how they are going to fix that sadly.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 08:21
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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For twenty one years I was a SSAFA caseworker and divisional secretary and as such had dealings with both RAFBF and RAFA. My perception was that the Benevolent Fund are particularly helpful. I imagine that in cases of need RAFA would ask RAFBF for further funds, though I stand to be corrected on this. Both organisations rely on SSAFA for much of their casework.

It would be interesting to hear some input from either on this thread.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 18:58
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Just a slight thread drift.

IMHO I think there are too many Mil Charities overall. I can understand individual Service Charities, but not the myriad of ones that have been created in the recent years.

While HFH raised huge amounts of cash, was it at the expense of the Service ones?

Also I am led to believe that the status of HFH meant that money could not be spent in the same manner as the individual Service Charities could.
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Old 19th Apr 2017, 19:21
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Just out of curiosity I decided to google where my closest RAFA club is.
Turns out "rafa newcastle" has entirely different relevance up here!
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 08:15
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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For what it's worth, I'd like to add to this debate. When I transferred to FTRS 4 years ago, I joined RAFA. Fair to say, it was due to a bit of pressure from a couple of old guys I know in town who are members. Without that pressure, I probably wouldn't have joined, mainly for all the reasons already expressed above. But I did, and I went along to the AGM. They were operating without a secretary, had been for 9 months or so, and no-one put themselves up to take the job on. So I volunteered. I've sec'd and chaired many meetings during my service career, so I figured it wouldn't be hard, they just needed a bit of organisation. I treated it like a secondary duty. I was right, but what I didn't count on was the frustration I'd feel trying to shake these old 'uns up.

I am one of the youngest members, and I'm still in my fifties. The majority are in their 70s or older. We have a few younger members, courtesy of RAF Leeming's successful drive to recruit serving members, but we very rarely see them in the club. There is a very good reason for this. Speaking only about my branch, it has become almost a personal drinking club for the committee. it is old-fashioned, serves one keg beer, and to be frank, isn't always the most welcoming of environments. Itís not the sort of place where the young ones want to go on a Saturday night. I have tried to change that.

The way I look at it is that RAFA is a welfare organisation and should be trying to support its (veteran) community as best it can. Membership is dwindling, as the senior cadre die off (there are very few WW2 vets frequenting the club these days). If RAFA can't recruit younger members, then it will die with its members. And that is RAFA's challenge: to change your perceptions and hopefully, your minds.

I am no longer on the committee, but I still pop in on a Saturday night now and again, for a couple of pints, more out of duty than need. And that I think says it all!
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 11:20
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Who wants to spend their evenings drinking in a bar full of sausage? Old sausage at that.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 12:06
  #56 (permalink)  
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Sadly, the lack of membership meant that the N Wilts Clubs have reduced dramatically...
...and there's the rub. Unless new members are made welcome, membership falls. My personal experience was that I wasn't welcome and I sense that many of the others making "negative comments" found the same thing.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 12:35
  #57 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder whether any of the RAFA Hierarchy will find this Thread? Should they be alerted to it?

Or would they just regard it as a bunch of old blokes muttering into their beer/wine?
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 15:57
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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MPN 11 - Secretary General is aware and I understand may post here
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 16:08
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Wander00 View Post
MPN 11 - Secretary General is aware and I understand may post here
Good news ..l thanks.
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Old 20th Apr 2017, 19:58
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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I think that Fatjoff has captured the central issue:

I am one of the youngest members, and I'm still in my fifties. The majority are in their 70s or older. We have a few younger members, courtesy of RAF Leeming's successful drive to recruit serving members, but we very rarely see them in the club. There is a very good reason for this. Speaking only about my branch, it has become almost a personal drinking club for the committee. it is old-fashioned, serves one keg beer, and to be frank, isn't always the most welcoming of environments. Itís not the sort of place where the young ones want to go on a Saturday night. I have tried to change that
However it is not confined to RAFA or RBL clubs. The whole of the private club sector has been in decline for many years. The Workingmens Clubs, Miners Welfare, Works Institute or factory social club have been disappearing quite rapidly. All catered for an older age group and were reluctant to change their product. Cheap beer is no longer the draw it was when the competition is Wetherspoons. you can watch Premier League at home with a case of Stella from Tesco, no need to go to a run down pub to see it. Management has been a major issue in a lot of cases.

Industrial related clubs that were run by companies were mainly sold off to their members who then carried on as if nothing had changed. But what had changed was to deductions for "the social" were no longer being made by the company and the reserves were no longer being replenished. Some of them burned through cash at an alarming rate abetted by committees that didn't understand that "non-profit making" is not the same as "not making a profit". Nothing was put aside for investment or the "rainy day".

Of late many of the surviving clubs have become the target for speculators; certainly those that are asset rich (property and land) but cash poor. A "friendly" business offers to help and provides much needed capital, but when the returns fail to materialise it is with "much regret" that they have to foreclose and take possession of the property.

The problem that RAFA has is to reinvent itself and it is a big problem. RBL faces much the same problem with respect to its branches but has the advantage of a much stronger "brand" in its Poppy logo. Whilst some may criticise some of the newer service charities such as Help for Heroes you cannot criticise how they have projected themselves. The apparent simplicity of its offering and the stretcher bearer image was inspired.

So whither RAFA? I have no answers other that it is probably a waste of effort to try and save struggling clubs. RBL have tried this and it met with very limited success. If pushed I would suggest that RAFA's future lies in local charitable help and practical assistance.

YS
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