Wounded British soldiers criticize military charity

This video from Britain says about itself:

Dec 11, 2009

Salma Yaqoob defends British soldiers and innocent Afghan civilians against a war which has been irresponsibly and badly managed, left our troops with little protection, security and safety; and seems to have no end in sight.

Salma makes reference to Birmingham’s soldiers and their families, highlighting the concerns of wounded soldiers recovering at Selly Oak Hospital in her home city.

“I’m from Birmingham, we have Selly Oak Hospital there and I’m not surprised that more than half of the soldiers, when Gordon Brown visited in September, simply shut their curtains because they feel so let down and I think its an absolute disgrace that the Ministry of Defence is actually pursuing wounded soldiers in court to get back compensation; so the idea that you [Bill Rammell, Ministry of Defence] support them and value them is absolute nonsense.

“I’m a mother; I have three sons, I would be proud to have my sons defend this country. My issue though is why are we betraying the professionalism, bravery and commitment of our troops by sending them on an ill-conceived and doomed mission in the first place.”

By Harvey Thompson in Britain:

Wounded UK soldiers criticise Help for Heroes charity

16 August 2012

The military charity Help for Heroes has been criticised by some of the UK’s most badly wounded soldiers and their families for spending money on expensive buildings rather than everyday care.

The complaints were uncovered in a report by the BBC Newsnight programme and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) into state and charity provision for injured troops.

The investigation surveyed 902 military charities in England. With an annual income of almost £700 million, the BIJ calculated that the charities combined hold a £1 billion “war chest” of cash reserves.

According to the BIJ, “The total value of the military charity sector is likely to be greater than the figures suggest because hundreds of charities have not submitted full financial accounts to regulators. More than half of the charities analysed had only disclosed basic data, while some had failed to make any information available at all.”

The Newsnight programme concentrated on Help for Heroes, probably the most high-profile charity raising funds for wounded soldiers.

It was established in October 2007 by Bryn Parry and his wife, Emma. Parry had served with the Royal Green Jackets for 10 years before leaving to become a cartoonist and is now the CEO of the charity. Help for Heroes was launched after a meeting with General Sir Richard Dannatt, then chief of the General Staff, the head of the British Army.

The proclaimed aim of Help for Heroes is “Supporting those wounded in the service of our country during recent conflicts.” Its campaigns and money-raising events are a feature of life on Britain’s high streets, pubs and social clubs in particular.

More than 600 UK soldiers have been killed in the wars and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan. The number of wounded British soldiers from Afghanistan alone is now approaching 6,000. Some of these involve horrific brain injuries and multiple amputations.

Among the corporate trustees of Help for Heroes are Steve Harman, vice president of the oil conglomerate Shell, and Tony Schofield, a partner in the Consulting division of Deloitte, the world’s second largest privately owned professional services firm.

The charity has attracted the support of much of the media, most notably the Murdoch-owned The Sun and the Sunday Times.

The rapid promotion of the charity, through a series of high-profile sporting and popular music events as well as supermarket product placement, has been consciously used to counter widespread anti-war sentiment. Bryn and Emma Parry were both awarded with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for their “services to charity” in November 2010.

The BBC Newsnight/BIJ investigation is the first public criticism of how the charity allocates funds from the £141 million it has raised to date. It shows how public sympathy for the fate of war veterans, many of whom are forced to rely on inadequate state and personal resources to deal with their injuries, are being cynically manipulated to fund Ministry of Defence projects.

Newsnight reported, “Recently discharged and serving wounded troops and their families said that, despite extra government money and the hundreds of millions of pounds raised by military charities every year, they are still not getting the help they need.

“The investigation has uncovered examples of wounded veterans having to pay for physiotherapy and for prosthetic limbs which meet their requirements and reports of amputees with ill-fitting prostheses being told to pad their stumps with multiple pairs of socks.”

USA: Peace Laureates Call on NBC to Cancel New Show: ‘War Isn’t Entertainment’. Critics say show promotes an “inglorious tradition of glorifying war and armed violence”: here.

5 thoughts on “Wounded British soldiers criticize military charity

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