Sol­diers de­serve more

The Daily Telegraph - - Letters to the editor -

When donors give to char­i­ties, they ex­pect every last penny to go to well-run ser­vices. There­fore, the Char­ity Com­mis­sion’s in­quiry into sev­eral or­gan­i­sa­tions set up to help sol­diers makes for dis­turb­ing read­ing: money raised be­ing re­tained by pro­fes­sional fundrais­ers, a lack of safe­guards, com­plaints about ag­gres­sive fundrais­ing tac­tics and, worst of all, sol­diers po­ten­tially let down by bad prac­tice. It’s im­por­tant to stress that many or­gan­i­sa­tions are do­ing su­perb work, mo­ti­vated by the very best of in­ten­tions. But the sec­tor clearly needs over­sight, to re­tain public faith and make sure help goes where it is most needed.

This news­pa­per has cam­paigned long and hard to raise aware­ness of what sol­diers go through on the bat­tle­field and what they have to cope with when they re­turn home. The num­ber of veter­ans seek­ing help for both phys­i­cal and men­tal ail­ments has in­creased dra­mat­i­cally in the past cou­ple of years, a sad fact that nev­er­the­less comes with a sil­ver lin­ing – it means more peo­ple are talk­ing openly about their prob­lems.

This week a new ini­tia­tive was an­nounced be­tween the Royal fam­ily and the Min­istry of De­fence that will see the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge and Prince Harry ex­pand their cam­paign against the stigma of men­tal ill­ness into the Armed Forces. A lot of good is be­ing done, and it’s in or­der to pro­tect that good that full con­fi­dence in the char­i­ta­ble sec­tor must be re­stored.

The Bri­tish public un­der­stands that it owes its sol­diers an enor­mous debt of thanks. In turn, donors ob­vi­ously and justly ex­pect those char­i­ties to do their best when they seek to help Bri­tain’s finest men and women.

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