Last week, Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, announced that more than 7,000 Commonwealth veterans who served with the British Armed Forces will receive two meals a day through a programme delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL).
We are thrilled that the RCEL will receive a grant of £11.8 million over a five-year period to support the initiative which spans four continents and more than 30 countries.
The Soldiers’ Charity has supported the RCEL for many years with annual grants in excess of £200,000. Working with our counterparts, The Royal British Legion, RAF Benevolent Fund and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity, we are collectively giving more than half a million per year to this fantastic cause.
Mordaunt said: “We owe a tremendous amount to these Commonwealth Veterans. The British public would be shocked to know that those who have served alongside our Armed Forces would be living in such poverty.
It is absolutely right to make this commitment. I think the British public would approve of us pledging this support because of the sacrifices the Commonwealth Veterans have made and because of the debt of gratitude we owe to them.”
RCEL Deputy Grand President and former Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO, said: “We owe a great debt to the service men and women of the Commonwealth who served in the British Armed Forces in the Second World War and afterwards prior to their countries’ independence.
This grant will help the RCEL ensure that these brave men and women are sustained and cared for in their twilight years. As important, it will let them know that they have not been forgotten and their service and sacrifice is remembered.”