Having led the M&S relationship with The Royal British Legion for several years now, and knowing how much resonance they have with our customers and employees it’s been amazing seeing our partnership grow to have a target of donating £750,000 this year. What adds to the excitement is being able to see how our funding is spent at the opening of the Legion’s first London ‘Pop In’ Centre
, what a great name with the Poppy sitting right by it! This is where we’ll see the real impact on the High Street vital funding generated by M&S, helping to put The Legion, a national charity, in touch with local communities.
Being invited to this launch of a 'Pop in' Advice and Information Centre in the heart of the city I felt so proud to stand alongside the military personnel and local beneficiaries.
Based on the bustling Borough High Street, it is one of 16 brand new centres that the Legion will open in major cities across the UK, as part of its biggest ever transformation to make its work more accessible to the Armed Forces community and the public.
The centre was officially opened by Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, who was invited to cut the ribbon. Following the opening, we were invited to explore the new Advice and Information Centre and meet with current and former Service personnel, Legion beneficiaries, members and volunteers.
The centre looked fabulous, very bright and contemporary, offering a welcoming space for Service personnel and veterans to get practical help and advice, and for members of the public to find out more about the wide range of services and community activities provided by the Legion. They also work collaboratively with their partner charities making office space available to Combat Stress and Regular Forces Employment Association. Through this collaborative approach the aim is to provide a more seamless beneficiary service.
The money raised through M&S stores will go towards the Legion’s grants programme which is delivered through these new centres. M&S will fund things such as employment support to aid transition from the forces into civilian life as well as practical home help for things like grab rails and mobility scooters for injured or elderly veterans.
We’ve also helped the centres get on their feet by providing vouchers for start up packs with things like crockery, cutlery, and of course providing delicious food and drink for the day.