Dear Royal British Legion

Where do I begin?

We are an ex-forces family having a tiny Christmas this year and worrying about where we will live and how we will pay bills in the New Year.  This is as a result of what you would call restructuring and I would call heartlessness.

I still find it hard to stomach that you could recruit to advice and welfare-related posts whilst at the same time throwing numerous loyal and long-serving staff out of work telling them they were redundant.

As an organisation you claim to be there for Forces and ex-forces families and yet since September when my husband became unemployed at your hands we have not had a single enquiry from your charity about how we are coping and if any help can be given.  Not even at this special time of year.

If you can’t care for former loyal employees who are also ex-services, it does make me question how genuine your interest in service personnel really is.  Why should they pay the price of your mismanagement of funds raised through the Poppy Appeal?

I know you don’t care but should you happen to come across this letter, here is our story since you told my husband he was to be made redundant.

My husband tried to look for work and your management made this very difficult to do resenting every interview he went to and trying to block him going to them against your own written policies on occasion.

Apparently the only reference you will provide is confirmation of dates of employment which immediately signals to a potential employer that there was misconduct.  The only misconduct in my view in this situation is from your organisation in letting so many people down.

My children have worried about having to leave their schools and friends for my husband to find work.

There have been many tears.

I have actually thanked my lucky stars that my war veteran Dad who lived with us died before all this happened or his welfare would be at such risk and I know he would be appalled by your actions.  He would have cancelled his membership.  Of that you can be sure.

Family members and friends chose not to buy poppies this year knowing our story.  I did not ask them to do this.  It was their choice.

I have turned to comfort-eating and put on weight just when I was having real success with weight loss.  My fault, a minor thing in the grand scheme of things and yet one of the effects of my husband’s redundancy and the stress placed on our family as a result of it.

A marriage has been tested as financial pressures have increased.

Since leaving your employ, my husband has travelled thousands of miles in search of work and has laid out such a lot of money on travel to interviews where potential employers would not cover travel expenses.

He remains without work.

I have resolved that this is the last time I will mention you on my blog.  You may rob of us of our security but I will not give you the power to reduce us to nothing.

My husband has a lot of experience and skills.  I fully expect these to be recognised with a new job in 2014.  I think the fact that he felt so down and abused by your actions has had an adverse impact on his interviews.

As you can see, I have communication skills and will put these to good use in 2014 to move our family forward.

We will have a Christmas filled with the important things – life, laughter and love.

I feel sorry for those who support you not knowing the full story and the cuts you are making to welfare support for service and ex-service personnel.

Your website claims you provide practical care, advice and support to the Armed Forces family all year round.  Is that with the exception of ex-forces staff who have served you well?  I remember the long hours my husband worked including evenings and weekends on occasion.  I remember Christmas Eves sitting waiting for him to come home because he was putting your organisation and its clients first.  Shame on you for treating him and others so badly.

You may be able to silence traditional media outlets but you will not silence me.

 

 

 

 

 

I am half hoping nobody reads this as I feel awful about keep going on and on about the tough stuff.

I know so many people are facing harder times but we are struggling a bit to keep upbeat all the time with this so-and-so ing redundancy situation.

We have both had redundancy situations in the past but always because of funding issues in the charities we worked for.  That is hard but not hurtful as in the current situation where the Royal British Legion have dumped my husband after so many years of loyal service and whilst recruiting other staff to do very similar roles (they would argue that point of course).

My husband has had two weeks of travelling up and down the UK trying to find work.  Interviews most days and sometimes twice a day.  No job offer and he is clearly struggling emotionally.  And he hates that.   He is not a person who is comfortable in sharing his feelings so they get bottled up and then express themselves in anger and impatience.

He is tired.  He is worried about finances.

The final straw came when we were told our car can only be put back on the road if we spend £1000 or more.  We need the car really to attend interviews.  Also it is my late Dad’s car and somehow that still matters to me.

I feel like I am walking on egg shells.

And I am a proud person who does not react well when I feel got at or put down.  To much like my late Mum in that regard.

Am I the most supportive wife in the world?  No – I have always been better at taking practical action to help rather than doing the “there, there” stuff.

Also when someone struggles to tell you how they feel, it is hard to know quite how to support them.

So I have put my efforts into trawling job sites and helping with job applications (quite a lot as it goes).

I am also trying to find bits of work for me to keep the wolf from the door.

There is also the underlying resentment that I was not listened to when I saw the warning signs that my husband would have been better to jump ship from the Legion months or years ago.  That makes me rotten I know but it is there and sometimes it is expressed by me in perhaps not the most ideal ways.

I have suggested my husband sees the GP.  He is probably depressed and maybe needs a little help for now.

How terrible of me who has experienced depression to not have a clue what to say or do to support someone in its grip.

We will be OK in the medium to long-term.  We have to hold onto that belief but sometimes it is hard to do.