THE BURMA STAR ASSOCIATION

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REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS YEAR ENDED: 31 DECEMBER 2014 CHARITY NO: The objects of the Association shall be to relieve need, hardship or distress among those men and women who served in His
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REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS YEAR ENDED: 31 DECEMBER 2014 CHARITY NO: The objects of the Association shall be to relieve need, hardship or distress among those men and women who served in His Majesty s or Allied Forces or in the Nursing Services in the Burma Campaign of the war or otherwise are entitled to be holders of the Burma Star or the Pacific Star with Burma clasp and/or among the widows, widowers or dependants of such men and women. Contents Reference and administrative information 3 Report of the Trustees and Council 4 Report of the independent examiner 11 Statement of financial activities 12 Balance sheet 13 Notes forming part of the financial statements Reference and Administrative Information Patron HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT Vice Patron The Countess Mountbatten of Burma CBE CD JP DL Trustees The Hon Mark Slim Chairman Air Chief Marshal Sir John Day KCB OBE BSc RAF Richard Nunneley Rear Admiral Chris Clayton RN Jeremy Archer President The Viscount Slim OBE DL Vice President G Walford Hughes MBE Council JHF Giddings MBE Chairman and South Eastern Area Mrs A Jay North Eastern Area VB Knibb Vice Chairman & South Eastern Area Mrs L Low Scottish Area Mrs GS Longhurst FCA Treasurer Ms A Paterson Midlands Area WJ Oates Royal Navy Representative G Rice South Western Area Capt (Retd) MR Nelson Army Representative (From May 2014) FB Rodgers Northern Ireland Air Vice Marshal P Dodworth CB OBE AFC BSc FRAeS DL B Tarry North Western Area Royal Air Force Representative IM Jones BSA Member (From May 2014) T Whittles The Royal British Legion DR Miller BSA Member (From May 2014) PE Crawley MBE Headquarters Branch (From May 2014) F Morgan BSA Member (From May 2014) Mrs M Goode Western Area (From Jan 2014) Headquarters Staff Mrs GS Longhurst FCA Finance Capt (Retd) MR Nelson Benevolence Secretary PE Crawley MBE Administrator Volunteers JS Riggs Advisor to the Trustees JAR Garlick Headquarters Assistant Principal Office 34 Grosvenor Gardens, London, SW1W 0DH Telephone: ; Benevolence: Fax: Independent Examiner Mr E Harris DChA FCA, Chantrey Vellacott DFK LLP, Russell Square House, Russell Square, London, WC1B 5LF Bankers The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, London City Office, Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8LA Solicitors Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London, SW1H 0BL Investment Managers Rathbone Investment Management, 1 Curzon Street, London, W1J 5FB 3 Report of the Trustees and Council for the year ended 31 December 2014 The Trustees and Council present their report along with the financial statements of the charity for the year ended 31 December The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out on page 14 and comply with the charity s constitution, applicable law and the requirements of the Statement of Recommended Practice, Accounting & Reporting by Charities issued in March 2005 and revised in July Constitution and Objects The Burma Star Association (the Association or the charity ) was established in 1951 and in 1952 the Association s Trustees established by deed, The Burma Star Association Relief Fund which was registered as a charity. On 1st April 1995 the Association adopted a Constitution combining within a new charity, the membership and the relief fund to facilitate and enhance the charitable benevolent work. The objects of this charity are the same as previously and are as stated on the title page of this report. The major activity of the Association has been the continuation of its benevolent work amongst those holders of the Burma Star or Pacific Star with Burma clasp, their widows/widowers and/or dependants; whilst also maintaining the comradeship between members of the Association by supporting a network of branches in the United Kingdom and overseas. Structure, Governance and Management The Trustees are the primary authority of the Association and are ultimately responsible for holding and applying its assets for its charitable purposes. New trustees are recruited as and when required with reference to their abilities that will enhance and further the charity s objectives. Individuals with a military connection are considered favourably, as their understanding of a veterans organisation is invaluable, as are those with a family connection to Burma Star holders or those with a legal background, but the Trustees are willing to consider any appropriate individual who would have a positive effect on the charity s aims. All the existing Trustees of the Association were Trustees of other charities before their appointment and therefore were familiar with the responsibilities that being a Trustee incurs. When new Trustees are appointed, training both in-house with existing Trustees, or externally through appropriate trustee training courses, is provided. A Trustee s appointment has to be approved at the Annual General Meeting of the Association and each year the Trustee holding office for the longest retires by rotation, but remains eligible for re-election. At the 2014 Annual General Meeting Mr Richard Nunneley retired as a Trustee by rotation, and was re-elected. The general management of the Association s activities is conducted by the Council. The Council under its constitutional authority have appointed a Benevolence Secretary and Administrative Secretary, who together with the Treasurer, carry out the day-to-day administration of the charity, assisted by others on a voluntary basis. In 2014 the Constitution of the Association was amended in order that its structure more accurately reflected the make-up of the membership. Fewer branches but an increased headquarters membership, together with the increasing age of members has, over the years, impacted on the representation of the 8 Areas on the committee. As a result of the changes, Area representatives are no longer the majority of the members on the committee, but additional individual Burma Star ordinary members have been appointed who are able to travel to the meetings in London. The changes to the Constitution were approved at the Annual General Meeting in May 2014 and the Charity Commission appropriately informed. During the year to 31 December 2014 the Trustees and Council both met twice. The following appointments to the Council took place in the year January 2014 Mrs M Goode, Western Area; May Mr Philip Crawley MBE, Headquarters Branch and Capt. (Ret d) Mike Nelson, Army Representative, IM Jones, DR Miller & F Morgan, Ordinary Members. 4 Structure, Governance and Management (continued) During 2014, 7 branches closed, leaving a remaining 48 branches in the UK areas, and a further 4 overseas, and at the end of 2014 there was a membership of approximately 3,100. The Constitution empowers the Trustees at some future time to take over responsibility for the dayto-day management of the Association, as and when the declining membership has become inactive through age and infirmity and is unable to form an effective Council, in order to sustain the charitable benevolent work from then onwards. The Trustees considered the major risks facing the charity and have introduced a system of regular reporting to ensure that steps can be taken to lessen their effect on the charity. As a result of this review, the aforementioned constitutional changes were identified and acted upon as reported. A risk assessment report was updated in There were no other major risks identified that required the Trustees to take remedial action. Objectives and Activities for the Public Benefit The Trustees confirm that they have referred to the guidance contained in the Charity Commission s general guidance on public benefit when reviewing the Charity s aims and objectives and in planning future activities and setting the grant making policy for the year. The Trustees aimed to achieve its charitable objectives for the public benefit in the ways described below. The charity aims to assist Burma Star holders or their dependants in financial need with grants to alleviate the problems encountered with increasing age including residential care, mobility aids, debts, repairs, communication aids, personal aids and household goods. Burma Star holders now have an approximate average age of 92. The charity aims to maintain and operate the widows database so that contact once a year can be undertaken via a newsletter, to ensure that these ladies are aware of the Association and what help they can access from the charity, should they need it. In addition the charity aims to extend the visitor scheme for members and dependants across other parts of the UK. The remaining branches of the Association continue to meet regularly or when they are able for comradeship and to offer each other support in many different ways. In spite of their advanced years members have continued to visit the sick at home or in hospital or offered support by attending funerals of their departed friends or indeed any holder of the Burma Star even if not previously known to them. In order to maintain links with the members of the Association, 3 issues of the charity s journal Dekho! were produced and mailed in 2014 to all the members and those interested parties who had requested to receive copies. The journal is a great communication tool keeping members informed of what they may be entitled to from the Association and the State. In addition it encourages comradeship and informs individuals and branches about events that are happening around the country. For many elderly people living on their own, this journal is a vital lifeline. As well as communicating via a journal, the charity aims to answer questions and queries from family members and the general public about the Burma Campaign and to assist with enquiries about specific individuals where possible. In March, the President and the Administrator represented the Association at the Commemoration Service held at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates in London. The AGM in May was held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. Following the AGM, a service was held at the Burma Star Grove at the Arboretum to commemorate those who fell in Burma and those who have passed away since. 6 branches of the Association and a Royal British Legion branch paraded their Standards and once again the Last Post and Reveille were played by trumpeter, Miss Heidi Watkins. Both events were well supported by members, families and friends. 5 Objectives and Activities for the Public Benefit (continued) In August some areas and individual branches of the Association continued to commemorate VJ day with a local service. In September the annual Wreath-Laying ceremonies at Earl Mountbatten s and Lord Slim s statues in Central London were held as usual and there was a good turnout of members, families and friends as well as some Branch Standards in attendance. During the year, the Burma Star Association was once again represented at the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill on Merchant Navy Day; at the Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey and the Cenotaph Ceremony for Remembrance Day. Achievements and Performance A total of 232 applications for grants were received in 2014, from which 215 individuals received new grants from the main charity funds during the year, 20 less than the previous year. The gross spend on individual grants for 2014 was 128,124, after refunds of 18,619, the net spend figure on individual grants was 109,505. The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) also received a grant of 5,000 during this period. Approximately 284 enquiries covering a number of topics and subjects have been received throughout the year, a drop of 20% on the previous year. All enquiries have been thoroughly investigated and where possible answered or advice given. Whilst most charities continue to share the costs, many are now reducing the size of their grants because of the increasing number of cases. All applications for assistance which satisfied the charity s criteria were met. The pressures being applied to all service charitable funds has continued as local authorities cut funding for Adult Services. This has a knock-on effect because items, such as stair lifts and wet rooms that would normally be provided by the local authorities cannot be provided within a reasonable amount of time. The Association tries to bridge this gap. Individuals have also received help directly from the remaining working branches of the Association. Branch Welfare Officers have reported an increase in the number of members contacting them seeking advice or assistance. Most cases have then been passed to the Benevolence Secretary to deal with the individual personally. The number of direct requests for help particularly from family members via electronic means continues to increase. SSAFA Wales has agreed to take on the role of visitor to those members who indicated that they would like occasional contact. This has taken quite some time owing to a major re-organisation of the SSAFA boundary areas in Wales. This initiative has led to 18 new cases during the year being referred to the Headquarters. The Widows Database success continued with a number of new cases appearing after the issue of the annual newsletter. Sadly our number of widows on the database dropped to around 1,000 over the year, but with their increasing ages, as with the veterans, this was to be expected. Breakdown of costs: Nursing & Residential homes The number of grants given for those in or going into residential, care and nursing homes was 95, costing 82,516. Included in this figure is 24,950 spent on individuals residing in care homes overseas. Refunds of 13,931, where individuals have passed away before the whole of the grant had been spent, brought the net cost to 68,585. Respite Care During this reporting period no applications for short term respite care have been received. 6 Achievements and Performance (continued) Wheelchairs and EPVs A total of 3 wheelchairs and 5 EPVs were provided at a cost of 3,341. Riser/recliner chairs and stair lifts Many veterans are becoming increasingly housebound and immobile and now require more help with stair lifts and riser/recliner chairs. In 2014 we assisted in purchasing 12 riser/recliner chairs and stair lifts costing 5,286. Communications aids The number of members requiring communication aids decreased to 21 in The cost was 2,021, but after a small refund of 70 the net spend was 1,951 which was an increase of 32% against the previous year. The Association had been purchasing the systems direct to save on the high rental costs. However having lost a number of members this year it was discovered that in some cases the equipment could not be re-used, so new aids were needed. Repairs Requests for home repairs decreased in 2014 from 41 to 36 cases, initially costing 19,574, and again after refunds of 2,050, due mainly to local authorities making a late grant towards wet room conversions, the net cost was 17,524. Extensive use of civilian organisations such as Independence at Home, Age UK and the Royal British Legion Care and Repair teams, have greatly assisted in reducing our costs in this category. The Association is also witnessing a change by members in the acceptance of going into retirement/care homes rather than being home alone. Personal aids Requests for grants towards equipment for personal care such as chiropody, nebulisers and digital hearing aids which are not provided through the NHS have cost 3,624 over this period. However one item was returned unused allowing a full refund. The net spend was therefore 2,824. Household goods 13 grants for white goods replacements (washing machines, cookers, fridges etc) that have been assessed as beyond economic repair have cost 2,411 during this period. Debts The Association made 14 grants towards funeral bills costing 6,900, however it should be noted that funeral costs have continued to rise and the average cost of a standard funeral is now 3,700. The maximum amount the Association will contribute, set in 2012, is 500. After a return of 830 from a grant for a funeral, the net spend for this category was 7,583. A lump sum grant of 5,000 was paid to the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL) in 2014 and was used assisting some of the 1,759 Burma Star medal holders and the 1,781 widows who reside in Burma and Delhi. In addition 24,950 went out in individual grants via RCEL, The Officers Association, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) and SSAFA France and Eire to assist a further 35 individual cases for care and nursing home fees who reside overseas. The links with other charitable organisations continues and the Charity is extremely grateful for the support of SSAFA in the UK, The Royal British Legion, The Officers Association, Poppy Scotland and other ex-service and non-service charities. 7 Financial Review The voluntary income received during the year remained at a similar level to that received in 2013 at just over 110,000, with a fall in donations compensated for by a similar rise in legacies and bequests. Once again the charity received a most welcome donation of 20,000 from the Clothworkers Foundation which this year they have requested be shown as a restricted fund for benevolence grants. In addition a very generous donation from The Duke of Edinburgh s Charitable Trust was received. The Trustees are most grateful to all who have supported the charity this year, particularly the Clothworkers Foundation whose continued support is invaluable. The grant from the Westminster Foundation towards rent was lower than previously received, as adjustments are made to phase out a portion of the grant that relates to the annual service charge. A 50% grant for rent only will continue until the end of 2015 when the current lease expires. The Trustees would like to acknowledge the benefit that this grant has for the Association. Early in 2014, following the decision taken by the Trustees to review the investments, the charity s holdings in Charishare and Charinco Common Investment Funds were sold and 750,000 from the sale was transferred to Rathbone Investment Management to be invested in their Active Income and Growth Fund for charities, which is a mixed fund. To take advantage of variable market conditions the reinvestment was staggered and with the withdrawal of some of the cash to sustain the working capital of the charity, the investment income was lower than it had been previously. However capital value adjustments went some way to compensate for this loss. The total income of the charity was 14% lower in 2014 than in the previous year. A fall in grants expended and lower direct and support costs meant that total expenditure fell by 8% compared to the previous year. The charity continued to draw down its reserves to fund its activities and at the year end the retained reserves were 821,648, which was 16% lower than at the end of Grant Making Policy Those men and women who were entitled to the Burma Star medal or the Pacific Star with Burma clasp and/or their widows, widowers and dependants, all qualify for relief of need, hardship and distress from the charity. Applications are accepted via or referred to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association - Forces Help (SSAFA Forces Help), The Royal British Legion, The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League, The Officers Association, Ex-Service Charities, Regimental Associations, non-service charities, Local Authorities and local branches of the charity. Applications are made on a completed common application form together with any supporting paperwork. Checks are made initially to ascertain that an applicant is in receipt of all possible aid from the State and Local Authority, and support from a spouse or children is also taken into consideration. Applications are reviewed weekly where possible by a small committee prior to any grant being issued. The Trustees had again set a total grant expenditure limit of 200,000 for Reserves P
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