Help for Heroes is appalled by the attack in today's Mail on Sunday. We have referred this to our lawyers and this article is now subject to a legal complaint.
By recklessly attacking an organisation which supports and represents the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, the Mail on Sunday is effectively putting at risk those who have been injured in the service of our Country by jeopardising the vital support they may receive in the future.
The Mail on Sunday only informed us yesterday that they were planning to write an article about the charity and gave us only a few hours to respond. No evidence to substantiate the claims was provided and the Mail refused to give us a proper opportunity to reply.
We replied in as much detail as possible and told the paper that the claims were false and without foundation. The Mail on Sunday had clearly selected its headline and let sensationalism get in the way of fact.
The reality is the following:
- Help for Heroes has sound safeguarding procedures and is registered and fully compliant with the Information Commissioner's Office.
- As with other leading organisations, including the NHS, Help for Heroes follows Caldicott Data-Sharing Principles to protect our beneficiaries and staff from harm. These specify that a charity has not only permission but a duty of care to share information internally if someone is felt to be a risk to themselves or others.
- Should an employee fail to meet required professional standards then action has to be taken. In these instances we adhere to legal advice.
- The Charity Commission is obliged to look into any allegation about a charity, regardless of the source. Help for Heroes is not subject to a statutory inquiry. To date, we have answered all their questions to their declared satisfaction and will continue to work closely with them.
H4H was launched in 2007 in response to a simple desire to support our wounded, injured and sick service personnel and their families. With the incredible support of the British public, H4H has been able to do precisely that since its launch, often in the face of inertia or even outright hostility from less informed quarters.
Far from losing our way, we have helped move care for British Service Personnel forward, working closely with over 60 specialist charity partners and as an active member of the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO).
We now have the world-leading Defence Recovery Capability, a unique partnership between the Ministry of Defence, The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes. No other nation cares for its Service Personnel and Veterans in such a co-ordinated manner, linking the Services, the leading charities, the public and corporate support. Other countries, including the United States, now work with us to shape best practice of the future.
Tim Collins and Kevan Jones appear to be worryingly ill-informed of the facts and we will invite them to visit our Recovery Centres to help address this:
- H4H has granted over £30m to specialist charity partners whose services collectively help support “The Blokes – the men and women of the Armed Forces”. These include Combat Stress (£6.5m) and Blind Veterans UK (£1m) and SSAFA (£500k) as well as partnering with BLESMA and RBL in support of our beneficiaries
- H4H aims to support wounded, injured and sick Servicemen, women, veterans and their loved ones from ALL conflicts: the oldest and youngest recipients of direct H4H Grants have been 96 and 18 years old respectively
- Within the last 12 months The Daily Mail itself has supported our fundraising for the 96-year-old World War Two veteran
The Mail on Sunday has hurt not only our beneficiaries but also every member of our team. This is unacceptable and we are taking legal advice about redress.
We and our beneficiaries are all rightly proud of what Help for Heroes does and we are honoured to work alongside some extraordinary volunteers and staff - people who always go the extra mile to help ‘the Blokes’. One need only read any of the many letters we regularly receive to see the impact of the work of our teams.
It really is as simple as that.
Thank you to all our staff, volunteers, fundraisers and many partners.
We are rebuilding lives and that is vital work; we are privileged to be a part of it and it is an honour to work alongside you all.
Keep believing in what we do and keep smiling!
Onwards and Upwards
If you would like to talk to us directly please email firstname.lastname@example.org