Income of armed forces charities soars over five year period, says research

29 June 2019

Armed forces charities in England and Wales brought in £5.2 billion in income between 2013 and 2017.

There has also been a marked increase in legacies left in people’s wills, which grew by 45% to £98 million over the same time. 

The charities benefited from a boost in donations as well as investments and earned incomes. The income for 2017, the last year for which details are available, was £1.1 billion – a hike of 16% compared to 2013.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) analysed the data ahead of Armed Forces Day on Saturday, June 29 by examining annual returns submitted to the Charity Commission from more than 1,100 charities.

Susan Pinkney, Head of Research at CAF, said the increasing popularity of armed forces charities may be linked to the moving and widespread commemorations of the Great War.

“Armed forces charities do vital work supporting troops, veterans and their loved ones. It’s quite possible that with the four-year-long centenary commemorations of the First World War, the work of these charities received more well-deserved attention and resulted in an increase in donations. This level of giving once again demonstrates the positive impact of charitable giving across the UK.”

However, the surge in incomes for these charities was confined to a select few high profile organisations, such as Blind Veterans UK and the Royal British Legion. The median income for an armed forces charity fell by 4% between 2013 and 2017, whilst the largest 10 charities saw their combined income grow by 27%, equivalent to a boost of £70m.

Key commemorations of the centenary of the First World War included remembering the battles of the Somme, Jutland, Arras, Gallipoli and Passchendaele, as well as the Armistice. An installation at the Tower of London of 800,000 ceramic poppies representing each lost British and Commonwealth soldier also captured the public imagination.

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