Charities Update: New checks on Legion volunteers

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Indy Lifestyle Online
* THE Royal British Legion is re- organising its system for volunteers after a mother and daughter were sent to prison by Newcastle-upon-Tyne Crown Court for embezzling at one of the Legion's branches at Wallsend.

The two volunteers stole about pounds 100,000 over several years by re-applying for grants using former servicemen's names, some of whom were deceased. Dennis Yorke, a legion spokesman, said: 'In the future no families will be allowed to become so involved - there will be others on committees to act as a check.'

The legion's 3,250 branches are run by volunteers who distribute money at a local level to servicemen and women. Last year the Legion distributed pounds 14 million. 'Volunteers are responsible for a few thousand pounds, not a gold mine. The amount of bad apples is infinitesimal but we still depend on trust - it is the nature of the operation from the poppy collectors downwards.' said Mr Yorke.

* NEXT week the Directory of Social Change, an educational charity focussing on the effective use of charitable funds, publishes A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need, edited by David Casson and Paul Brown, both researchers at the charity.

Of the many thousands of charitable foundations and organisations in Britain few give to individuals in need. The guide collates the work of nearly 2,000, including 200 new entries, representing an annual grant total of pounds 105 million.

The book is available from the Directory of Social Change, Radius Works, Back Lane, London NW3 1HL (price pounds 14.95) Tel: 071-284 4364.

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