Posted on Oct 25, 2018
Charity watchdog examining ‘serious concerns’ over Help for Heroes
UK’s biggest veterans’ charity has lost is focus, former senior Army officer Col Tim Collins claims
Help for Heroes, the veterans’ charity backed by royalty and celebrities, has lost its focus and risks diverting support from other long established but less well-known groups, a former senior Army officer has claimed.
Col Tim Collins, who commanded troops during the invasion of Iraq, said it should learn the lessons of the collapsed children’s charity Kids Company, which despite doing good work had rapidly become “too big”.
“It [Help for Heroes] has raised a lot of money but what started off with a single focus which was laudable has grown into an industry,” he said.
His comments came as it emerged that the Charity Commission was looking into “serious concerns” about aspects of Help for Heroes’ work following allegations in the Mail on Sunday.
The paper reported claims that one serviceman became distressed after his medical information was passed on beyond the immediate team caring for him.
Unnamed former employees also claimed that those who raised concerns about aspects of the charity’s work were “bullied and hounded out”.
The charity vehemently denied the allegations, insisting that it worked to the “highest standards”, and said that the report was “totally unjustified”. It described the report as a “reckless kick in the teeth” for its staff, volunteers and wounded servicemen.
The Charity Commission confirmed that it was speaking to trustees of Help for Heroes but had not opened a formal investigation. The charity has raised more than £230 million since it was set up nine years ago at the height of the UK’s involvement in Afghanistan.
Supporters include Princes William and Harry while its work has been endorsed by David Cameron and a string of celebrities and sports stars.
Col Collins added: “I think we have to look at Kids Company and see how it got too big and where the warning signs are. While Kids Company was meeting a need … Miss Batmanghelidjh [Camila Batmanghelidjh, its founder] got bigger than the company.
“The crucial point is the suffering which is being addressed is caused by service to the nation and it is the duty of the nation to fix this.”