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RBLI enlists Maxim for centenary push

February, 2019

2019 sees Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) celebrate 100 years of improving lives every day, and Kent PR agency Maxim has been recruited by the military charity to help mark the milestone.

RBLI can trace its roots back to the end of ‘the war to end all wars’, when our troops returned from the front, many suffering from tuberculosis and shock, in 1918. 

RBLI, based in Aylesford near Maidstone, continues to give support and opportunities to many thousands of former armed forces personnel and people with disabilities, and provides employment, training, accommodation, care and support.

Maxim has been enlisted to help the in-house team raise the national charity’s profile, as well as support its ambitious plans to deliver a £14m Centenary Village alongside existing accommodation to support even more former military personnel and their families.

RBLI's Centenary Village featured on BBC South East.

Andrew Metcalf, director at the PR and marketing communications agency based in Tunbridge Wells, said: “The RBLI story is a strong and emotive one as its work touches the day-to-day lives of thousands of veterans and people with disabilities. 

“Helping raise the profile of the charity so it can help even more people is hugely motivating for the team at Maxim. Our work to date has already delivered strong results and shown what good PR can achieve."

Supporting Britain’s bravest

Today, RBLI provides employment for more than 100 people in Kent, alongside homes for 350 veterans and their families. 

The social enterprise element of RBLI’s charitable objectives, providing employment to armed forces veterans and people with disabilities, led to the factory undertaking the work being rebranded as Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC) in 2016.

Maxim’s role has seen it help promote the work of BBMC. Last year, to help mark the end of the First World War, the BBMC team produced the Silent Silhouettes for the Royal British Legion and the smaller Tommy figures for the charity: There but not There.

BBMC creates opportunities for ex-forces personnel to use the skills they learned in service to help them maintain their independence in civilian life. Products manufactured at BBMC’s Aylesford base include signs and pallets, alongside a fulfilment team.

Its centenary year has also seen RBLI establish Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (SBMC) based in Renfrewshire. Adopting the same model as BBMC, it will provide manufacturing training opportunities for 150 disabled or long-term unemployed over three years. Its work will be celebrated with visits by a number of high-profile dignitaries and politicians over the coming months.

Supporting ambitious plans

RBLI is currently in the middle of an ambitious fundraising campaign to secure £14 million for the development of a Centenary Village to sit alongside its existing village, care homes and manufacturing facility. 

The aim is to create a further assisted living scheme, extending the care and support it has provided since 1919. It will provide additional crucial housing and welfare help to ex-service personnel, providing a place for them to call home. 

The Centenary Village will provide 48 apartments, each designed to be fully accessible and house single veterans in urgent need, alongside 20 new family homes in a mix of town and mews-style housing, and a further 24 assisted living apartments. 

This has led Maxim to work with the RBLI fundraising and communications team to help recognise the generosity of major donors, including £750,000 from Barratt Developments, the country’s biggest housebuilder. 

Recently, Maxim highlighted the courage and endeavour of two army veterans, rowing as the Grandads of the Atlantic team to raise funds for RBLI.

The duo (pictured above), with a combined age of 123 years, broke a world record by becoming the oldest pair to complete the row across the ocean in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge 2018 in 63 days and 22 minutes. 

Maxim worked with the team at RBLI and put out a press release and picture of the duo reaching the end of their voyage, which secured coverage on 129 online news sites with a reach of 43.6m, and 31 newspapers with a circulation of 1.14m. 

Raising profile by marking significant visits

A key part of the campaign will involve hosting visits, many of which will present a media opportunity. Visits to date, which have involved Maxim, have included Ledley King, former captain of Tottenham Hotspur, who laid a wreath at the Wall of Honour and paid his respects for his club’s former players who lost their lives during WW1.

Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock (third from left), recently visited alongside local MP Tracey Crouch (right), who praised the work of RBLI. 

The work continues, and Maxim is confident that by the 100th birthday in September, the RBLI’s objectives will have been achieved.

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