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Happy New Year from the White Ensign Association

by Commodore Stuart Wright, Chief Executive of the White Ensign Association.

Happy New Year! As we say goodbye to 2022 and usher in 2023, I wanted to use this opportunity to reflect on some exciting developments within the White Ensign Association (WEA) since my last blog.

Firstly, we are enormously grateful to Greenwich Hospital for agreeing to fund a new full-time Scotland and Overseas Regional Manager post. For the first time this will enable us to offer a permanent presence in Scotland; this is both welcome and timely as the naval population expands there over the coming decade. Recruitment into this new post will also enhance the service we can provide to those who are serving abroad in shore jobs or deployed in seagoing units overseas.

Secondly, we are similarly grateful to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity for their generosity in providing a second year of funding for our new caseworker who assists those individuals wishing to bring claims or appeals under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and War Pensions Scheme. Our Compensation Advocacy and Support Officer (leigh.rhodes@whiteensign.co.uk) opened her doors for business at the beginning of September and has a steady drumbeat of beneficiaries seeking her assistance, thereby providing strong early evidence of what was clearly an unmet need.

Thirdly, we have just completed a full strategic review. Among other things this identified further areas of unmet need among our beneficiaries and our board of trustees have just agreed a fresh and innovative strategy to work towards meeting those needs. The establishment of the Scotland and Overseas Regional Manager post mentioned above is the first manifestation of that.

Alongside these exciting developments, we also continue to deliver our traditional core outputs. Of particular note, we participated in the MoD’s programme of events at the beginning of November to mark National Pensions Awareness Week. We held a highly successful webinar attended by over 300 people. It was a good example of how we are increasingly harnessing the power of modern technology to reach a wider audience both at home and overseas.  

Finally, the WEA wishes you a happy and prosperous 2023. This year certainly promises to be an exciting one for the WEA as we grow to the largest size we have been in our history, allowing us to better support those who serve, or have served, their country under the White Ensign.